The Short of It
Nearly half of UK parents who cosleep with their newborns lie about it, according to a new poll.
Cosleeping with a newborn is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, so there's a good reason not to do it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in the room with his or her parents, but not in their bed. Still, many parents cosleep with their babies, either out of exhaustion or for bonding ... but as many as half don't want to admit it out of shame.
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British parenting expert and author Sarah Ockwell-Smith, who supports cosleeping, recently commissioned a small study to find out how many families are practicing this sleeping arrangement. What she found was that out of the 600 parents who participated, almost half—46 percent—cosleep with their newborn, but they wouldn't confess it to their health care provider.
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"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," she said, according to Yahoo News.
Parents make many choices for their babies every day, from how to feed them to where they should sleep. There's definitely shame involved in a lot of those choices, whether it's that you don't breastfeed or you do cosleep, so it's understandable parents wouldn't admit to things that are, as Ockwell-Smith puts it, taboo.
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That being said, as parents, we must make the best choices we can for our babies based on current safety and health recommendations; but no one is perfect, and there is no right way to parent. In the end, no matter what choices you make, keeping things from your doctor is unwise, because he or she is there to help and support you, not judge you. Together, you can decide the best way to raise a healthy baby.