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To think that new mums should be given more practical ‘common sense’ advice

(73 Posts)
BrownBirdsFly Tue 15-Oct-19 06:08:58

I’ve just had my second baby and I’m finding things much easier second time round, but I can’t help but feel sorry for first time mums after the contact I’ve had with lots of healthcare professionals.

For example, the midwife who came to my home on the second day - when hearing I breastfed said ‘you must not drink alcohol - co-sleeping is not safe and shouldn’t be done’ she asked if I’d given baby a dummy and I said no and she said ‘good - we don’t recommend them’.

I couldn’t help but think especially as a new mum trying to do the right thing you could go crazy with this approach! I do co-sleep because I’ve found this is the ONLY way I get half decent sleep. I really wish they would say ‘co-sleeping is not as safe as baby being in a cot next to your bed - BUT if you do it it’s really important you don’t drink alcohol - you sleep between dad etc’.

I’ve got a number of friends who are so terrified of co-sleeping they’re sleeping sat upright with baby on their chest and obviously keep nearly falling asleep which is obviously not safe either!

Likewise for lots of other things. I’m really grateful for all the help I’ve had and know they have to stick to guidelines and give the best evidence based advice, but I’d so love them to say ‘here’s the guidance, but we know sometimes people can’t always follow it and if you need to co-sleep/give a dummy/make formula in advance here’s how you can do that as safely as possible’.

Sorry that got long!

KatnissMellark Tue 15-Oct-19 06:23:10


CroissantsAtDawn Tue 15-Oct-19 06:27:19


I read that the reason co sleeping has such bad stats is that they include deaths from babies who were sleeping with parents on sofas/upright in bed who fell asleep etc. Ie, unplanned co-sleeping.

I started co sleeping with DS2 cos I fell asleep sitting up on my bed mid feed and he slid off my lap. Thank goodness onto the bed and not the other side onto the hard floor! I started co sleeping safely that night.

Quitedrab Tue 15-Oct-19 06:30:29

You're so right! I couldn't agree more.

99mTc Tue 15-Oct-19 06:32:21

I agree, especially regarding the dummies. They make life so much easier and if you wait too long to introduce them, baby might refuse them. I know lots of bf mums (I live in a country where most babies are ebf until 6 months old) and nearly all of them had dummies, none of them had nipple confusion.

username977943 Tue 15-Oct-19 06:37:40

YANBU although a midwife actually told me that out of 12 cases of SID in our area in a certain time frame. All 12 were actually where the parent had fallen asleep on the sofa or armchair and the baby had slid down or off the parent. So I would advise your friends not to do this over cosleeping.

canihaveabunplease Tue 15-Oct-19 06:37:42

Cosleeping can actually be better for breastfed babies and dummies help babies to regulate their breathing. Also the amount of alcohol you'd need to consume for it to get into your milk you'd be completely paralytic!!
Your midwife/hv has given you outdated advice and that's what I find U.

barneymcgroo Tue 15-Oct-19 06:38:10

I had a lovely midwife who showed me how to feed lying down on about day 5. Happily coslept from then on.

speakout Tue 15-Oct-19 06:40:17

My HV advised me to co sleep- and talked about how to do so safely.

ChilledBee Tue 15-Oct-19 06:40:52


Especially around breastfeeding.

Amanduh Tue 15-Oct-19 06:41:19

I can understand the cosleeping advice, but the others are rubbish.

Tableclothing Tue 15-Oct-19 06:41:20

I haven't got that far yet, but I'd like it if staff stopped giving me incomplete/misleading/downright wrong information in pregnancy.


- go to X hospital, it's the best (most emphatically NOT what the CQC said about it)
- if you're taking a pregnancy supplement you can't be anaemic (if I'd listened to that bollocks I'd still be untreated)
- anterior placenta makes no difference to anything (ahem. Even the NHS web pages beg to differ)
- don't worry about anterior placenta, they often move around you know
- I don't know who told you that, no they don't

I'm thinking of starting a campaign for evidence based maternity care, because at the minute they all seem to make it up as they go along.

TipseyTorvey Tue 15-Oct-19 06:42:11

Totally agree. Some of the things that were said to me for DC1 turned out to just be the opinion of the midwife or health visitor and some of those are bonkers. I get the sense they have very little training in post birth baby care as they're so focused on the pregnancy and birth part. Luckily I'd read a lot of books before I had my first so could already see conflicting advice based on personal philosophies was rife. I found mumsnet more useful than any midwife!

DC1 had a dummy from day 1 because he was in the scbu all tubed up and I couldn't cuddle him. I agreed to a dummy to give him any comfort I could. We got rid of it at 6 months overnight but it was a godsend for soothing him prior to that yet all the advice is anti.

