Thursday, 12 March 2015

The legend of the post-baby body bounce back

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

Once again a photo of a postnatal mother's body is causing a furore on the internet. Caroline Berg Eriksen has posted an image of her incredibly slim and toned post baby body, just 4 days after giving birth.
I think it's great when women celebrate their bodies, regardless of their shape and size. I was particularly heartened by how she described her motivations. She is proud of what her body has been through, and she has every right to be. Just like every new mum, she just made a new human being! That's amazing. Forget how she looks, the sheer resilience and capability of the female body is something to be proud of.
She also remarks that all mothers should be similarly proud, regardless of how their body looks. I can certainly agree with her on that.
It is a shame that this is riding on the back of Maria Kang's postnatal selfie and the uproar that caused. While Caroline's intended message is "my body made a person and it's still doing alright, arn't mums amazing?" many interpreted Maria's "motivational image" as "why are you not as good as me?" - although she retains that her motivation was to inspire, not shame.
As a perinatal yoga teacher, I witness many women's journey through pregnancy, birth and recovery. I see women in late pregnancy, who barely show and still fit in their jeans. I meet women who are still able to run, or stand on their head a few days before giving birth! These, like Caroline, are the outliers. There is nothing "right" or "wrong" about how they cope with pregnancy, they are simply cases at the extreme ends of the spectrum of normal and healthy women.
Most women find they need to slow down in pregnancy, their fitness lapses because their metabolism is naturally slowing, and their body's resources are being redirected to their babies, leaving little spare for leisure. Those who are not naturally predisposed to being slim and athletic (and even those who are) can expect to lose a little fitness, and gain a little weight.
Gaining weight in pregnancy is a usual part of the process. New mums need that extra stored fat in reserve ready for breastfeeding - a greater strain on the body even than pregnancy.
In fact it has recently been proposed that the body's natural set point for weight adjusts after the first pregnancy. This could better equip a woman for motherhood, and gestating larger babies, once her ability to birth safely has been tested.
Our media culture deeply values women who "bounce back" after having their babies. Celebrities are celebrated for having a toned belly postpartum, and vilified should a glimpse of spare flesh or stretchmarked skin be spotted. Women are presented with a false ideal. The product of good genetics, dieticians, personal trainers and photoshop. It is a rare thing to see the less than "perfect" examples of mothers' bodies.
There is an incredible pressure put on mums today, to conform to the celebrity standard. Many women remain unaware that it is usual to take months for the body to recover after the incredible changes liable to take place during pregnancy and birth. Moreover, it is entirely acceptable, if not necessary, for a postpartum mother to rest and recover at a pace that is suitable for her body and lifestyle. I was caught out by this too. 

After seeing a photo of a television celebrity resplendent in a bikini, just two months after giving birth, I was sure that I would have no problem slimming into my wedding dress by 10 weeks postpartum.

In an endeavour I now consider foolhardy at best, I did drop two dress sizes in time. I was also exhausted, irritable and lacking the glow of a healthy new mum. Nursing and caring for a newborn, without extensive support and working against my natural not-willowy predisposition took its toll. Even after the initial rapid loss, I did not return to my pre-pregnancy weight before I fell pregnant again 15 months later.
After my second pregnancy, I returned to dance and yoga quite quickly, but I paced myself. That's not to say I was lazy (before I am asked for excuses…) six months postpartum I was often found training at 10pm or later, the only child-free part of my day. The difference was that I did not make myself ill doing it. It took just over a year, but no dieting for me to return to the weight I was before my first pregnancy.
I am not going to pretend however that I have "got my pre-pregnancy body back". Becoming a mother changes so many aspects of your life. It causes your body to face challenges unlike any other, there will always be changes. Whether those challenges change the way a woman's body looks, or make less obvious changes to the way it functions, they are amazing and nothing to be ashamed of.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

How can I tell what my baby wants?

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

When I gave birth to my first child, I wondered how I was supposed to know what my baby needs and when to do it?

