The biggest subject surrounding babies sleeping is the worry of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or 'cot death' as it is more commonly known.
"SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy baby that is unexplained by the babies medical history, or autopsy, or an examination at the scene of death. It most often occurs in babies between the ages of 2-4months, but can happen from 2 weeks-12 months (90% of deaths occurring before 6 months and very few after that age). It can occur anywhere, day or night. It usually occurs during a long period of sleep in the cot or Moses basket, but a baby can die in a pram or parents arms when asleep.'
The information above has been taken from what was originally the FSID website (Foundation for the study of infant Death)
They have recently changed their name to THE LULLABY TRUST and are asking people to help raise awareness of the name change in order that they can continue to provide specialist support for bereaved families and anyone affected by a sudden infant death.
For me personally the worry of Cot death has always been at the forefront of my mind. I myself, used to regularly stop breathing as I slept for the first 6 months or so of my life. 30 years ago there were no apnea monitors or sensor mats that monitored breathing available for parents to buy. I am still here purely because of my fathers instinct for being in tune to my breathing and waking up whenever I stopped. He recalls a few slaps on the back being enough to get me breathing (and then crying)again, and he would then resettle me back to sleep until the next time...
The thought that this tendency to stop breathing would be inherited by my own children terrified me! What if I didn't wake up like my dad and be there in time to save them?
It was constantly on my mind during my 1st pregnancy, so when my son was born we had a sensor mat under his mattress every time he was put down to sleep. It made me feel a little bit more in control of the whole cot death scenario. We did the same when our next 2 children were born too. I know it's highly unlikely we would ever have been able to save them if the unthinkable had happened, but it stopped me worrying as much, and enabled me to get some sleep when they slept.
Working as a nightly maternity nurse caring for other peoples precious babies means even though my own children have gone past the age at which they are at risk of SIDS, I still have the worry of it every time I go to work.
At the end of January I joined the world of twitter. I had only been fumbling my way around for less than a week when I came across Jennie @edspire tweets about losing her precious daughter Matilda Mae to SIDS. Reading her tweets touched my heart to the very core-she was going through every mothers worst nightmare! I, like every other person reading, knew that nothing we said or did could ever be enough to change what had happened, but felt compelled to offer any words of comfort or support I could.
11 weeks since she lost her baby, Jennie is an inspiration to so many and despite the daily heartache she is going through, we can all tell she is an amazing mummy to her twins Esther and William by reading her blog about their lives and watching her tirelessly try to raise awareness of SIDS.
Matilda Maes name and legacy will live on forever and I know many people are taking part in various charity events in her name to raise money for THE LULLABY TRUST.
I am currently in the process of speaking to my children's school and pre-school about a possible dress up day as a character from a lullaby to raise money for them.
I have never really sung lullabys as such, to my children as babies. They have all loved the old favourite 'twinkle twinkle little star' of course, but there was a song that I learnt when working as a nanny before having children, that I used to sing to my charges. It could be sung to any child by placing their name instead of the name I have used...
'Loren Loren it's a lovely day
Loren Loren, won't you come and play?
Loren put your jacket on
Tell your mummy you won't be long
I'll be waiting round the corner,'
The words always sounded a bit odd when singing it to my own babies-because I was their mummy. But they all absolutely loved that song and whenever they were upset, I would begin singing it over and over again and they would immediately stop crying!
When my daughter was born 2 years ago, my husband and 2 sons were thrilled to have a 'pink person' in the house finally!
We adapted the words to 'You are my sunshine' and have all sung the following song to her on a daily basis since she was born
'You are our princess, our little princess
You make us happy,when skies are grey
You'll never know babe, how much we love you
So please don't take our princess away!'
She loves the song and insists 'again,again,' if we dare pause for breath!
I get a gulp in my throat every time I sing the last line...
I wish nobody ever had to go through the pain of losing their child
Please support and share details of THE LULLABY TRUST who work tirelessly with the parents who are dealing with the terrible tragedy of SIDS
They do a fantastic job and anything we can all do to raise awareness will enable them to offer help to other parents who may need their support