More parents than you'd think are bedsharing. Around the world, families traditionally bedshare (and there's a very low incidence of SIDS) yet in the United States, only 66% of babies have ever shared their parents bed. Or have they? Bedsharing is one of parenthood's best kept secrets.
If you ask your best friend, she might 'fess up to having had her babies in her bed but if you ask a general population (for example, if you're the CDC), you are likely to get the answer you want. And since we are warned time and again that you can kill your babies by sleeping with them, we're afraid to admit it but we're still doing it.
So why are we lying?
- You'll get the stink eye from your pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommends against it and your pediatrician probably agrees. Doesn't mean they're right. My pediatrician still thinks nursing at bedtime will give babies cavities. As a lactation consultant, I know that breast milk actually protects teeth from cavities.
- In this crib-and-cry-it-out culture, you've been made to feel that you're spoiling your baby. Babies depend on their parents. Your baby will learn to sleep in her own bed eventually but right now she wants and needs to be near you to have her needs met quickly. That's not spoiling your child- that's responding to their needs and showing them that you are there for them. Babies whose needs are med are secure, happy, and healthy.
- People tell you your baby will never learn to sleep on their own. All of us have slept with our parents at some point. Do you STILL sleep with your parents? At some point, all kids want independence and privacy.
- You don't want to have to answer questions about where you have sex with your partner. Maybe you do it with the baby in the bed, maybe you do it on the kitchen table or the couch.
- You fear that you're not bedsharing or co-sleeping 100% safely and you don't want to get yelled at.
- Deep down, you wonder if the studies about bed-sharing killing babies are true.
If you bed-share, do you lie about it? What's your reason?
Image via Danielle Tropea