New NICE Guidleines for Co-sleeping / Bed Sharing

Do you bed-share with your baby?

Would you happily admit it in public?

Are you doing it safely?

baby-sleeping-120402

During my Baby Sleep Workshops, the subject of bed-sharing invariably comes up (I’m using the term bed-sharing as co-sleeping refers to simply sharing a room with your baby). If I ask a group of mums whether they have ever bed shared I can pretty much predict that everyone will raise their hand. In fact all but one parent I have ever asked has said that at some point they have slept with their baby in their bed.

Today, the media is awash with articles about bed sharing – apparently it’s very dangerous and we shouldn’t do it with our babies. This news derives from the publication of draft revised guidelines from the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (“NICE”) in relation to bed sharing.

The recommendations, relevant for infants from birth until 1 year of age,  say that midwives, GPs and health visitors should ensure parents and carers are told of the link between co-sleeping (falling asleep with a baby in a bed, or on a sofa or armchair) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (“SIDS”).

They also ask healthcare professionals to:

– Advise parents and carers that the association between co-sleeping and SIDS is likely to be greater when they, or their partner, smoke.

– Inform parents and carers that the association between co-sleeping and SIDS potentially increases if they have used drugs and/or recently drunk alcohol.

– Tell parents and carers that the association between co-sleeping and SIDS potentially increases if their child had a low birth weight or was born prematurely.

So, this all looks pretty reasonable, as the location of sleep is being considered, as is whether the parent is under the influence of any narcotics.  However, these guidelines derive from the findings of Carpenter et al that were published in May 2013. Unfortunately, journalists with tight deadlines didn’t have time to check the data and came up with headlines that said all bedsharing is dangerous but used as their case studies incidents when babies had been suffocated by their parents whilst sleeping on sofas not beds. They also managed to illustrate their articles with babies sleeping with parents in an unsafe way e.g. babies laying on plump pillows. Fortunately,  a few experts, including Sarah Ockwell Smith, did check the data and they summarised some of the failings of the report with this table:

Is it safe to bedshare cosleep with your baby

The reality going forward is most probably that healthcare professionals will advise that all bed-sharing is dangerous whilst parents will at some point bed share for a variety of reasons. There are factors that make bed sharing riskier and there are a lot of things you can do to make the environment safer, so isn’t it better that we have that discussion and provide parents with information that helps them to make safer decisions, rather than exasperated, information-poor, middle of the night decisions?

If you think that at some point you might find yourself bed sharing with your baby, and would like to know more about some of the risk factors, come to one of my BabyCalm courses or workshops to find out more.

The next FREE Baby Sleep Hour is at Beanies tomorrow, Friday 4th July.

The next 3 hour BabyCalm Sleep Workshop is Friday 11th July.

Let me know if you would like to attend either session.

x

The Next Beanies’ Baby Sleep Expert Hour

Last week I told you that the wonderful ladies at Beanies* in Croydon had asked me to host their Sleep Expert Hour on Friday 2nd May.Beanies

Well I can report back that I had a ball. We had a lovely group of mums of under 1’s who asked me a range of questions about Baby Sleep and how there could be more of it at there house! We had a diverse range of mums, babies and situations and I think the mums learned a lot from each other too.

The upshot is that we are going to do it all again this coming Friday, 9th May at 11am. Do come along if you want to know more about Baby Sleep. We also have a 3 hour BabyCalm Sleep Workshop scheduled for Friday 16th which I’m already taking bookings for so if you are interested in this, do let me know as soon as possible.

For more information about Baby Sleep, take a look HERE

*Beanies’ address is: 3-7 Middle Road, Croydon, CR0 1RE.

Perfect Mum? Don’t look at me!

In the various courses I provide, we talk a lot about parenting and I always hope that I never come across as thinking I am a perfect mum. Firstly, this is because I don’t actually strive to be perfect (in BabyCalm courses especially we talk about Winnicott’s concept of the ‘Good-Enough’ mother rather than attempting to be perfect), and secondly, if you could see how I parent, any pretence of perfection would be pretty quickly shattered.

BabyCalm Croydon Good Enough Perfect Mother

Yesterday was definitely an imperfect day; tantrums were had, tears were shed – and that was just me! We went en famille to a supermarket in search of gloves for F and T. For various reasons, the search for good waterproof gloves has rivalled that of the Holy Grail in our house. High street shops generally don’t seem to stock gloves for school age children and online retailers have sent us the wrong size on multiple occasions. This shop had a very poor choice i.e. none suitable for T at all. Chuck into the mix the fact that, inexplicably, F just can’t get her hand into any pair of gloves, whatever the size and I am afraid I might have lost my temper.

Ultimately we did get over it but I went to bed feeling a failure. In fact I had a little cry to myself and was reminded of a similar ‘failure’ when F was much younger. There is no mum on this Earth who is perfect. I understand the desire to strive to be perfect but the reality is that we all make mistakes. It would be fair to say I make parenting mistakes every day but I am happy that I am ‘Good-Enough’. My children see that I am human, that I make mistakes and that I also try to put things right, however bungling my efforts may seem at times.