Being a first time parent is an incredibly steep learning curve, and no one could blame an expectant parent for disbelieving the reassurance that they will be able to do it. Things work themselves out in time, and ultimately, no one is better equipped to care for your baby than you.

With this in mind, I am going to share some of my best tips, as a mum of two. Hopefully these ideas will instill the confidence to listen to your baby and your own instincts.

New babies are not complicated

Babies have very simple needs. More importantly, they only have needs. Babies do not have ill-considered ideas, or Machiavellian tendencies. What they ask for, is what they need to survive, so there is no need to worry about making a judgement call on their behalf.

Initially your baby simply needs food, comfort and security. A lack of any of these will initiate instinctive behaviours that, if not responded to, will progress into crying. They may also cry because they are tired, but if their other needs are satiated, a newborn is more likely to fall asleep than cry from tiredness.

Midwives teach new mums to recognise feeding cues - look for your baby smacking their lips, nuzzling you or sticking their tongue out. Don't wait until they cry to try and feed them, it is much harder to feed a crying baby, especially if you are breastfeeding and trying to establish a good latch.

If you are unsure of why your baby is distressed, try working through the options. If they won't feed (or nurse for comfort):
Pick them up and talk softly.

  • Check their nappy. 
  • Check their temperature by putting a finger down the back of their neck. 
  • Hold them upright against your shoulder and pat to relieve gas. 
  • Rock, cuddle and generally soothe. 
  • If they settle a little, but not completely, try feeding again. Sometimes they need to calm down a bit before they are ready to feed. 

When you are tired and flustered by your baby's cry, this simple list will be hard to remember. Keep a copy where you can see it when you need it.

Learn to distinguish between their cries

After spending a lot of time around your baby, you will begin to hear differences in their cries. The more responsive you are to their types of cry, the more they will use the successful cries to communicate with you.

There are a couple of cheats you can use to help yourself along with this. They work on a baby's communicative crying - the cries they use to alert you, rather than the distressed cries that these evolve into when their needs are not met.

When a small baby is hungry, they often make a "nnn" sound at the beginning of their cry. This is caused by them pushing their tongue into the roof of their mouth.

When a baby has a pain in their belly, their cry will begin with a strained "eee" sound. Holding them upright and patting the back can relieve wind. Gentle massage of the belly in a clockwise motion or slowly pedaling their feet will relieve discomfort in the lower intestine or constipation.

As long as they are fed, clean and comfortable, a great way to console a distressed baby is towear them in a sling. Your familiar movement, smell and sounds are often all your baby really wants.

Moving on and growing up

Just as you begin to get the hang of these basic cues, your baby will start developing new needs. They will get bored, frustrated, overstimulated. The good news is, that by then you will be an old hand at this. Baby signing is also an excellent intermediate step, before speech develops. Never forget that while your baby may not be able to articulate their needs to you, they do understand much of what you say to them. Keep talking to them, asking questions, and see how they respond.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Simple yoga for new mums

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

Pregnancy and birth can take an enormous toll on your body. Returning to full strength and health after the birth of your baby can be daunting, especially when you are expected to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible.
I help new mums to restore their health and adjust their bodies back into healthy, strong posture. Here are some of my favourite yoga exercises that are ideal for you after your GP check at 6 or 8 weeks postpartum.
To relieve "nursing" shoulders
Carrying and feeding a small baby takes its toll on your upper back and shoulders, as mothers tend to hunch around their child. Prevent this problem by using a nursing cushion and sitting up straight.
Open up the chest and release the shoulders with this namaste-to-reverse-namaste sequence. Begin standing, or sitting up straight (don't do this on a chair with a back though). Place your hands in prayer position over your heart. Inhale. Exhale and push your hands forwards, as if starting a swimming breastroke. Sweep your hands out tracing a circle around your body right to the back.

