As with everything parenting-related, the act of cosleeping is fraught with judgment. Health experts warn parents of the risks associated with letting their baby sleep in the same bed as them, and it's often been connected with SIDS. Meanwhile, many moms — often generalized as practicing "attachment parenting" — adamantly believe in the benefits of cosleeping with their newborn.
So, then, why did a poll confirm that nearly half of all parents lie about cosleeping with their children?
According to parenting author Sarah Ockwell-Smith, who wrote Why Your Baby's Sleep Matters and commissioned the poll of 600 parents, the fact that 46 percent of them deny sharing a bed to their doctor is because they are afraid of how those professionals might respond.
"It's not just being judged the parents fear, but they think: 'If I admit this, am I going to be reported to social services?'" Ockwell-Smith told the Daily Mail. "Many people won't even tell their friends or family. It's a taboo."
The problem then is that parents who will continue to cosleep might not receive helpful, life-saving advice. By simply saying "don't bed-share," the author believes health care practitioners "are completely misinterpreting" the evidence that says it's unsafe and are instructing parents not to do it instead of educating them with comprehensive options.
"I'm just really worried that by telling people not to do it they're putting more babies at risk," she said. "Surely it makes more sense for parents to know how to do it correctly."
Here, her pro tips for cosleeping as safely as possible:
- Keep pillows, blankets, and duvets away from baby.
- Place the baby on the outside of the bed beside Mom and separate from Dad or other siblings. (It might seem logical to place the baby in the middle so they won't fall out, but this increases the risk of being rolled on.)
- Tie back long hair tightly.
- Ensure there are no loose strings or cords dangling from pajamas.
- Do not ever cosleep if you're a smoker, if you've been drinking alcohol, or if you've taken medications that make you especially drowsy.
Now, tell us: Do you cosleep? And if so, have you ever lied about it?