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Do you/did you share a bed with your baby? Would you admit to it in front of a health visitor?


We've just seen a new survey of new mums that suggests over half of us lie about sharing a bed with our baby – because those of us who do share a bed are afraid that other people, particularly health professionals, will judge or even tell us off for doing so.

The survey was done for the Sarah Ockwell-Smith's Gentle Parenting website and Sarah says she thinks the safe-sleep message has been too fiercely rammed home by some health professionals.

"The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence doesn't say, ‘Don't bed share’," says Sarah. "They say parents should be helped to make an informed choice. Lots of health professionals are completely misinterpreting this and telling parents not to do it.

“It's not just being judged that parents fear; 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.”

But what do you think? 

Do you or have you sometimes shared a bed with your baby?

If not, why not?

And if you did or do, would you ever admit it to your health visitor or other health professional?

We'd really love to know. (Some of us here did it; some of us didn't – and the ones who did do it do admit to keeping quiet about it.)

Please do tell what you think about all this by adding a post to this thread.




  • We don't share the bed with our baby because my oh is too scared that he will roll on him but I have fallen asleep on the sofa with my baby, I think sometimes you just need sleep and if the only way to get some is to sleep with baby then so be it, I have a friend who sleeps with her baby all the time and although I think this is fine if it's what you want to do she does say he now won't settle at all in his cot so the only way to settle him is to have him in the bed beside her and her hold his hand, this wouldn't be my choice but if it was I don't think I would want to admit it to my hv as I remember the talk only too well about how important it is not to share a bed. 

  • I have a friend who is very much the Earth Mother type - she and her husband slept in seperate beds/rooms due to his snoring, so she has always slept with her two children from birth. One of them who is now 5 sleeps in her own bed (after she asked to go to her own bed), but her youngest who is three still shares her bed. For years, she had to lay down with her daughter to get her to go to sleep.

    I only slept with my children when they were newborn, and that was just as a means to an end to get some/any sleep, but then as soon as i could i moved them to their cot. I was always very worried about their heads getting covered by the duvet, so i wouldn't have been able to sleep properly anyhow. 

  • Hi this is a very apt topic for me right now. 

    I have co slept with Elliott since we discovered that it enabled me to get some sleep (when he was around 3 weeks) until then I slept intermittently in the feeding chair with him propped on me,  so still Co sleeping in a sense. 

    Co sleeping helped me with breastfeeding on demand and as Elliotts weight was struggling and he was feeling practically hourly it seemed the only answer. I decided that having him close would boost my milk supply. It worked and his weight is back on track. 

    I sought the safest way to Co sleep,  no alcohol,  I don't smoke,  tight fitting sheet on firm mattress,  I slept on the bed and Elliott had his blanket to his chest. I also had his crib attached to bed so he couldn't fall out. I didn't budge an inch all night and would gently roll Elliott on his back after a feed (although mostly he'd stay on his side facing me).

    I was honest with the hv and she was great. I knew it wasn't ideal and felt guilty but feel I made an informed choice doing what was right at the time. Since telling my mummy friends they have admitted to doing the same! 

    I am now in the process of switching to the crib. Last night was the most successful,  8.30-11.30 in crib then a breastfeed in the bed for half hour while we dozed then back in crib 1-4.30 before another feed in the bed.

    I think it's an individual choice and as mums being bombarded with the latest advice,  we must do what works for us (obviously within reason). 

  • With my first son, now 5, I didn't bed share cos I didn't have to. I would feed him and put him in the moses basket and he would settle and sleep a few hours before waking for another feed then settled in his basket again for another few hours. No problem. My second son however, doesn't settle easily. After weeks of perseverance (he's now 10 weeks) he settles at the start of the night for approx 2-4 hours. I then feed him and try and resettle him in the basket. Sometimes he settles after 10mins of trying to put him down, sometimes it takes 2 hours to make him stay asleep in the basket. Then he may only stay asleep for an hour or 2. I'm then too tired to stay up for an hour feeding followed by however long it may take to settle him. For self preservation and my sanity, I just put him in the bed. It's easier. I'd rather not co sleep - I like my own space and I don't sleep properly at all when he's next to me, but I need sleep. He feeds lying down and settles instantly next to me so I feel I have no choice. In some European countries, cosleeping is recommended. We do it as safely as possible and my HV knows. 

    I think if we were bottle feeding, there'd be no reason to co sleep as they tend to have fuller tummies due to being almost force fed and it knocks them out so they sleep through from early on. But breastfed babies usually feed frequently making co sleeping more likely. My first HV was panicker and warned me against co sleeping. I ditched her and now I've got a fabulous calm HV who I can be honest with and she's supportive. 

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