Hold your hands behind your back at bra strap level, by holding your wrists in the opposite hand. Use a belt between your hands if you can't reach. Stay here for a few breaths. Roll the shoulders back, lift the heart forward and sit tall. Inhale. On the exhale reverse the swimming motion and return to your starting position. Repeat for 2-3 times. As your range of movement improves, you can work towards using a reverse prayer position (with your hands behind your back).
Lie on the floor, with knees bent and your weight evenly distributed across your back. cross your arms across your chest as if to hug yourself - Or lie your baby tummy-down on your chest and hug him! Inhale. Exhale and press your shoulders down to the floor, flattening your upper back. Inhale and release. Repeat this 5-10 times.

To align the back
The shape of your spine changes dramatically during pregnancy, it is important to restore the posture and strengthen the back.
Lie on your back on the floor. Bend the left knee lightly and keep the right leg straight. Raise the right arm above your head. Inhale. As you exhale, push through the sole of your foot, stretching the leg away from you. Simultaneously reach away with your fingertips. Release. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
For a gentle twist, repeat the above exercise, but cross your bent leg over your opposite thigh, placing your foot on the outside of that thigh. If you have recently had a caesarean, you should not attempt twisting exercises.
To restore the lower abdominal muscles and strengthen the back
Lie on your back on the floor, bend your knees and hug them to your chest, stretching the lower back. Breathe in deeply, engaging your abdominal muscles and pulling your knees to your chest. Exhale and push your knees away. Repeat for 5-10 breaths.
As you become comfortable with this, begin drawing up your pelvic floor as you inhale, and do not release it completely on the exhale. Retain the lift in the pelvic floor throughout the exercise and release on the last breath.

After a few weeks you may want to round this off with a more intense exercise..Straighten your legs, facing your soles to the ceiling; pressing your feet up and your lower back to the floor. Hold for 1-3 breaths.
Lie on your back on the floor, palms down, arms by your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, comfortably close to your buttocks. There will be a small gap where your lower back does not meet the floor due to the natural curve of your lumbar spine.

Gently tuck your pelvis - as though you were trying to fasten a tight pair of jeans - and press your lower back to the floor. Release. Repeat 5-10 times, breathing in as you press your back to the floor, and out as you release it. If you are recovering from a caesarean birth, you will need to go very gently here, and be even more conscious of only doing what feels comfortable.When you are confident with this, the next level is to start lifting off the floor. Begin as before, curling your tail under and pressing your spine into the floor. Then slowly, one vertebra at a time, from the tail up, peel your spine off the floor, rolling up the spine until your weight is on your feet and upper back in bridge position. At first only try one or two repetitions than this. Keep the lifting motion smooth and steady. As you become more confident, you can try more repetitions and slow the movement even more. Allow several weeks to build up to this.
For the ultimate challenge, you can move your feet closer together, which requires more core muscle control for balance.

At this time more than ever, it is important that you do not push your limits. Please stop if an exercise is uncomfortable, do not attempt these exercises before your doctor has cleared you to exercise, take it slowly and consult a qualified perinatal yoga teacher for advice and support.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

How I got my babies to sleep, the gentle way

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.
I have always sung my children to sleep. There is something about being rocked while hearing their lullaby that gets them every time.
Each of my children have their own lullaby, mostly because I was bored of the one I sing my eldest, by the time his brother came along. I usually sing it a couple of times over, then hum until they drift off. As soon as they hear the tune they start to settle as they recognise it is time for sleep.
I am fairly sure there is some kind of Pavlovian response going on. When I was in hospital recovering from the birth of my first child, I had only one CD with me, which got played a lot. I discovered when he was a few weeks old that one particular song on the CD had an almost mystical effect on him, no matter how distressed or overtired he was, if I played that song, he would be calm and sleepy by the end of the introduction. The artist in question was "The Cult", hardly your usual bedtime listening. We refer to the employment of this track in times of need as "The Cult Effect". It still worked at two years old, but it never had the same impact on our second child.
When my children were very young, they had no bedtime. I found that as they tended to cluster-feed to "fill the tank up" in the evening, it was not practical to try and get them into bed. Much better to let them doze and feed in my lap until my bedtime - when they would come to bed with me. This flexible arrangement also meant that we could go out as a family with no fear of upsetting the routine. As long as they were with me they were happy. Once they were sleeping solidly through the evening, they transitioned to a bedtime, at around the time they seemed naturally inclined to drop off.
I always nursed my babies to sleep. Some claim that this is a bad habit, but nighttime breastmilk is full of hormones that promote sleep, so surely this is how babies are designed to fall asleep. Both stopped nursing to sleep before they were a year old. They would have their fill, then roll over and settle, with a tiny smile and a full belly. Or sit up and try to play.
Their father became the secret weapon at this point. If their milk failed in its sleep-inducing effect, their dad would come in, wrap his arms around them and sing to them until they dropped off.
I have never felt inclined to "train" our children to sleep. Instead I have just had faith that in their own time, they will establish a sleep pattern that suits them. If along the way that meant that I had to spend a few evenings cuddling them as they dropped off, well, that's fine. There are few more worthy and fulfilling ways to spend a couple of hours than curled up, breathing their baby smell, and making sure they feel love and comfort as they drift off to sleep.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Yoga for common pregnancy niggles

