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
She slumbered latched to me
Then came the pressure
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 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 single night
I sleep with the light on
With Bea we used a Grolight overhead
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
My Thoughts On Co-Sleeping and SIDS
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
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
Tilda slept with me most nights of her life
And one of the few nights she was in a cot
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
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
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?