Young mum Loren talks about losing her first son Archie to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the work she is doing to help reduce the risk for other young parents.
I was 18 when I fell pregnant; I was going to college training to be a hairdresser. I remember feeling really sick one day and one of my friends joked I might be pregnant. Little did we know I was!
I felt totally in shock. My family took a few months to accept it, but as my due date got closer, they started to show their excitement. It was hard watching my friends go out and on holidays – but being able to eat what I want and not worry about the calories, feeling his kicks and seeing the scans made up for it.
Archie was born by emergency C-section in July 2012. After being induced he become stressed and was born 12 hours later weighing 7.4 ounces. I was surprised that the C section didn’t hurt.
Archie had blonde hair and loved to pout. He was amazing – worth all the sickness, pains and nights in.
I was given a print out about anti- natal care and we come home 3 days later. I didn’t know any other young mums, so it would have been good to know about Little Lullaby back then. I would have found lots more support, information and advice.
The health visitor told me about SIDS at our first visit. The word made me feel sick but she reassured me it was rare so I quickly put it to the back of my mind and told myself it would never happen to families like mine.
Archie was bottle fed and didn’t have a dummy. We shared a bed as I didn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. Archie was gorgeous and he knew it, he loved the mirror, he could drink milk for England and was a little chunk with skinny legs and big feet. His favourite game was flying like superman, he started to smile, did the cutest laugh for the first time and his favourite thing was his bouncer.
When he was 6 weeks and 4 days old we said goodnight to him for the last time.
The following morning he was taken to hospital and they told me it was SIDS. I found some information and support on The Lullaby Trust website, the charity that created Little Lullaby. The hospital provided great aftercare and was very supportive while my family and I helped each other to grieve.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I got loads of help from my midwife — she was brilliant and put me in touch with the Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme that provided advice and equipment to put my mind at ease.
When my son was born, it was the scariest but happiest time of my life. He’s now 2 and I still keep him wrapped up in cotton wool, like we all do. Now I know the dangers I would never share a bed with him.
Now, 3 years later, I am fighting to get clearer, more informative support and guidelines on safer sleeping, spreading awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and teaching parents the things about safer sleep that no print out or leaflet could tell you.
I am hoping one day, all parents know how to reduce the risk and so parents don’t have to experience the loss that I did.
I’m also currently part of the Young Parents Advisory Board for The Lullaby Trust. The board helps the charity to reach as many young parents as possible by telling them what appeals to us.
I have started a petition in Liverpool for better education and more accessible guidelines around SIDS. I tell everyone with children to follow the safer sleep guidelines and tick every box, because one little change could save your baby’s life.
Safer sleep advice from Little Lullaby
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found. There are steps that you can take to help reduce the risk of SIDS occurring.
You should try to follow this advice for all sleep periods, not just at night. Babies need a lot of sleep during the first few months of their lives so it’s important to ensure that they are sleeping as safely as possible.