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

Yoga is an excellent way to maintain your wellbeing in pregnancy. A simple daily practice will raise your energy levels and keep you relaxed and feeling well through your pregnancy. Sometimes however, specific pregnancy symptoms leave you feeling below par.
Through both my pregnancies, I used the following exercises to banish those troublesome niggles, and my prenatal yoga students do the same. Here are some of the most useful exercises to help with common pregnancy symptoms.
Shortness of breath
As your baby grows, particularly into the third trimester, they will start to take up some of the space previously allocated to your lungs. As a result your breathing becomes shallower, and you become short of breath more easily. The 3 part breath sequence opens up your chest, improving your posture and optimising your breathing, making the best of the space you still have available.
Start in a comfortable seated posture, sit up tall and roll your shoulders back. Place your hands on your lower abdomen. For 8 breaths, breathe deeply into your hands, in through the nose and out through the mouth.. Visualise your breath vitalising your baby, Keep the breaths as slow as you find comfortable.
Move your hands to your ribs, just above your bump. For another 8 breaths, breathe wide, into your hands, imagine your ribcage expanding with each breath.
Now move your fingertips to your collarbones. Still breathing deep and wide, fill your lungs right up, until you feel a slight movement in your fingertips. Keep breathing like this until you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Pregnancy is a time of great change for the individual, and external influences such as work, relationships and financial issues can lead to high stress levels. Stress contributes to nausea, dizziness and blood pressure problems. High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the mother have also been shown to affect foetal development.
Ujjayi breath is an extension of the above exercise. Once you are breathing steadily and deeply, close the throat slightly. You will hear the sound of your breath rushing through your throat, which is why this is sometimes called "ocean breath". You can use this breath while sitting quietly, or during other exercises.
Brahma Mudra is a simple exercise to quiet the mind. Begin seated comfortably, and breathing gently. Close your eyes and very slowly turn your head to face over your left shoulder. Move at about half the speed you want to. When you reach your shoulder, rest there for a couple of breaths, then turn to the right shoulder. Pause for a couple of breaths and return to the centre. Raise your head so your forehead faces the ceiling - do not crunch your neck back - take a couple of breaths. Drop your chin to your chest, slowly. Rest there.
If you have problems with blood pressure of dizziness, please consult your midwife.
Your constantly shifting centre of gravity, along with increased flexibility is a recipe for low back pain. Be mindful of your posture, check in with yourself regularly. Stand with the weight evenly distributed between your feet. Tuck your pelvis underneath you and pull in your lower abs, as if you were trying to do up some tight trousers - these muscles are stretched, but it is important to keep them active as they stabilise your pelvis.
Cat to child is a gentle sequence to ease back pain. Begin on all 4s. Try to keep your back flat, look at the floor between your hands. As you breathe in, arch your back up like an angry cat. Pull your tail and shoulders down and your mid back up. Exhale and return to the neutral posture with a flat back, do not let your back fall into a hollow. Repeat 3 or 4 times, then, on an exhale, drop your hips back to sit on your heels (widen your knees to accommodate your belly, you could also place a pillow on your heels for support), with your forehead resting on the floor, or a firm stack of pillows (modified child pose) rest here.
Shooting pains down the back of the legs are quite common in pregnancy. Pigeon pose is quite an intense stretch, although with support from cushions and blocks, it can be adapted for most women.
Begin on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Bring one knee forwards to the same-side hand. Draw the foot of the same leg across to the opposite hand, so that your lower leg is at a right angle to your spine. You will feel the stretch across the outer side of your hip. Relax into this, and practice ujjayi breath, imagine the breath is directed into the tension in your hip. For a more intense stretch take your other leg back behind you until it is straight. You can pile folded blankets or firm pillows under your pelvis for support if you need it. You can stay up on your hands - you could use a birth ball or chair for support here, taking the weight off your wrists and resting your head. Alternatively, lower your upper body to the floor, your forward leg will be hooked around your bump, and with some support you may be able to rest there.

