Diary of a Dad: Week 26 - Co-sleeping Taboo

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Parenthood is riddled with stigma and stereotypes, and in those early days, it’s hard to differentiate between opinion and fact. One topic that remains a taboo subject for real discussion is co-sleeping. Parents are often told of the dangers and it leaves them feeling that sleeping with your child is an awful thing. From experience, it can create so much extra pressure…and completely unnecessarily too.

The thing is, each child is different and each child needs different things. At points, both of our boys have refused to settle. The youngest one is much more inclined to be on his own - in fact he hates having anyone near him when he sleeps most of the time! The oldest one is the opposite, he’ll happily rock through in the night and hop into bed.

With that said, there are times when the baby will not settle, regardless of approach, especially when he is ill and in the interests of sanity, I put him in with me.

The thing is, you are made to feel like you are committing some kind of crime when you co-sleep. In fact, at times when the boys were young, I avoided any sleep-related chat with people because of the negative stigma attached to co-sleeping. It’s sad in a way, we were so exhausted that we couldn’t even argue our logic. Now, looking back, I’m gutted with myself for not holding my ground and having the confidence to argue with people about it..or debate - whatever.

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Truth be told, I love it when our boys sleep near me. As a Dad, it’s epic to get that extra close time with them. They are angelic when they sleep and it is so comforting for me (big softie) when they are close by.

Are there dangers? Yes admittedly there are some, but as a nation, in the UK, we seem to be almost scared to talk about co-sleeping so, in turn, education around the practice is minimal. Even in parenting publications, you read very little about it – something which reinforces the negative stigma even further. As a freelance writer, I’ve tried a number of times to pitch articles on the topic and it’s clear a lot of editors are tentative about the topic due to their publication’s editorial guidelines.

Around the world, people see us as strange for not co-sleeping. It’s incredible how as a nation we are so set against something that others see as the norm. Cultures and practices differ hugely and I am not saying we should all co-sleep, I simply think that we need to appropriately educate on the topic of co-sleeping to remove the stigma.

So if it feels right to you to sleep with your baby, remember, it’s your choice. Do your research, make sure you’re safe and don’t listen to the negativity!

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