Do you think infants should sleep with their parents?

The following letter appeared in the November issue of The Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine, which is a publication of the American Medical Association.  I have included the entire text, as it contains lots of interesting information and many good references.

“Don’t sleep with your baby or put the baby down to sleep in an adult bed.”  Ann Brown, chair of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Voiced this statement in the 9/30/99, New York Times through a CPSC press release.

The release previewed data from an October 1999 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study entitled “Review of Hazards Associated with Children Placed in Adult Beds.”  The news flew over the associated Press wires, and emotionally charged commentaries were printed in newspapers and magazines nationwide, a clear indication of the public interest on this issue.  Numerous websites espouse the benefits of co-sleeping, also reflecting current interest in the family bed concept.

Historically, co-sleeping in this country was the normal practice.

Today, the practice of co-sleeping is standard for most non-Western cultures and is common in the US, yet  it’s probable that many pediatricians in this country, like the CPSC chairperson, counsel new parents to sleep separately from their infants.  This is one of many areas where physicians may counsel families based on few, or anecdotal data, in contrast to the recent trend toward evidence-based medicine.AA032577

What are the potential risks and benefits of co-sleeping?

Are there enough data to support encouraging or discouraging this common practice?  This commentary will review the relevant literature on this subject, enabling pediatricians to more knowledgeably counsel families about co-sleeping.

And because professionals in the field of health often receive information that isn’t shared with the general public, unfortunately, I like to do what I think is best, after all, who cares more for their babies then the parents?

Potential Benefits of Co-sleeping

From a biological perspective, co-sleeping is a natural extension of infant care practice.  Among mammals, human infants are born the most neurologically immature, needing close human contact for basic survival.  Mammals need close physical contact for more than just nutritional needs.  Harlow’s work demonstrated that newborn monkeys separated from their mothers spent significantly more time in contact with a cloth surrogate mother than a wire one, even if th wire surrogate provided all of the infant’s nutrition.

Recent work by Mosko et al has shown that the sleep architecture of infants who co-sleep is qualitatively different.  Healthy mother-infant pairs were studied in the sleep laboratory sleeping either alone or together.  While bed sharing, infants had significantly longer total sleep time, a greater duration and percentage of stage – half sleep, shorter duration and lower percentage of stage – three-quarters sleep (quiet sleep).

The authors postulate that if sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is caused by an arousal deficiency, then less time spent in quiet sleep through co-sleeping may be protective.

This same group observed patterns of breast-feeding in the sleep laboratory between those who routinely co-slept and those who did not.  For infants who routinely bed shared, the number and duration of breast-feeding episodes were significantly greater on the bed-sharing night.  The authors concluded that bed sharing promotes breast-feeding.

There are many professionals and parents who strongly advocate co-sleeping as the optimal way to raise a child.  Sears, author of Nighttime Parenting, advocates “attachment parenting,” a concept that includes the possibility of various sleeping arrangements, depending on the needs of the family.

Co-sleeping and SIDS

momwbabybAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (Atlanta, Ga) surveillance data between 1980 and 1994, SIDS was the leading cause of death among infants aged 28 to 364 days, accounting for 33% of all post-neonatal deaths.  The annual rate of decline of SIDS deaths in the U.S. was more than 3 times faster from 1990 to 1994 than from 1083 to 1989; the latter dates coincide with national efforts placed on educating families about the risks of prone sleeping.

Does co-sleeping increase the risk of SIDS?  Several studies have attempted to answer this question.  Results from the 3 most recent and comprehensive investigations.  These studies drew similar conclusions; there is no detectable increase risk of SIDS from co-sleeping unless the mother smokes.  Recall bias and residual confounding many have disforested results from these studies.  However, point estimates for the relative risk of SIDS while co-sleeping (and smoke free) were remarkably similar and close to unity in all 3 studies.

Co-sleeping and Suffocation


Another major concern involving the practice of co-sleeping is the risk of
suffocation, a fear dating back to biblical times.  (In 1 Kings, chapter 3, one woman accused another of having “overlaid” her newborn.)

Drago and Dannenberg reviewed 2178 case summaries from the CPSC Death Certificate Files from 1980 to 1997, for infants younger than 13 months, whose deaths were attributed to mechanical suffocation.

