When Co-Sleeping with a Baby Is a Bad Idea

I “had to” look up more details on a story. While “I Hate This Story” does reflect my feelings, I do think it’s important to occasionally bring to light how horrible people can be, even to their own children, because we can and should learn from them.

As usual, let’s start with the story:

I Hate This Story

Aaliyah Lykins, 21, of Muncie, Ind., was under investigation after the death of her 2-week-old daughter. She said she was feeding the baby in bed and fell asleep, and apparently rolled over and smothered her. Police responded to the resulting ambulance call, but Addilyn was “found to be limp, with no signs of respiration” and was pronounced dead after resuscitation failed. What did Lykins have to say about it? “Oh no, I did it again.” Sure enough, in 2020 after her 7-week-old son died, she told police “she should not have placed Aiden in bed with her and that she knew it was wrong.” She wasn’t charged that time, but this time she faces reckless homicide and child neglect. (RC/Muncie Star Press) …Strike two: is she out yet?

Digging Deeper

In the editing process on the first draft, Kit asked how old the woman is, so I went looking for more sources and ended up switching my primary source since the local TV station glossed over some important points, such as the woman’s age and more details about her two dead children, particularly their genders, names, and ages.

Aaliyah Lykins (mug shot)

First, to answer Kit’s question, I learned she is 21, so she killed her first kid when she was 17. Mind-boggling. This time she faces 6 years in prison. She also has been convicted of drunk driving (at 19), and also has charges pending against her from other incidents: battery resulting in bodily injury to a pregnant woman, domestic battery with a deadly weapon, domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury, harassment, and two counts each of neglect of a dependent and leaving the scene of an accident.

Sadly, Not Terribly Rare

“Approximately 3,500 infants die from sleep-related infant deaths annually in the United States,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. It “strongly discourages” co-sleeping, or sharing a bed with a baby.

It is understandable that new parents are exhausted and can fall asleep easily, but the risks really are there. While I “hate” it too, it’s much like leaving your kid in the back seat of your car, which can be just as tragic.

It’s not so much that Lykins did it, it’s that she didn’t learn. And has a DUI. And has allegedly committed battery resulting in bodily injury to a pregnant woman, domestic battery with a deadly weapon, domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury, harassment, and two counts each of neglect of a dependent and leaving the scene of an accident. It’s a pattern that has left dead and injured people in its wake.

Prosecutors gave her a pass the first time with hopes she would wake up. She didn’t, and it has gotten worse. Throw the book at her.

Bottom Line: AAP “strongly discourages” the practice. Prosecutors’ responses may be stronger.

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8 Comments on “When Co-Sleeping with a Baby Is a Bad Idea

  1. Same thing happened here with mother killing two babies.

    She was convicted by a jury on 9/20/23 of Involuntary Manslaughter, and Assault on a Child Causing Death. She is set to be sentenced on March 8.

    Kristin Ann Brandon’s two daughters died three years apart. They were 2 months and 2 years old. Detectives found she was “under the influence,” but it was not reported whether than referred to drugs, alcohol, or some combination. -rc

  2. Locally a young mother suffocated her baby after smoking a dab and then falling asleep on the sofa with her baby. Maybe by publicizing these tragedies others may be prevented. One would hope so anyway.

  3. Similar happened to a next door neighbor when I lived in Seattle. In a multi-generation household, a dad fell asleep with his baby on a sleeper sofa opened as a bed. The baby ended up trapped against the sofa arm. It was ruled as SIDS.

    Their next child was born with some heart defect, and there was speculation that a similar, undetected issue may have contributed to the earlier death.

    There are good reasons why recommendations now say babies are to be placed on their backs on a non-puffy surface without bolsters.

  4. I am a proponent of CHOOSING whether or not you co-sleep with your infant. It works for some of us. I co-slept with all three of my children, and not once did I roll over on them or harm them in any way. I was there for them when it was time to breastfeed them (which is another thing I’m a proponent of, breastfeeding!).

    Now, I was “aware” enough to co-sleep with my babies; that is, I wasn’t affected by any medications that made me sleepy or altered my mental status. I have a suspicion that our “whoops I did it again” friend from Muncie was possibly “on” something to help her get some sleep. Know what I mean? That would most certainly affect the co-sleeping arrangement.

    My youngest is 25 now. So obviously, I co-slept with my babies back when it was not encouraged or discouraged. But a lot of people around the world do it. And a lot of people around the world don’t kill their babies. Especially twice.

    Another reader emailed wondering if it was Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, but it comes across to me more as simple but extreme alcoholism. -rc

  5. Almost every single mother I know practiced cosleeping at some point out of sheer exhaustion or desperation, myself included. It’s more important to teach people how to do it SAFELY than just say it’s strongly discouraged. Clearly you shouldn’t do it if you’re under the influence of anything. Simply saying it shouldn’t be done is ignoring the exhausting reality that parents of little ones face.

  6. I had a family bed, breastfed my son on demand and he is now 40. I think it should be a choice – but not for addicts.

  7. As a member of our local SafeKids Coalition, we teach the ABCs for infant sleeping — Alone, on the Back, in a Crib. It’s easy to remember and most young mothers say they hear it from us for the first time. And yet, our hospitals here in Central Florida also teach these principles before newborns can go home, so this repetition should lead to more widespread knowledge.

  8. Further proof that any obliviot can become a parent.

    One has to wonder if her history of criminal behavior was the result of her alcoholism (*prior* to 21!) or the excuse for it.

    Her criminal record sounds like a paraphrase of a famous quote:
    “What crimes do you want to commit?”
    “Whaddya got?”


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