Spanglyprincess1 Tue 15-Oct-19 06:43:41

It's not just that. My sister was frwkaing out as a new mom as needed toilet but baby had just thrown up all over his cot and his pushchair.
She was fretting over where was safe to put him....he is tiny and can roll yet but shuffles a bit on his back, she has no pets or other children. I said put him on mat on floor where u can see him. He can't roll off the floor!!!
Same for other practical advice like slings or sleeping tips.
Scary being a first time mom!

Hydrogenbeatsoxygen Tue 15-Oct-19 06:48:00

I worked as a HVs. One of the mums on my caseload fell asleep and suffocated her baby. This was because she was really tired, what new mum isn’t? And because she had consumed a small amount of alcohol.

Sadly professionals are faced with worst case scenarios, which makes them ultra cautious.

BrownBirdsFly Tue 15-Oct-19 06:49:01

So glad to see others agree - though it’s clear there are some midwives/health visitors out there giving better advice than others.

Just little things like the dummy, I know they’re not ‘recommended’ but just saying something like - it you do use one try and get rid of it by the age of x or similar!

1066vegan Tue 15-Oct-19 06:50:03

I think it depends so much on where you are and who you are in contact with.

During my first evening in hospital after having dd, a nurse showed me how to feed her lying down (c section so sitting up was painful) and then asked if I'd like her tucked in with me.

I wasn't even aware of cosleeping and am very grateful to her for introducing me to the idea.

Thewheelsarefallingoff Tue 15-Oct-19 06:50:28

It's really not true to say that co sleeping is not safe and I think it's dangerous to say this. If you co sleep appropriately; you don't drink or smoke and keep the baby away from pillows and duvets, I think it can be the safest way to sleep.

I don't remember the source now, but when DD was a baby, I read that babies that die when asleep with a parent on the sofa or armchair are recorded as co sleeping deaths. These are probably people who are desperately trying to avoid co sleeping (getting up in the night and sitting up with the baby to feed). There is a lot of dangerous misinformation spread by simplifying advice and aiming it at the lowest common denominator (parents that drink, smoke and use drugs).

Sallyseagull Tue 15-Oct-19 06:51:44


Also sounds like the HV's advice wasnt up to date.

You can drink in moderation when breastfeeding - I understand why they'd say you cant, as you'll always get someone who takes it to the extreme, but you definitely can.

There are now official guidelines about co-sleeping because, whilst not the safest option, losds of people do it and do it safely. I think it's the lullaby trust who produced the info that is now given out by NHS staff.

Dummies actually reduce the risk of SIDS, especially when used at night.

BrownBirdsFly Tue 15-Oct-19 06:52:05

@Hydrogenbeatsoxygen so sorry to hear that. I think this is the thing though, we all want everything to be as safe as possible but I think sometimes not accepting the ‘real life’ reality with babies stops this.

I know if I’d kept trying to get the perfect safe sleep solution (my baby in a separate crib) I’d have become so exhausted that would have been far more dangerous. I used to spend 3-4 hours settling her into it for her to wake after 10 minutes. For us, co-sleeping was the safest option, otherwise I could have fallen asleep whilst driving etc...

WatchingTheMoon Tue 15-Oct-19 06:54:25

The vast majority of the world co sleeps, so the NHS really need to be more realistic.

BrownBirdsFly Tue 15-Oct-19 06:55:25

@Sallyseagull and you’re right - I know I can drink alcohol when breastfeeding. Ideally I wouldn’t drink at all but I do enjoy a glass of wine here and there. By saying ‘do not drink alcohol when breastfeeding’ how many people does that put off breastfeeding at all.

Doubleraspberry Tue 15-Oct-19 06:57:37

If co-sleeping were not safe, UNICEF would not offer guidelines on how to do it properly, which is what I would urge anyone considering it to read for reassurance. My Health Visitor tried to tell me they had been discredited, which is utterly wrong.

HVs are a variable bunch and the bad ones are terrible. New mothers are so vulnerable and it’s frustrating that they can be exposed to judgemental twaddle just when they need support the most.

I was told that my baby was at risk of not developing her brain because she wasn’t napping enough. I know enough really to dismiss that but it still really upset me, particularly as I’d have loved her to nap more! My husband got told off for changing my son on the floor - like many, many parents do. Apparently he should have used a mat. Ultra critical (and pointless) comments aren’t going to help anyone.

Aroundtheworldin80moves Tue 15-Oct-19 07:00:51

How to cosleep safely would be great advice for new mothers. It stopped me from getting too tired. Include the reasons why it isn't safe. But planned co sleeping is safer than unplanned.

Dillydallyingthrough Tue 15-Oct-19 07:01:48

YANBU My dais had her first baby recently and was given wrong info - such as when ebf she should give cooled boiled water even though DN had lots of wet nappies. I'm not sure how regular training is but she stopped seeing the HV quite quickly as the HV just made stuff up. It seems to be personal opinions rather than facts.

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