The leading pattern (40% of cases) of suffocation was wedging (infant is trapped between 2 products or parts of a product).  More than half of the wedgings involved a bed; 22% occurred in a crib.  Further investigation revealed that many of these cribs didn’t meet current federal crib standards.  The second leading cause (24% of cases) of suffocation death was due to nasal obstruction from bedding, pillows, and plastic bags.  The third cause (8% of cases) was from infants being overlain by another person.

Another article, published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, reviewed the CPSC’s databases from 1990 to 1997 for deaths of children aged younger than 2 years who were placed in adult beds, day beds, and waterbeds.  There were 515 deaths in children younger than 2 years who were placed to sleep in an adult bed, with 394 of these deaths attributed to entrapment in the bed.

A total of 121 deaths were attributed to overlying by a parent, sibling, or other adult.  During the same period, there were 17 deaths of children older than 2 years sleeping in adult beds, 8 of which occurred in severely disabled children.  Although the authors did not investigate deaths of children placed in cribs, they did cite another CPSC study from 1989 t0 1991, which found an average of 50 accidental deaths per year in cribs, compared with an average of 64 deaths per day in adult beds.

The authors maintain that mothers should be encouraged to breast-feed, but recommend they be “alerted to the hazard of overlying” if the mother and infant fall asleep together after feeding, which is likely to be a common occurrence.

Unfortunately, the CPSC data only represent a case series and aren’t denominator-based, making it impossible to ascertain the relative risk of death for infants who co-sleep.  There is also no possibility of ascertaining the accuracy of the information derived from the databases.  Last, how many infants were sleeping with parents impaired by alcohol or other drugs?  How many were sleeping with a sibling vs a parent (another potential risk factor)?

To put the risk of suffocation into perspective, the post-neonatal injury death rate per 100,000 live births of white infants in 1994 was 22, of which nearly a third were due to suffocation.  This is less than one tenth of the mortality rate from SIDS for the same cohort.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement on this topic.  Although co-sleeping is not encouraged, it’s not discouraged either, assuming that the sleep environment is otherwise safe, the infant is supine, and co-sleepers do not smoke or use other drugs that impair arousal.


momwbabyTo my knowledge, to date, the literature offers insufficient data to recommend or discourage babies and parents from co-sleeping.  Meanwhile, many parents and healthcare professionals believe that co-sleeping is the best way to raise a baby physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally.

Therefore, are pediatricians justified in condemning the family bed, making parents feel guilty about harming their baby?  Clearly, pediatricians must counsel families about the dangerous of smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs that impair arousal, and the potential for infant suffocation in beds, cribs, and bedding.  However, until there is more compelling evidence, the decision to co-sleep, like many other child rearing practices, should be left to the family.

Catherine Kelley, MD, University Hospital, Department of Pediatrics. I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Kelley that physicians should keep their noses out of the business of parents’ person child rearing practices, particularly when there is insufficient evidence to back up their claims.  The co-sleeping arrangement may not be suitable for all families, but parents should not be scared away from it unnecessarily.

What doctor’s should do however, is discuss the issue or provide information to parents concerning how to keep such a sleeping arrangement as safe as possible.  Some of these recommendations would be as follows: 


   *       The safest arrangement, according to William Sears, MD, is for the infant to sleep between the breast-feeding mother and the edge of the bed, with an adequate barrier to prevent the baby from falling off.  This removes any risk of suffocation from the father.  Many experts have noted that there is a connection or awareness of the baby between mother and child that does not exist with the father.  I would stress that this in no way means the father loves the baby any less.  The mother’s special bond is simply a protective biological mechanism.

*       If the baby is to sleep between mother and father in the middle of the bed, extra care and precautions should be taken, particularly concerning the father.

*       Co-sleeping mothers particularly should try to breast-feed their babies, as that special biological bond discussed previously will be much more acute and in tune with the baby.

*       Do not sleep with the baby if you have had any alcoholic beverages.

*      Do not sleep with the baby if you’re very overtired or fatigued enough to impair your ability to awaken during the night.

If the father has gone out and had a few alcoholic drinks or is overtired for whatever reason, it would be much safer for him to sleep on the couch, than to sleep next to a newborn baby.

