The 4th Trimester, Safe Sleep and ICON

In this meeting, I chat to Cheryl a safeguarding midwife in Cheshire and Jenny, a babywearing consultant and chair for Macclesfield Maternity Voices Partnership about the 4th trimester, what to expect and how to be prepared.

I start the chat with Cheryl who tells me that information and preparation are key to enjoying this time with your baby. Not putting pressure on your self about what you expect this time to be like and please don’t compare yourself to others, friends, family or even celebrities that you see on the internet about their journey as everyone is different.

We all have different fitness leaves before pregnancy, in pregnancy, different birth experiences and all these make a difference to the postnatal recovery. There is no right or wrong to what you do or don’t do.

Do take support from others, ask them to make and drop off healthy food for you on your doorstep. You can with the current guidelines have a support bubble for child care, this may be your mum or a friend and that person can come and help care for you and your baby in your home or take your baby for a walk for you so you can rest or sleep.

Decide what’s right for you at this time, is it important for you to put makeup on? To get dressed and out of the house every day? To talk to someone? Take time to think about what you need and what helps you feel better. Talk to your midwives when they visit you at home about if you need support from them.

When the midwives come to do the home visits they are there for you and your baby, they don’t want to see a perfect house. It’s normal to only be getting dressed and having breakfast at 3pm with dishes in the sink. This is normal with a new baby, don’t put pressure on yourself to have a perfectly tidy house.

Jenny talked to us about her experience as a mum of two boys and how she supports parents with safely carrying their babies.

She asks us to think about the babies point of view once they are born into this bright loud world and how that is so different from the calm, warm, muffled sound inside the whom. Keeping the baby in your arms or in a sling can create a gentle transition for the baby.

Helping to enjoy the benefits of skin to skin time and time again, not just in the first for hours after giving birth but how going back to it as baby grows can help regulate babies temperature, your feed routine, and even reduce the amount baby cries.

This how we carry a baby and why carrying matters picture explains.

The TICKS checklist is used with parents and babywearing consultants to check that baby is safe and their airways are clear when in the sling.

Jenny and her colleagues are currently running a zoom session at the moment, which you can arrange while you are pregnant and if you have a sling already, use a teddy or dolly to practice putting in and out the sling safely while Jenny watches on zoom and offers advice and tips. Or you can have a zoom appointment once the baby arrives with your own sling if you have one, this call is free or you can hire slings from Macclesfield or Stockport sling libraries. You can arrange contactless pickup and drop off for these. There is a small charge for the sling hire, this money goes towards training more consultants and buying more slings. All slings are washed and quarantine before passed on to the next person.

You can use slings from day 1 of having a baby or you can start using a sling once the baby is older or even a toddler.  Jenny and her team can support you via a zoom call, direct you to a good clear video on how to use the sling or Jenny invited you all to follow the Macclesfield Babywearers on Facebook and join the group as this is where there is lots of support from other mums.

Jenny is also the chair for Macclesfield Voices Partnership Services this group collects feedback from service users and feeds it back to the hospital and makes improvements. The group currently have a survey collecting feedback that is for anyone that has been pregnant or had a baby in the last year since the start of the pandemic. Please complete it, share it as the more information they gather the better.

You can contact Jenny at Macclesfield Babywears on Facebook or email her

I go back to Cherly to talk about ICON- all about how to cope with babies crying. All midwives will talk to all parents to be about this,  while you are pregnant. It came about after abuse to babies, you may have heard of shaken babies, this is frame adults that cant cope with babies crying anymore.

All babies will cry its normal and part of their development but it does vary from baby to baby. Babies can be a low or high cryer. If they cry a lot that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.

You can be prepared for this time by thinking about a time you felt really stressed, then what helped you to reduce that stress at the time. Did you walk away, go for a walk, phone a friend? Think about what might help you.

If you get to the point of feeling very overwhelmed, stress and you are also tired, if you are struggling to deal with the baby crying and you have tried to settle them, then recognise how you are feeling then walk away. Put baby down in a safe place such as their cot and walk away, go make a brew, call your mum or just take some deep breathes. Calm down then go back to baby. They will pick up on your being stressed and this won’t help them so if you calm down then go back to them they will feel that too.

