Amanda Saucedo opened up about the heartbreaking moment she woke up and found her son Ben, aged just 30 days old, lying in pool of blood on her bed.
The mum woke earlier in the night to find Ben 'fussing' in his co-sleeper attached to her bed, and decided to take him out of his swaddle blanket to change his nappy and feed him. Speaking to the Scientific Parent, she said: 'Then I latched him on so he could eat. Not long after he started eating, I fell asleep.'
However, when she woke again at 8am, she noticed something was horribly wrong.
Image: Benny Bears
'I looked at my sweet Ben, all cuddled up to me as he loved to do. But something wasn't right. His face was pale and his nostril was stuck halfway down. I sat up and I realized there was a pool of blood next to Ben.
'I thought to myself, "No. No. This isn't happening!" I picked up my little 30-day-old son, laid him on his back, and started to gently shake him, saying "Ben! Ben! Wake up! Wake up, Ben!" It was then that I realized he was not going to wake up. He was already gone.'
After the paramedics arrived, Amanda was officially told that her son had died and said that 'before long, my house looked like something out of the crime shows you see on TV.'
Amanda still vividly remembers the moment she asked the coroner for more information around her son's death.
'I can still remember the look on his face when he answered me, the smell in the room, and even the temperature in my house. "Babies this small generally don't suffer when they're smothered", he said.'
The mum said that she would always pick Ben up and move him with her in the night, and never once woke up facing away from him. 'I call this my hell day. It is the worst story to tell. And it never seems to get easier.'
Image: Benny Bears
Eventually, Ben's death was ruled as SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) - positional asphyxiation due to unsafe sleep conditions - and while there was never anything found in his autopsy to prove that he suffocated, nor was his airway blocked when Amanda found him, his death was ruled an accidental asphyxiation.
Amanda has shared her story and set up the organisation Benny Bears in the hope of raising awareness of SUID and the importance of the safe sleep guidelines.
'Since Ben's death, I feel it is my duty to promote safe sleep knowledge to parents', Amanda said.
'I see a lot of information out there on how to safely bed share. After losing Ben, I cannot agree with it. Science has proven time and time again that bed sharing absolutely does increase a baby's risk of SIDS or SUID.'