Co-sleeping safely with mum
When Ariana Davis’ newborn twins wake in the night, she simply turns to them to comfort their cries.
She is among the west Auckland mums invited to flax-weave their own wahakura (bassinet) to safely co-sleep with babies.
Waitemata¯ DHB launched the safe-sleep classes at Waita¯kere Hospital three years ago to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
The programme has proven so popular it is now being adopted by Northland DHB.
Unfortunately the birth of Davis’ now two-week-old twins clashed with the course so she couldn’t attend, but DHB staff gifted her two wahakura.
The mum-of-three said cosleeping was important to her, but she wanted to do it in a safe way.
‘‘I was always scared of rolling onto them. This was a great way for us to have them close to us but safe at the same time,’’ she said.
The Massey resident said having the wahakura so close to her made everything easier with twins Khalia and Lennox.
‘‘Calming them down is just so much easier and it’s just a closeness. They’re inside of you for nine months and they just want to be around you,’’ she said.
SUDI is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand babies. A total of 58 babies in Waitemata¯ died from SUDI between 2002 and 2015.
In many SUDI cases, it was found the baby was bed-sharing, sleeping on a couch or surrounded by pillows.
The initiative was aimed at Ma¯ ori and Pacific Island parents as their babies were more likely to die from SUDI than any other culture. Waitemata¯ DHB midwife Sue Fitzgerald said it was important to do something more to spread the safe sleep message.
‘‘For us, a baby dying from something that could have been prevented is just unacceptable,’’ Fitzgerald said in a statement.
‘‘We needed to do something more tangible than just handing out a pamphlet.’’
Plunket Waikumete clinical leader Kathy Green said Plunket shared concerns about babies dying from SUDI.
’’We’re particularly concerned that a high proportion of those are Ma¯ ori. We support the Waitemata¯ DHB’s wahakura initiative, and when we work with pregnant mums and tell them about how they can attend the wahakura weaving sessions, it’s well received.’’
Johnny Vaetoru and Ariana Davis with two-week-old twins Khalia and Lennox Vaetoru.