THIS is an open letter to the self styled ‘International Baby Whisperer’ Tizzie Hall about her controversial recommendation to layer multiple blankets on a baby to encourage him to sleep through the night. Hundreds of comments asking Tizzie to clarify her position, beseeching her to consider the safety of babies worldwide, were deleted from her Facebook post today and she replied only to say that she stood by her method. Tizzie Hall, who is originally from Ireland but is now living in Australia, has no medical or scientific background and has carried out no peer reviewed research or studies of her methods.
I’m writing to you here as I have tried to engage with you on your Facebook page and on Twitter, but you have ignored me, deleted my posts and blocked me from your page.
You posted a series of photographs today of your newborn son, showing how you swaddle him and cover him in bedding in his cot at night. Your pictures indicated a total of seven layers of bedding, in line with your ‘Safe Bedding Guide‘ featuring blankets and sheets from your own range of bedding. You also say elsewhere in your literature that depending on the baby, parents can add up to 15 layers of bedding at night time.
I was horrified to see you advising parents to cover their babies in multiple layers of bedding, directly contrary to international best practice and the guidelines from organisations such as the NHS, the Irish HSE, Unicef and various SIDS groups. Overheating is a leading cause of SIDS. This is fact. It has been proven time and again in studies that babies who have too many layers on them are at a greater risk of dying in their sleep. This seems to be something you do not want to hear as you systematically deleted any and all posts on your Facebook page questioning your method and advising you of this. (You also advocate moving baby out of his parents room before five months old, again directly contrary to SIDS guidelines) You seem to believe that adding multiple layers of sheets and blankets to a baby’s cot will help them sleep through the night – you’re wrong. The babies may not wake, but this isn’t because they’re peacefully sleeping, it’s because they’ve passed out from the heat. An overheated unconscious baby isn’t the same as a peaceful baby sleeping through the night. Something you again don’t seem to want to even acknowledge.
This isn’t about your sleep training methods or your books or the products you sell Tizzie. I couldn’t care less how other mothers parent, what ‘routines’ they follow, how they feed their babies or how they get them to sleep. And if you can make money from that, then good luck to you. This isn’t about parenting, this is about safety. You have a huge amount of followers Tizzie, you have sold piles of books and have a successful business – parents look to you for advice. And you’re failing them. You have a duty to ensure that at the very least the babies who follow your method are safe. And right now, they’re not. Right now you’re endangering babies all over the world Tizzie. And for what? The price of a few blankets. Is it worth it?
One day a baby is going to die and it’s going to be your fault Tizzie. Your fault for advising new parents to over wrap their babies. Your fault for ignoring scientifically proven, peer reviewed research that says it’s dangerous to put too many blankets on a baby. Your fault for putting profit and your business and your ego above safety. Your fault. Your fault. Your fault.
I am a mother to a 14-month-old son and I don’t have all the answers. Far from it. Most of the time I’m winging it, feeling my way and trying to do the best by my son. But when it comes to safety, I don’t compromise. Neither should you and neither should any of your followers.
Overhaul your ‘Safe Bedding Guide’ Tizzie, to make it REALLY safe. Do your research. Call in help from the experts. Encourage your followers to put their babies to sleep safely. Better a slightly chilly baby at 3am than a dead one the next morning. Please Tizzie, reconsider your position. Before it’s too late.