A revolutionary invention, which enables a mother to stay close to her baby at night without putting it at risk, has won one of the most prestigious awards in the Nursery Industry.
Concept 2005 design award
Specially designed to keep mothers and their new babies at the same level and close enough to be within ‘touch, breath and heartbeat reach’ of each other throughout the night and when resting together during the day – yet allowing the baby its own safe space. This essential closeness follows naturally from the nine months in the womb and avoids the loneliness and stress of separation.
It lies at the heart of Right from the Start’s mission: ‘To create a loving and secure environment for our children.’ Sarah developed the concept and design during four years of research that she undertook for the charity – and you might like to read the story at the bottom of this page.
Julie, a midwife, with her baby
– in an early home-built Bednest
Benefits of the Bednest
Using the Bednest makes life much easier for parents during such a time of upheaval – and secure and confidant babies are more likely to become happy toddlers!
The first six months lay the foundations for life.
These photographs of real mums and babies using the first Bednests, in this section, give a sense of the peace and delight these families experienced from the closeness at night.
Julie and family
with her baby in an early model
The importance of touch
It’s not yet widely known that every single time a baby is touched lovingly and gently, skin to skin, asleep or awake, it sets off a big growth-surge of new brain cells. This touching also builds more and more connections between the new brain cells and also between the different parts of your baby’s brain.
To be physically in contact throughout the night for the first six months makes a great difference to a baby’s health, happiness and emotional development during childhood. It helps families develop a special sense of belonging and sharing together. This strong early bonding does a great deal to prevent relationship and behaviour problems, including aggressive tendencies, from developing. Even jealousy of a new baby won’t be overwhelming or last long, because of the deep-rooted sense of being loved and secure that is built into a `Bednest baby’. Those feelings will not easily be dislodged by a newcomer in the family a year or two later.
A ‘Bednest baby’ is a happy baby – ready for life.
Sarah and her three-week-old baby – with exactly the right distance between their faces for him to see her beautiful smile.
Using the Bednest will help sensitive communication and understanding between you and your baby to grow rapidly in those early weeks. This closeness, all through the night, reduces the likelihood of `baby blues` or post-natal depression for you, because it can help your hormones to get back to normal more quickly. And you will be more relaxed and have longer sleeping time to recover from the birth.
Using the Bednest will also avoid any anxiety in your mind about `cot death` because your baby will be protected and strengthened by your ‘electromagnetic energy field` invisibly encircling him from your heart, if you are within touch of each other almost all the time during those first months.
It makes feeding easier
Dawn feeding Fern, one day old
The Bednest encourages and helps you to breastfeed quietly and peacefully during the day, and especially at night.
More sleep. Less crying!
Breastfeeding during the night, with minimal disturbance of any kind for anyone, means a greater likelihood for you both of a rapid return to sleep after feeds.
Breast milk during the night, when you’re at rest, is richer than during the day so these ‘on-demand’ night feeds are very valuable for your baby in the first months. They can lessen the chance of distressed crying in the evenings as a result of the lower levels of nutrients in your breast milk at the end of the day.
Night feeds are the feeds which can help to ensure that your milk production will continue to answer the increasing needs of your growing baby, week by week.
Your baby’s breathing rate
When a baby is able to breathe in minute quantities of the carbon dioxide, breathed out by a parent holding them and sleeping beside them, it acts as a stimulant, ensuring a steady and regular breathing habit.
This natural chemical also helps the breathing rate of a baby – that is rapid at birth – to slow down gradually during the first few months and then settle into a breathing rate which is right for life. That is one of the most important tasks for a newborn.
Associated problems from light interference at night
New medical research findings, from all over the world, have now been collated about the importance of darkness throughout the night for babies and children. Exposure to constant (even low) levels of artificial light during the night reduces levels of melatonin which regulate the body’s inner clock.
This means that all the organs and systems which should be resting and recovering during the night may be reactivated. This can lead to a disruption of sleeping patterns, crying, hyperactivity and other behaviour problems. All this can undermine a child’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
Full lighting, switched on in the night to lift, feed and resettle your baby, will cause serious disruption – and bring your brain to full alert, making it harder for you both to get back to sleep quickly.
Light interference at night is also known to be one of the causal factors in the present continuing increase in childhood leukaemia, ADHD and the early onset of short-sightedness.
So the Bednest makes it as easy as possible to feed and comfort your baby during the night in total, or almost total, darkness and in peace and quiet. There is no need to get out of bed, or turn on a light, or do anything that brings you to full alert – such as looking at your watch to see the time!
A child’s sense of security.
A child is less likely to grow fearful of the dark if he has slept close enough to his mother during the first few months to smell her, hear her breathing and sense her right beside him. The association of these feelings of safety with velvety darkness will still be with him as he grows older.
The Bednest was designed – with all these research findings in mind – to respond to all of these needs at night. Providing the best possible alternative to bed-sharing if – or whenever – you feel that for one good reason or another, bed-sharing is inadvisable or unacceptable.
The Bednest now
A beautiful wooden model – designed and improved upon by Therefore product design consultants – based on just the same principles – is available from Bednest Ltd, now owned by Therefore.
When using The Bednest, or any other co-sleeper bedside crib the most important thing to remember is to put up and secure the fourth side without fail, before you leave your baby unattended. Even young babies can wriggle and roll around.
Imagine this in darkness!
With extending legs and drop sides, the Bednest folds flat, is robust, and outstandingly easy to assemble, transport and store.
The crib lifts from its base when it needs to be moved so is ideal as a travel cot. These features also make it suitable for hire or loan to new mothers