Almost Half Of Parents Lie About Co-Sleeping

A new study claims that almost half of parents who co-sleep are lying about it

There are a lot of topics in the parenting world that are very divisive, and co-sleeping is definitely one of them. Many people swear by the practice and tout the benefits of sharing a bed with your baby. While others worry about the risks associated with it—including a link to SIDS.

Parents who choose to co-sleep believe that they are bonding with their child and setting them on the best path in life. They tend to be very vocal online about the benefits and don’t usually shy away from defending their stance.

So at first glance it might be a bit surprising to learn that nearly half of all parents lie about co-sleeping.

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of Why Your Baby’s Sleep Matters, commissioned a poll of 600 parents—forty-six percent of parents polled said that, yes, they have lied to their doctors about co-sleeping, because they were worried how they might react.

“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?’ Many people won’t even tell their friends or family. It’s a taboo,” Ockwell-Smith told the Daily Mail.

“I lied,” said Steph Randall, a mother involved in the poll. “I just told my health visitor that my baby sleeps fine. The truth is she sleeps fine if she’s always in totally body contact with me. At six months she still sleeps across my body in bed.”

And Ockwell-Smith believes that this fear and the subsequent lying may be preventing parents from getting life-saving advice from their doctors. She feels that doctors need to stop saying “don’t bed-share” as a blanket statement and instead need to focus on providing comprehensive options—including how to safely co-sleep.

Amy Hardcastle, another mother involved in the poll, admitted to lying about bed-sharing with her son Max.

“A health visitor said: ‘And you know not to sleep with him.’ We didn’t know what we were doing. We just knew he hated his Moses basket, so we rolled up two big towels and put them either side of him and had our duvet at our hips. But I didn’t want to be told off and told I had to let him cry,” Hardcastle explained.

And herein lies the problem according to Ockwell-Smith—parents don’t know how to safely co-sleep but are doing so anyway. “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.”

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