Co-Sleeping: A Tangled Tale of Thoughts and Tips

Our Co-Sleeping Journey

My name is Jennie and I am a bed sharer

I am a co-sleeper

It happened quite by accident at first

Two tiny twins

Home from NICU

Of course we did not want to put them down

Obviously they did not want to be put down

Snuggled up with mummy

Cuddled up with Daddy

We had already lost out on so much time

It soon became clear though

There were not enough hours

Not enough arms

The transition to bedside sleeper

Then cots was made

Along came Tilda

Our miracle Tilda

Home in time for tea

She had a wicker basket

We hardly ever used it

Hungrily feeding

She slumbered latched to me

Then came the pressure

The questions

Expectations

Time to put that tiny baby in a cot

She needs her own space

You need a marital bed

You are making a rod for your weary mama back

And so we lay her down to sleep

And when we picked her up she was dead

No explanation

No sense or reason

Our beautiful baby was dead

After the deepest darkest storm

A little sun began to shine

Our rainbow came bursting into our lives

Thawing a tiny fraction of our hearts

My goodness it is hard to love again

After suffering such a loss

There was no way in all the world

I could put my baby down

Two and a half years

I shared my bed with a rainbow

And now another rainbow starburst

Sleeps peacefully by my side

When you have lifted your dead baby from a cot

Putting a live one inside one is not a possibility

Our Baby Tilda died all on our own

If another of our babies dies while sleeping

I will be with them

Wrapped around them

I will be beside them

They will not die alone

How We Co-Sleep

Ever since Tilda died

I have actively chosen to co-sleep

With Beatrice first

And then Edie

David sometimes shares our bed too

But often it is just me and the baby

We have a large bed

A super king to ensure that everyone has plenty of space

In the evening we do our bath and bed routine

The older children go to bed

Baby sleeps in my arms

Or on Daddy’s chest until we go to bed

In my bed I have no covers

Or I have a light breathable cover wrapped tightly round me

I do not use a pillow

I sleep on my left side

Curled in a C shape

So Edie lies on her back

Between my arm and my raised knee

She has no covers unless it is really cold

And then she wears a Grobag

I always adjust what Edie wears

To allow for heat radiating from me

Our room is always between 17 – 19 degrees

Unless the weather is extreme

So Edie usually sleeps in a sleepsuit and vest

Lying on her back next to me

Turning her head to latch on to feed

I can feel her breathing

I can hear the inhale and exhale

Often the gentle rhythm of her snoring

And I can see her

Every night

Every single night

I sleep with the light on

With Bea we used a Grolight overhead

With Edie

I use a Meemoo Baby Meelight

The most used best loved baby product

I can recommend

Every mother should have one of these!

I am going to be telling you much more about this special light

Tomorrow when you will also have chance to win one

As part of the #matildamaegiveaway

My Logistical Tips For Co-Sleeping

You need a big enough bed for all sleeping in it to have space to lie flat

A firm mattress is best and safest for baby

As a parent invest in thermal pyjamas and bed socks

Do not use pillows or duvets or any loose coverings

Keep baby at the right temperature with their clothing and Grobag

Sleep with a light on so that you can see baby to check their position and breathing

Sleep in the protective C position to keep baby safe beside you

Sleep in the centre of the bed so that baby cannot fall out

Follow The Lullaby Trust guidelines for when you MUST not sleep with your baby

My Thoughts On Co-Sleeping and SIDS

sids3

When you have lost a baby to SIDS

Reading about it in the papers

Hearing about it on the news

Is really really hard

No one really knows what causes SIDS

There are no conclusive answers

Babies die of SIDS everywhere

Cots, sofas, parents’ bed, bouncy chair, car seat and pram

Babies have died of SIDS in their mother’s arms

I know that reports have to be published

I know that the findings have to be discussed

But if you choose to write about it

Criticise what you read

Remember that you are talking about someone’s baby

A real live healthy baby

Who just died

Some neonatal deaths are tragic accidents

That parents have to live with for the rest of their lives

Some infant deaths have no conclusive cause of death

Nothing certain

After tests and post mortems

There is no reason

And parents have to live with this for the rest of their lives

Explain to siblings that they just do not know why some babies die

A beautiful healthy baby just went to sleep and died

I read the reports

The responses to the reports

The throw away remarks

With a very different perspective to someone who has never lost a baby

It is the second time since Tilda died that co-sleeping and SIDS has been in the news

And I still feel as I did a little over a year ago

Our Rainbow Baby is due in a matter of weeks

And I cannot rule out the fact that she will sleep in my bed

Tilda slept with me most nights of her life

And one of the few nights she was in a cot

She died

sids14

I am terrified every night

That one of my children will not wake up in the morning

I do everything I can to ensure that my children sleep safely

But there are still no guarantees

That my baby, my children, will not die

Reports need to be written

Guidelines offered

Responses made

Parents need access to all the information

And they need help to decide how best to use that information for them

In their family situation

To keep their children safe

I hope that together professional agencies and charities

Can find a way to come together and do just that

sids8

Read my first post about SIDS and Co-Sleeping

Read my post about SIDS and The New Baby

Read the NCT response to NICE here

Read more from The Lullaby Trust here

Read about co-sleeping safely here

A Doula’s Point of View acknowledging that we do not know what causes SIDS and we have no way of completely eradicating the risks

Final Thought

Matilda Mae shared my bed.

She slept safely beside me.

She was in a gro bag beside me on the bed.

Her cot was next to our bed with the side down but that was mainly to stop her from falling out of the bed.

We changed this arrangement not long before she died.

We moved the cot away from our bed and put the sides up.

She was 9 months.

She could have been in a room of her own.

But she was not.

I planned to keep her with us for the first year just as we did with Esther and William.

Tilda was happiest when she slept with me.

She slept on her back beside and turned to feed whenever she wanted.

We slept together and when she was really unsettled she slept on me.

I think hearing and feeling my heartbeat helped to soother her and settle her to sleep.

I wish I had been with Tilda when she died.

I wish she were still alive.

Perhaps she would be if she had only ever slept on and with me.

I am a grieving mother.

I lost my baby to SIDS.

But she did not die in my bed and every day I will wonder, had she been there that night

And not alone in her cot

Would she be alive today?

The Lullaby Trust and Co-Sleeping

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