If you need to ask for help do so. The Health visitors are there for you, they can help support you and put a plan in place.

Check out the ICON website.

Cheryl also reminded us about the safe sleep advice from the Lullaby trust. They say the best place for baby to sleep is in their own space. If you choose to co-sleep there are guidelines for that.

Moses baskets or next to me cribs are considered the best play for baby. You may have a Moses basket downstairs for daytime nap and a crib next to your bed for bedtime or someplace move the Moses basket up and down each day.

Babies need to sleep on a new mattress that is waterproof, so it can be cleaned if babies nappy leaks or they are sick, if it’s not waterproof bacteria can build up on there. It needs to be firm and flat as if it isn’t babies can curl up and this may restrict their airways. Being place on their backs so the airways are open and at the bottom of the cot so any loose covers cant raise up over the baby.

Make sure the sleep area is empty, with no comforters, toys, teddys or cot bumpers. Babies are strong and could grasp these things and pull them over their faces and they would know to move it away.

Cot bumpers are sleepyhead might come with all the right wording and say they are breathable but they are not advised by midwives. There is still a risk of baby putting their face into it. There have been studies that found when cot bumpers are used babies are breathing in more of there own carbon dioxide which is related to cot death.

If you are unsure what temperature babies bedroom should be, the ideal is 16-20 Degrees C, which may be a little cooler then you like but we don’t want babies to overheat. You can use a thermometer to help you achieve this. If you are unsure ask your midwife, the advice is that babies wear one more layer to us.

Sleeping bags are safe to use but check the tog is right for the time of year and make sure arms are free but its tight under the armpits so babies cant get there arm side and wiggle into the bag.

Its recommended that babies share your room fo the first 6 months so you are there if they need you. You can learn their ques and be there if they need something. It’s not advisable to place baby on your bed for naps, as there are lots of loose cover, or on a sofa or bean bag.

Car seats are safe but not for prolonged time periods. After two hours, get the baby out, stretch their legs, and let them take a break from being in there.

Using dummies is person to each parent. Some babies benefit from using a dummy as it can help to soothe them. The research says if babies use a dummy to go to sleep it keeps the airways open and may reduce the risk of cot death, but don’t feel like you have to and if it falls out you don’t have to keep putting it back in.

Babies should be at the bottom of the crib or Moses basket, feet to foot, so baby doesn’t overheat, they expel heat from there heads and this heat cant move away from babies as well if they are too high in the crib coursing them to overheat. They also wiggle around and being at the bottom stops them from kicking covers over their heads.

You can swaddle baby but there is nothing evidenced-based. Don’t swaddle tighter than their armpits using a cellular blanket so the air can circulate, or use a swaddle blanket but make sure it’s not to tight or too loose, ask your midwife or health visitor to check for you.

Flathead syndrome does happen, but cushions to prevent this are not recommended, it’s often coursed by the shape of the babies head and not because they are lay on their backs.

Second-hand smoke can be a hazard for babies, if someone smokes, make sure they do so outside, they wash hands and remove all clothing that may have smoke on them before coming in to contact with the baby.

Pets and babies are fine as long as you keep the baby safe. Never leave a pet and baby in the same room together as much you are sure that your dog or cat wouldn’t hurt your baby we never know. If you currently let your pet sleep in your bedroom you might want to start forwards thinking about new sleeping arrangements for them in preparation for babies arrival.


Jenny can be contacted at
Most of the images that Jenny shared come from the Carrying Matters website
This is the maternity voices Facebook page with the survey Jenny talked about, please complete it.
You can watch it back here,
Meeting Recording:

As always we are all here for and please get in touch if you have any questions or need anything from us, we are here for you.


These meetings are once a meet, the last Wednesday of the month at 6pm via Zoom. Please email Saffron or have a look at the Macclesfield Positive Birth Group Facebook page.