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Q. My mother-in-law takes my newborn to sleep with her. Will SIDS happen to my child?

Answered by
Dr. Faisal Abdul Karim Malim
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 23, 2019

Hello doctor,

My baby boy was born three weeks and one day earlier, with a weight of 5 lbs 9 oz. We live with my husband's mother, and she is helping us take care of our son. For the past couple of nights, she is taking our son into her bedroom for him to sleep with her. She has two dogs that are miniature pinscher that can be very mean at times. I cannot sleep those past nights because of our son not being in our bedroom and it has stressed a lot and I cried a lot. This is my only child, but my husband's second. I do not want anything bad happening to him like SIDS or anything like that, especially he is so tiny. As I read online, it said for babies not to sleep with anyone and to sleep in their beds due to them being at risk for SIDS. I am too afraid that our son will roll off the bed and hurt himself very badly, or one of her dogs attacks him. I apologize if I sound like a crazy over reacting mother, but it has got me so worried as being a mother for the first time. If I dare say anything to my mother-in-law about it, she will kick us out in the freezing cold and make sure that we have no place to live. What should I do?

Dr. Faisal Abdul Karim Malim

Child Health Paediatrics


Welcome to

I understand your problem but it is important to take up this problem as a family collectively involving your husband, mother-in-law, yourself, and if possible your mother too.

If I was in your place I would tell the mother-in-law that I wish to stay close to my child as I am unable to sleep without the child in sight out of anxiety and that I want to feed him at night. You can say that since the child is small, the child would require breast feeding every two hourly even at night which is actually very important. That way you can keep the baby with you when the baby is sleeping. And please dogs around the child are strictly not allowed.

Regarding SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) it can happen to any child. Getting anxious about it will do no good. Instead read about how much you can do to prevent it like keeping the child in the supine position while sleeping, burping the child for 20 minutes post-feeding, etc. Also, keep the child in a separate cot whilst sleeping. I have had incidences, in which the child was sleeping with the mother and the mother's hand by mistake went on the baby's face and the baby was unable to breathe.

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