Most of the risks associated with co-sleeping tend to decline rapidly as the baby grows, but care should still be exercised with children of all ages.

Hope this is information that some of you can use today, or may have family and friends that should read this article.  Remember, that knowing is the first step in making wise decisions for you and those you love.  OK?

Dr. Rhonda – helping you to –

Plan for Tomorrow’s Good Health – TODAY




Office:                   702-269-8120

7-Hidden Household Toxins

 Do you really know what’s making you sick?

 bathroom   1.      Respiratory Toxins:

Our air is filled with both indoor and outdoor pollutants that wreak havoc on our basic effort to breath.  Corrosives in air conditioning units can cause asthma and bronchitis.  Dangerous ozone, carbon monoxide, pesticides, sulfur oxides and more have been linked to asthma and lung disease along with headaches and fatigue.

   2.      Weight Gain Toxins:

To stay thin and fit, your cells need to be cleaned regularly.  But when your cells are dragged down by toxins that lurk in fattening, processed foods, they have a harder time turning up your body.  What results is a slower metabolism and “toxic weight gain” that’s often blamed on aging.

   3.      Fatigue Toxins:

Shocking amounts of heavy metals found in our water sources have been linked to fatigue, as well as to other health problems – all of which make us feel even more run-down and tired!  Even your favorite cologne can cause fatigue due to a main ingredient called tuluene, which can trigger headaches, asthma, seizures, birth defects and even cancer?

   4.      High Cholesterol, Blood Pressure & Circulation Toxins:

Pollutants from radiation, fried foods and processed foods can unleash an army of free radicals on your system and trigger dangerous LDL cholesterol levels.what-are-free-radicals

*   Lead in drinking water has been linked to 680,000 cases of high blood pressure.

*   Paints and solvents used in new construction of homes and offices are loaded with       chemicals and gases that can damage your heart, liver, and even your central nervous       system without you knowing it until it’s too late.

   5.      Digestive Toxins:

The FDA lists more than 2,800 food additives, many of which come from sources that are unnatural to our bodies.  These can create a sluggish bowel with nasty symptoms such as abdominal pain, intense gas, constipation, cramps and diarrhea.

The nutrient-stripped convenient foods we’re now used to eating contained hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, dyes, pesticides, sulfur or tar-based additives, and more.

These toxins float into the bloodstream and head straight to your weakest organism – so not only is your digestive system in peril, but your tissues, glands and blood supply suffer from toxic poisoning, too.

   6.      Joint, Muscle & Headache Toxins:

If you suffer from any type of discomfort, yo should be aware that chemical irritations may be the root cause of your pain.

Nerves are irritated by a host of environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke, prescription drug use and even microscopic allergens in the air and water – all of these cause a chain reaction that often leads to inflammation and migraines.

   7.      Immune System Toxins:

Something as innocent as the “silver” dental fillings you received as a child quietly release mercury, tin, copper and zinc into your body and drag down your immune system.

Breast cancer has been attributed to pesticides in foods.

Even worse, more than 10,000 bladder and rectal cancer cases each year can be attributed to trihalomethanes found in tainted water supplies.

Doctors across the country agree that the best way to get healthy is to


It’s best to discuss your issues with a doctor who specializes in NATURAL HealthCare.  Although, there are many different products available in local stores, using the right, natural, bioidentical, pharmaceutical grade product will give you the end results you no doubt  desire.  Don’t experiment with your health – INVEST IN YOU – YOUR WORTH IT!cat-toxin


Dr. Rhonda – always wanting you to remember how important it is to –

Plan for Tomorrow’s Good Health – TODAY!”™

Temporary website:

Email inquiries:       

Las Vegas Office:              702-269-8120




Whether it be Smokie your canine companion, or Mollie, Maygen, and Maxie Boy, my feline kids – or even if you have both – you’re most likely reaping health benefits by having then as your pet. Why?

Studies indicate that having a pet can help:

*      lower stress levels

*      decrease blood pressure

*      support healthy cholesterol levels

*       improve our moods

*       boost our immunity, and more

For example, many studies, including some via the National Institute of Health, say that dogs can offer great social support and stress relief – sometimes even better than family or friends can.  Additionally, some studies even say that having a dog can control blood pressure better than prescription d rugs are able to.  Then there’s the exercise aspect.  Those who own dogs exercise more consistently than those who don’t own dogs.