Be sure only to practice within your own comfortable limits. It is best to attend a prenatal yoga class for feedback from an instructor who will be able to help you adapt positions to suit your needs.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What to pack in your hospital bag for a relaxed, natural birth.

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

Towards the end of pregnancy, as it becomes the focus of the nesting instinct, one bag and its contents never held such importance. What will you need? What is a waste of space?
If you are planning a home birth it is useful to have a bag with all the things you might need during and immediately after the birth. Everything is then in one place should you need someone else to find it for you, and if you do have to transfer into hospital, you won't have to pack a bag during labour, or rely on someone else to - and inevitably end up with the wrong pyjamas.
Pyjamas aside though, hospitals are alien environments, and your bag can become your own little slice of home. This is why they are so important to us.
Birthing women naturally seek out that which is comfortable and familiar. Feeling safe and secure is vital for the physiological progress of birth. Oxytocin, the hormone that drives contractions, is released more freely, and birth progresses more smoothly, when a woman's basic nesting urges are respected.
So how can we honour this is a hospital environment?
Lighting - Hospital lighting tends to be bright and flat, perfect for medics who need to see well to do their job. Counter-productive to labouring women, as oxytocin production is inhibited in bright environments. Some hospitals have lights that dim, if yours doesn't, take a small lamp with you. Even a bright desk lamp (a small one will pack down well) can be draped with a muslin to diffuse the light. Battery operated tea lights can also be used to great effect. Then turn off the main lights and relax.
Music - If you enjoy relaxing to music, take a small player and a collection of your favourites with you. If you are using hypnotherapy, it may even be possible to buy the background music from your hypnotherapy CD to help transport you back to that peaceful mindset. Moving around is great in early labour. Dance the baby down into your pelvis, stomp out the discomfort of your contractions. Don't just stick to gentle music, take something you will find entertaining and uplifting too.
Aromatherapy - Hospitals can smell strange, antiseptic and generally unhomely. Aromatherapy for birth is a huge topic, but even the most basic blends can be very beneficial. Clary Sage is excellent for promoting the progress of your labour, and breathed deeply during contractions provides some pain relief. Lavender is good for relaxing. The best vector for aromatherapy in birth is a flannel, or sponge, dipped into a small bowl of water with a few drops of the oil. This is easily removed if you suddenly decide you no longer like the scent.
Pillows - Useful for birth, and for nursing afterwards, there is nothing more comforting than your own pillows or bean bags. Use them to keep you in a comfortable, upright position if you tire during labour. Remaining upright helps the baby descend into the pelvis and promotes contractions. Sitting on a birth ball, or the edge of a chair, leaning forwards onto a pile of cushions, is restful without slowing your labour.
A massage ball - Lower back massage can give great relief in labour. A small hand held massage tool can turn any birth partner into an expert masseur.
Food - If you are planning on a natural birth, you will be able to sustain yourself through labour by snacking regularly, although some interventions will require you to stop solids in case you need an anaesthetic. You may not feel like eating for a period when labour is very intense. Regardless, once the baby arrives you will be ravenous, and hospital catering rarely hits the spot! Take a range of foods, as you cannot be sure what you will fancy. Oat based snacks like flapjack are great for slow-release energy, fruit or smoothies can be refreshing. It's good to have some drinks you enjoy too, or a bottle of squash to flavour your water.
There is also a point in labour when women often find themselves needing a last burst of energy before they start to push. Chocolate, or spoon-fed honey are commonly used here, but as a doula I once supported a woman who dosed up on jelly beans!
Your birth plan - Your plan is a written statement of your preferences in terms of your treatment. If you are planning a natural birth it is likely that some of these preferences with be different to the hospital's default policy. It may be the case that your health care professionals do not read it, however, should you not be in a state of mind to discuss your treatment your birth partner can point to your birth plan and advocate for you with authority.
These basic ideas will get you started, but remember, as the mum to be, you have the right to choose the circumstances of your birth. Anything that makes you, as an individual, feel safe, relaxed and loved will be valuable, even your favourite pyjamas.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

