The Victoria Derbyshire programme has discovered that many parents who co-sleep are so fearful about being judged they are not telling health visitors about it.
Experts say they are concerned that guidance on how to minimise the risks is not being passed on. Dawn Barclay, from Forfar, recalls the first few weeks of her baby Fern's life. It was 2014, and Dawn says lying next to Fern was the only way her daughter would sleep. "I'd do it the safest way possible. I would remove the pillows, she would be on her back, with my hand on her chest. "No-one else - husband or other child - in the bed with us. To have her close was just the most natural thing in the world."
'Lying on the couch'
Tragically, Dawn took a nap one morning with her eight-week-old daughter on the sofa. She woke to find Fern had stopped breathing. "She woke up and had a feed, and we both had fallen back asleep, but we were lying on the couch." Dawn cried for help as soon as she knew something was wrong. "The fear that I had done something to her was one of the first things to go through my mind, I didn't understand what else was going on apart from the fact that I thought I'd killed my baby.
"I remember lifting her up and just running through to Andy, and screaming that she was gone." Dawn said her husband started doing CPR. "I thought he'd managed to bring her back. He managed to get the colour to come back in her cheeks," she says. But Andy was unable to resuscitate Fern. "I just remember falling to the ground and just screaming," Dawn says. Nine months later, following a coroner's report, it was discovered that Fern had suffered damage on her brain from birth that might have stopped her breathing. Her death certificate was changed from inconclusive to "sudden unexpected death in infancy associated with co-sleeping" - a ruling Dawn still believes is unfair.comments powered by Disqus