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.

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One Born Every Minute – aka A Dad’s Role in HypnoBirthing

I usually advise couples that I work with to not watch Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute (“OBEM”). It’s often fear that prevents a woman’s body from getting on with the job of easily birthing a baby and I reckon that OBEM with its dramatic births probably adds to that fear.

HypnoBirthing Croydon

So, there I am last night, on my way home from a HypnoBirthing class, and my phone is pinging away. It seems that various people want me to know that HypnoBirthing is on OBEM. My husband is very surprised that the first thing I do when I get home is click on C4+1 to watch last night’s programme.

It was obvious from the very first scene featuring Kate & Ollie that they were HypnoBirthing. As they approached the labour ward reception, it was Ollie who spoke to the receptionist, it was Ollie arranging the environment and it was Ollie who was managing the situation to meet his wife’s needs. This was, perhaps unfairly, contrasted with the situation next door where the birthing mother was having to take care of her partner who didn’t seem to know what to do with himself.

Croydon HypnoBirthing

I love how Kate and Ollie made the room their’s. They moved the furniture around and laid mats on the floor so that they could settle down together. Ollie helped to guide Kate through her breathing and tended to her needs. As she calmly went through the first stage of labour, her midwife spent much of her time in the staff room. Kate then became away that the baby’s head was reached the perineum and was ready to be born. Kate chose to be on all fours and the baby was born easily. Kate had lots of skin-to-skin time with Baby India who was then passed to Ollie for more skin-to-skin time whilst Kate birthed the placenta.

HypnoBirthng Croydon

I am so pleased that OBEM chose to show a good birth – a birth where mum was calm, dad had a role that he relished, the baby arrived gently to skin-to-skin time with mummy and daddy whilst the midwife had little to do.  I’m not sure that you can ask for more than that. Thank you OBEM for showing this birth and thank you to Kate and Ollie for letting so many expectant mums see the birth. I hope that this will be the start of showing births that help expectant mums to look forward to a calmer easier birth.

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.

Sleep Expert Hour

The wonderful ladies at Beanies* in Croydon have asked me to host their Sleep Expert Hour this Friday, May 2nd. Do come along for a coffee and chat. This will be your chance to ask whatever you want to ask about baby sleep.

The FREE Sleep Expert Hour is from 11am to 12 noon this Friday. Do come along and bombard me with questions. Let me know if you’re coming!

Beanies

 

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.

Why I’m not pro-natural birth…

I’m a HypnoBirthing Practitioner so it’s obvious that I am pro-natural birth, right?

Well actually, wrong!

Croydon Hypnobirthing birth pregnancy

If I’m pro-natural birth, I’m by default saying that those parents that do not have a natural birth must be less in some way… and that is just not the case.

If I’m pro-natural birth, I’m effectively saying that parents who do not have a natural birth must have made some poor choices.

If I’m pro-natural birth, it could be interpreted by parents who do not have a natural birth that they did something wrong, that perhaps the mum’s body wasn’t quite up to the job.

If I’m pro-natural birth, I’m telling the midwives and doctors who are there for an assisted birth that they have not assisted effectively.

And all these things would be wrong.

The reality is that most of my HypnoBirthing clients do have wholly natural births. They haven’t felt extreme pain, their babies have birthed relatively quickly and the first moments with their baby have been easy because no one is exhausted. And this pleases me greatly.

One of my favourite birth reports came from a couple who had had a previous negative birth experience. They needed the second birth to be a good one to get closure on the first one and they did everything to achieve it including planning a home water birth with an independent midwife. I was so looking forward to their birth story and it was a truly great one (brought a tear to my eye as it happens). They felt empowered, they were in control, they made all of the decisions and reflected on it extremely positively; they had their closure. They also happened to have a C-Section. It wasn’t natural, it wasn’t how they planned it, but it was the best decision in the circumstances on the day.

So, I’m not ‘pro-natural birth’. I’m ‘pro-a positive birth experience’.

I support the parents that I work with to have a birth experience that they are happy with, that they can look back on and smile. You can own the birth process however it plays out and that helps in achieving a positive birth experience.

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!