How sleeping with my baby saved my sleep

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.

It was 2am and I was desperate. It was my first night home with my newborn son, three days after he was born by emergency caesarean section. My milk still had not come in, delayed most likely by the trauma of the surgery and the side effects of the painkillers. He would not stop feeding.
I knew that this was normal, I knew that he was topping up his marble-sized belly with rich colostrum, whilst triggering the production of the milk that eventually came nearly a day later. This was small comfort when I was exhausted. Every time he stirred, rooting around in his Moses basket, looking for me, I woke, rolled myself out of bed, tentatively, flinching at the pain in my fresh scar, picked him up, lay him on my mattress, and nursed him until he fell asleep; whereupon I dutifully, gently returned him to his little bed.
Over and over. Every hour, or even less.
I rang the midwives on duty at the hospital, and I am forever grateful that my call was answered by an individual who was willing to give me advice that many will not. "Let him sleep with you". That's it. That simple.
A few weeks earlier I would never have done it. My husband had joked that the baby would sleep in our bed. I told him no, no way, it's not safe.
When I was discharged from hospital I had been issued with, amongst several trees-worth of leaflets, a copy of the UNICEF safe sleeping guidelines . In reality sharing a bed with your baby is safe as long as certain precautions are taken. A breastfeeding mother, who naturally will sleep lightly, no drink or drugs, no heavy bedding, no way for baby to fall out or get trapped, no other children. With the advice and support of my midwives, I accepted that this was the best choice for us. When I later did more research, I was astounded at how far my preconceptions were from the truth. Evidence suggests that this is a safe choice and in some cases even a preferable one.
So that night I brought my new son into my bed. I fed him lying down, and dozed, when he finished he would roll onto his back to sleep. When he was hungry again he would snuffle around until I helped him latch on in my half sleep. I would not need to leave my bed and painfully lift him out of his moses basket, I would not even need to wake up completely. I found myself, as controlled studies have also demonstrated, checking on his temperature and breathing instinctively, without being fully conscious.

My first child did not sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. This was never a problem, he was right beside me in bed, all I ever had to do was nurse him, or cuddle him and he would settle back to sleep without either of us fully waking. Once he was sleeping through, we introduced him to his own bed, in his own room, which he thought was a great adventure. I missed his little snoring body next to me at night, so did my husband, but not for long, because just a couple of months later, his baby brother was born.
When I was expecting my second child, I did not make up the Moses basket. I did not assemble the cot. I knew that from the outset both of us would sleep better, and be happier if he was in bed with me, so once again, I made the bed baby-safe in readiness.
My second baby slept in my bed from his first day, in the hospital I refused to have him in the plastic tank, ringing the bell for someone to pass him to me every time he needed me. He lay curled up against me, resting peacefully. I discharged myself after one night because it was the hospital staff that were disturbing my sleep.
This time around, the midwife who discharged me made it clear that it was their policy to advise against bed sharing under any circumstances. But I knew baby number two would be sleeping with me.