Oh, and I ordered waterproof mittens (not gloves) on the internet last night…

To learn how to be a Good Enough Mum, take a look HERE at the BabyCalm Courses that I provide.

New Workshop to help your baby (and you!) sleep

BabyCalm Sleep Croydon

I have some exciting news…

In the next few weeks I am going to be completing my training to be able to offer the new BabyCalm Sleep Workshop. This is a new 3 hour workshop designed to help parents who are struggling with their baby’s sleep, wondering if they will ever sleep through the night and battling sleep deprivation and exhaustion – and yes, most of us have been there! 

The BabyCalm Sleep workshop is different to most other baby sleep advice you may find: the suggestions, tools and techniques are all based on sound scientific evidence and I guarantee that they will not cause any harm to your baby, nor will they result in tears – for your or your baby!

So, I promise to never teach you to use controlled crying, rapid return, gradual withdrawal, ‘pick up, put down’ or any other behavioural related technique. Why? Well firstly I consider gentle sleep techniques to be kinder to all involved and secondly, because whilst the more typical behavioural techniques may work in the short term, research shows they may lead to far more problems, including poor sleep, in the long term – so basically you just store up the sleepless nights for later on and for a longer period.

This is going to be a great class for both mums and dads of babies aged 3 months to 12 months of age. The introductory fee will be just £35.00!

 

Please contact me for booking information at:

helen@babycalm.co.uk

or

0208 405 3499

Update : Full details of the course can be found HERE

Happy New Year Baby!

HypnoBirthing Croydon

Another year has passed and I have been reflecting on what 2012 has brought with it – it has been quite  a year both professionally and personally for me, with lots of people helping me along the way, usually without even realising that they are helping me. I have been blessed to encounter so many lovely people who I have enjoyed working and studying with.

In my HypnoBirthing™ I have worked with:

  • couples who have had babies in the breech position and HypnoBirthing™ has helped the baby turn;
  • cynical dads (you know who you are!) who have really embraced HypnoBirthing™, realising that it is actually based on common sense and I’m not the hippy that they feared;
  • mums who thought an elective caesarean section might be the easier option only to end up looking forward to a natural birth after using HypnoBirthing™;Croydon HypnoBirthing
  • couples who haven’t had ‘text-book births’ but who have raved about how great their experience was because HypnoBirthing™ helped them to ‘own’ the decision making process;
  • mums who have been hospitalised during pregnancy so the HypnoBirthing™ sessions have taken place at hospital;
  • a mum who birthed her baby on 10/11/12!
  • lectured to student and registered midwives on how HypnoBirthing™ can facilitate a ‘normal birth’ and helped midwives to understand how they can best help HypnoBirthing parents.

In my BabyCalm™ work I have worked with:

  • Expectant first time parents who were nervous about what on earth wouldhow to calm a baby happen when their baby was born who went on to have lovely early days with their newborn;
  • New parents who thought that they were getting this parenting-lark wrong but actually when we talked about it in the Colic & Crying Workshop realised they were doing a great job;
  • New first-time mums who made great new friends in the Mother & Baby classes;
  • New second-time around mums who wanted to do things differently this time

Of course, bullet-pointing it like this doesn’t give scope to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with parents this year – with them typically arriving a little uncertain and leaving with raised self-confidence.

I’ve spent another year studying and attending some great events:

  • At the Royal College of Medicine Hypnosis in Childbirth Seminar I heard how HypnoBirthing™ is being used in the NHS and about the research being conducted by Professor Soo Downe (watch this space!)
  • At the BabyCalm Conference in London I met Michel Odent who spoke on the importance of Oxytocin in the post-natal bonding process, Naomi Stadlen who spoke on ‘What Mothers Do’ and Oliver James who spoke on ‘Love Bombing’. All very thought provoking.
  • At the HypnoBirthing™ Institute Study Day in London I heard the founder of HypnoBirthing™, Mickey Mongan, speak about the improvements being made to the HypnoBirthing™ course.
  • Exhibited at the NCT Baby Show at Trinity School, Croydon, meeting lots of expectant and new parents and meeting lots of other birth and baby professionals
  • Exhibited at the Mothercare Baby & Me Event, again meeting a cross-section of expectant parents.

I was also awarded the Gold Seal by the HypnoBirthing Institute and the HypnoBirthing UK Advisory Board nominated me as the Regional Liaison for South London.

Croydon HypnoBirthingPhew! What a year! On top of all this, I took up running this time last year (not a New Year Resolution, just happened to find a fantastic pair of running shoes) and went from being able to run about 100m (I kid you not!) to running the Croydon 10K in October in 7 minutes less than I anticipated with the 2 best supporters in the world cheering me on!

