I admit that I have done it.
I’m almost scared to admit that.
So many excuses as to why.
So many justifications when I, as a journalist had read the data and knew the information.
But still I did it.
And now I confess to you.
Why did I do it? I was tired.
It made my life easier.
It let me get through the day.
And with a newborn baby ANYTHING that gets you through the day – you take.
So I did it – I co-slept.
I clearly remember the first time. I was in hospital with my first-born son and I nodded off in the chair breastfeeding, I woke with a start several hours later terrified I had smothered my two-day-old son.
The midwives castigated me. I felt terrible… and yet weeks later it happened again. I didn’t mean it to. My son was feeding two hourly. He was underweight and jaundice.
So many excuses.
It wasn’t a conscious decision – it wasn’t even a deliberate ‘parenting’ style. It just happened.
Last year an article on Mamamia about co-sleeping caused great controversy for its inherent message that co-sleeping was more for the mother than the baby.
When I think back – co-sleeping WAS about me.
But I also think that keeping me sane was probably a fairly important part of parenting three small children.
Six babies died last year in NSW after their mother accidentally suffocated them while sleeping or breastfeeding.
These incidents largely occurred due to smoking, alcohol and drug use along with unsafe adult sleeping environments.
However they were among 25 babies who died while sharing a bed with either their mother or father.
Whilst the science surrounding co-sleeping can be unclear, one Australian study found that 80% of babies spent some time co-sleeping in the first 6 months of life.
The NSW figures follow on from some released in November for the ACT showing that 14 babies had died due to unsafe sleeping practices over the last decade.