Some other health benefits from having a dog are:PetPerk1

  • increased longevity after having a heart attack
  • lowered cholesterol and triglycerides
  • improved blood pressure
  • reduction of irregular heartbeats, or arrythmias
  • improved blood vessel function
  • increased physical activity as well as physical functioning
  • reduction of minor health difficulties
  • improved mood
  • boost in self esteem
  • improved alertness and attention in elderly people who own pets

Having a cat as a pet has its perks, too.

A study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, which followed more than 4,000 cat owners over a 10-year time period, found that owning a cat can greatly reduce a person’s chance of dying from heart disease.  In fact, the study found that those who don’t have cats were between 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners were.  But were the same benefits found with owning dogs?  Not so, according to the study.


Other benefits of having a feline friend – some of which mirror the benefits of having a dog as a pet – include:

  • a reduction in heart attack and stroke risk
  • improved immune function
  • decreased chance of children developing allergies
  • helping to prevent asthma in children
  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • reduced blood pressure
  • low triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • help with autism (in some instances) and depression

Likewise, pet ownership – in general – can reduce stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, can boost your immune system and can aid the management of pain.  Having a furry friend has also been found to reduce aggression, to build empathy and to improve learning, while  fostering a great sense of trust in others.  Additionally, owning a pet can speed recovery following surgery.

I can tell you that I recently had knee surgery and my cats took turns being with me, I was never alone, not for a moment – that’s true love and companionship.  So, if you haven’t thanked your pet lately for being such a wonderful companion, then give him or her an extra dose of appreciation and treats for being a great addition to your overall health.kitty

On a sad note.  I have tried for years to at least have cats in Senior Living Homes because of what I’ve just shared.  I even offered to buy the electric litter box and food.  People need something with a heart beat to hold and talk to.  So often children put their parents in homes and think that’s enough.  NO IT’S NOT!   Often when they’re left in these homes they start having more aches and pains, depression, etc., and what does that bring on – another toxic  prescription.  They don’t have a drug deficiency, they have a broken heart, no family, no visitors, etc., what they are is

human attention deficient.

We could start volunteering and visit a couple of times a month.  I promise, you will get more out of it than you ever expected.   Thinking about others, often takes our minds of ourselves, and that could be a very health move!

Dr. Rhonda

Always wanting to help you to –

Plan for Tomorrow’s Good Health – TODAY!


Temporary website:

Email inquiries:       

Las Vegas Office:              702-269-8120


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It’s Not About FAT – It’s About YOUR HEALTH!

As a child I was chronically overweight, and discovered early on the pains and trauma associated with obesity.  When I was a baby, they said “it was only baby fat.”  But baby, the fat onlyDr.Rhonda Before_After pdf


I tried every crash diet, fad, gimmick and con in the books.  The frustration and failures only worsened with each attempt.  My problems drove me into low self-esteem and depression which only furthered my eating disorder.

After learning how to eat my way into a healthier lifestyle (instead of eating myself into an early grave) I can honestly say that after weighing 311 pounds and wearing size 26 ½, my credibility is obvious as my picture attached will prove.   What’s more important is that I’ve maintained a size 10-12 for the best part of my life.

Now to my passion!  Although I have a Family Practice, as soon as the holidays come around I remember the weight I used to put on – and how every year I made that New Years Resolution, this time it’s going to work, I’m ready, I’m motivated, I bought the gym membership and the Danskins.

But to no end.

That’s why my desire is to first tell those who have a few extra pounds or are obese like I was that it’s not your fault.  Shock!

Vegas 2011-2 It’ Not About FAT! 

It’s Not About PAIN!


And because it’s about HEALTH it doesn’t take me long to find the CAUSE of the SYMPTOMS!

We are not one-size-fits-all – that only works for advertisers.  We are as unique as our fingerprints and when you take the time and listen, my patient’s usually tell me all I need to know to put the right individualized program together to help them to LOOK and FEEL GREAT!  

Call me! 702-269-8120