I wonder how 2013 will top that!

What do I need to buy?

Due to popular demand, I’m adding to my Hospital Bag post with what else you need to have for your baby. I remember being so bamboozled by the array of items that I left it to about 35 weeks to start buying and only then after a panic-ridden call to my mum who used terms such as romper and sleep suit as though I should know what these meant. Here’s a run-down of what I think you need.

Baby Clothing

  • Body Suits –these are like 1980’s bodies that some of us are old enough to have worn. Can be short or long-sleeved and have poppers at crotch
  • Romper Suits – like a jumpsuit with arms and legs but no feet. Buy ones with poppers down the middle.
  • Sleep Suits – like a romper suit with feet.
  • Socks
  • Booties
  • Hat – either woollen for winter or sun hat for summer although newborns should never be in direct sunlight.
  • Grobag – This is a sleeping bag for babies. I highly recommend them. They come in 1.0 tog for summer and 2.5tog for winter www.gro-store.co.uk/sleeping/grobag-baby-sleep-bags.html

Changing Kit

  • Try to have a nappy changing station both up and down stairs. You don’t want to be rushing upstairs several times a day to change nappies, especially if there has been a leakage.
  • Nappy sacs
  • Baby wipes – avoid any with alcohol or added moisturiser. You baby’s bum doesn’t need anything extra. Try Huggies Pure
  • Cotton Wool – use cotton wool in preference for at least 6 weeks. Wipes can be too drying initially.
  • Nappy cream, such as Sudacrem or Bepanthem.
  • Changing Mat
  • Nappy Bucket. You don’t need an expensive ‘disposal system’, you just need a cheap plastic bucket.
  • Top’n’Tail bowl – opinion is divided on the usefulness of these bowls. I personally found them useful.
  • Change bag – there are some gorgeous change bags available, with gorgeous price-tags. Personally I used a satchel I already had which my husband didn’t mind being seen out with.

If using cloth nappies you will need:

  • Cloth nappies x 24
  • Nappy wraps x 5+
  • Nappy liners
  • Nappy Grips, if your nappy doesn’t come with fastening

If using disposables get a few packs in but don’t overdo it because babies grow quickly. Mine were in Size 2 within 10 days.

Out and About

  • Pushchair/Pram – Ensure it suits your lifestyle. Will it get onto a bus, will it fit in your car, will it manage steps you use every day? I’d advise you go to a showroom and wheel a few around. Take some shopping to hang off the handle bars and see how they manoeuvre. You will need to buy a cosy-toes or add blankets.
  • Sling/Papoose – You can opt for something like a soft structured carrier, a ring sling or a wrap-style. The BabyCalm Shop has lots of styles and designs and videos of how to use most of them too: BabyCalm Shop 
  • Car-seats – I’d highly recommend an ISOFIX seat so you know it’s installed correctly. This is one of the few things you must buy brand-new.

Bath time

  • Some people just use the kitchen sink or you can buy a basic bath for £10. I used a Supabath  to avoid bending whilst other people use Tummy Tubs
  • Hooded Towels
  • Small sponge
  • Bath wash

Feeding

If you are breastfeeding you will need:

  • Maternity Pads – I would highly recommend Johnson’s Nursing Pads; they are by far the most comfortable .
  • Muslin squares
  • Breast Pump

If you are bottle feeding you will need:

  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Steriliser
  • Bottle Brush
  • Bibs

Bedtime

  • Initially most people go for a Moses basket or crib. Your baby will not stay here for long (mine lasted about 2 months) so this is the sort of thing that is worth buying cheap or borrowing, albeit with a new mattress.
  • Bed-linen. If you are using a Grobag you just need sheets.
  • A swaddling blanket will keep you baby feeling cosy and stop them waking themselves when they experience the moro/startle reflex.
  • You don’t need a cot at this stage but there can be a long lead-time so it is worth ordering sooner rather than later. If you have space I would recommend a cot-bed which will see most children through to about 4 yrs old.
  • If you are bed-sharing you can get away with not buying most of this equipment.
  • Monitor – you don’t need all of the fancy functions but I would advise you to buy digital. We initially had an analogue monitor but when next door had a baby their monitor interfered with ours.

Saving money

So much of what you buy now will only last you a few months. Most items can be bought cheaply at supermarkets (most supermarkets have special baby offers every month or so), from eBay (and sold on again in due course), from NCT Nearly New Sales and of course borrowed from friends. I hate to chuck away baby items; I want them to have another life. I think most parents feel like this so make sure all of your friends/family know that you are happy to receive their second-hand items. For larger items I have always found www.kiddicare.com really competitive price-wise and they deliver next day.

Oh, and remember, you will be inundated with presents. Let people know what you’d like, be specific. Your baby will always be well dressed. My childrens’ wardrobes are bulging and yet I have only really bought underwear for them. Family and friends will keep you stocked up – just hope they have good taste!

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Good luck!