A coroner has warned mothers of the dangers of sleeping with their babies after a woman broke down while telling a Sydney inquest how she woke to find her nine-day-old girl dead in her arms.
Jamie-Lee Signato described how she found her baby Jaylea Thompson blue in the face and unresponsive at around 6am on January 14, 2011.
Jaylea was cradled in Ms Signato's right arm as they slept together on a couch, having woken together at 5.30am for a feed.
Jaylea was pronounced dead at Nepean Hospital after Ms Signato woke to find her not breathing.
At an inquest into her death on Thursday at Sydney's Glebe Coroners Court, Deputy State Coroner Sharon Freund found Jaylea's cause of death was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
She also said Jaylea may have died due to accidental asphyxiation as a result of being held in the crook of her mother's right arm as they slept together throughout the night.
"There is no doubt that mothers of newborn babies are extremely tired and function with little sleep, and take whatever opportunity they can to get that sleep," she said.
"But it is now well known that the risk of co-sleeping with your infant can lead to the really serious consequence of asphyxiation."
Ms Signato broke down as she described to the court the moment she woke up and started screaming when she found her baby not breathing.
"I just screamed ... She was blue."
Ms Signato described how Jaylea had been unsettled, wasn't feeding and had vomited "orangey" liquid throughout the night.
She said a check-up a day before Jaylea's death found her head had grown 3cm in eight days and her heart rate had dropped.
"It was too hot to put her down in the heat," Ms Signato said.
"We were sleeping in the lounge room with the air conditioning on."
Ms Signato wept in the gallery when the coroner gave her formal findings and recommendation.
Ms Freund recommended a NSW Department of Health notice warning mothers of the dangers of co-sleeping with their baby be reissued.
Read the current guidelines on sleeping with a baby in the SIDS and Kids downloadable PDF.