Portrait of Alain Gautier, creator of Bibed
Qualified osteopath, Alain Gautier and creator of Bibed specialises in newborns. Follow his story in this interview!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve been a qualified osteopath for 25 years specialising in pregnant women and newborns. I also give lectures and professional training in Europe on related subjects such as falling asleep, sleep, bedding, carrying positions, deformation and asymmetry of the skull (prevention and treatments), breastfeeding and bottle-feeding suckling dysfunction, parenting and maternity gestures.
I have had the immense fortune of being able to work in many fields over the course of my career: artistic, sports, teaching, therapeutics, business. I’ve very often found myself working along two themes , that of two worlds coming together and the creative potential that can be sparked by this. I love this adventure and creation.
On a more personal front, I’m married and a father to 2 young girls of 25 and 19 years of age. I have a real passion for Japan and its literature! I love to take time out to garden on our terraces.
What prompted you to design the Bibed?
The back sleeping position was recommended across the world from 1994. It enabled approximately 18,000 babies to be saved in France. However, at the time, I was seeing an increasing number of babies with plagiocephaly. I was therefore feeling really frustrated in my job as I was convinced that a very large number of these babies would not have developed a deformation if they had benefited from a suitable back sleeping position from birth!
It has been ascertained that it is not the actual position on the back that is the issue but what this exclusive position implies. For biomechanical reasons, it is practically impossible for babies to move their head for many weeks. They cannot position their head in line with their body or roll it from side to side without requiring a certain amount of effort. They therefore prefer to lay their head on one side as this is the only way for them to have greater stability, no effort and a certain level of comfort. However…
As the skull remains immobile on the same area of pressure for quite long periods (sleep and wake), it can become deformed under its own weight. A small flat area appears increasing the asymmetry at the rear of the skull thereby entering into the vicious circle of deformation and immobility. Over the years, we have ascertained that if the head is bent or blocked for fairly long periods in a lounger, on a pillow or in a cocoon, there is an increased risk of creating postpartum plagiocephaly.
What is more, the exclusive sleeping position flat on the back often gives rise to discomfort making newborns cry more. Their body is subjected to muscular tensions and mechanical stresses, there is more abdominal pressure and digestive troubles and gas are perceived as stronger, the arms and legs under their weight open abruptly which does not encourage complete relaxation conducive to falling asleep or deep sleep.
What is the principle of Bibed and its benefits for babies?
We discovered that restoring a spontaneous, free and effortless movement to the baby's head from birth was the best means of prevention to avoid the onset of postpartum plagiocephaly.
We created an ingenious support for the baby’s head. They can roll their head effortlessly both sides, they can take on multiple positions of stability and rest (even during sleep) and the impact of the gravitational forces which deform the skull, is absorbed by the support.
This system is only efficient as it combines a must-have specific shape supporting the head with a special quality of visco elastic foam.
This bedding should be used as soon as possible after the birth. As this is when the postpartum deformations come about yet they do not become visible to parents until 8 weeks.
The system of hugger cushions creates the illusion of a head that stays in line with the body. It reassures parents but is entirely inefficient as it does prevent the head from moving which is key in boosting the growth and shape of the skull.
We then bolstered our concept with the only bedding system specially designed and adapted to the back sleeping position. It is more than just a simple bedding system as for a few months it contributes to baby's sound development.
Our best ambassadors are the parents who were lucky enough to use Bibed. They enthusiastically pass it on to their parent-to-be friends as they can vouch for the quality and utility of their gift.
Thanks to its complex and original architecture, Bibed ensures each part of the body is specifically positioned according to specific mechanical and physiological objectives.
- Bibed has a 12% tilt: it prevent refluxes and allows babies to have unobstructed airways
- it prevent risks of a flat head thanks to its special cut out and memory foam
- it improves quality of falling asleep and sleep due to its wrapping design which reassures babies
The period of use does appear to be short however "this wonderful stage in life" of a few months just after the birth is an important transition period for the whole family and I'm really proud to have designed Bibed to improve the comfort of babies, their living conditions and that of their parents too!
Do you have any projects for 2016?
Keeping to the world of parenting, I would like to finalise two babycare objects that are dear to me which I'm currently experimenting with and am fine tuning on a daily basis in my practice with the parents. These objects are meant to be useful, adapted and ever centred on improving babies’ functions.
With an educational objective in mind, we are also in the process of producing a series of videos on the information and original methods we can provide to parents to prevent certain forms of plagiocephaly, improve falling asleep and sleep and improve breastfeeding and bottle-feeding suckling to reduce the gases that disrupt all babies' functions.
Why did you choose to work with Babymoov?
Two years ago when Babymoov contacted us, we were won over by the enthusiasm their team had for Bibed. They had already worked on and designed a range of products with the emphasis on sleep and comfort of babies. Bided was therefore the perfect addition to this collection. Our goal was and still is to contribute to and develop excellence in French babycare products with the emphasis on babies' needs. We are believers in French-made products. We were looking for a European-scale distributor eager to commit to this way of working. With this partner, we are convinced that Bibed will become the new bedding benchmark for newborns in France and internationally.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Of course! I would like to salute Mrs. Soraya Durantet who is behind this world plagiocephaly day. This young mother whose baby had plagiocephaly has spent a huge amount of energy on seeking out reliable information and sharing it with as many as possible.
I would like to thank my whole team, the 900 odd osteopaths and various healthcare professionals who use Bibed, who recognise the quality of its postpartum plagiocephaly prevention system and the benefit of special, safe bedding that is suitable for lying on the back.