With so much to worry about regarding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome what can you practically do to minimize the risks?
In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics expanded their recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Here are some to consider:
1. Babies must always be put down to sleep on their backs. Even babies with reflux who might be settled to sleep on their sides, must then be put on their backs to sleep. Until babies have the ability to confidently (not accidentally) roll from their back to their tummy and back again, always put them on their backs. When they do get to rolling, keep all toys, pillows, bumpers and loose blankets out of the cot. A small hanky-sized lovey that is breatheable might be introduced after 6 months.
2. Use a firm, flat surface for infant sleep. It is not suitable to leave a baby sleeping in a sitting position for long periods of time. If the baby has fallen asleep in a car capsule, pram or carrier/sling, place them on a flat, firm, safe sleeping surface as soon as possible. There should be nothing in the cot with the baby to avoid entanglement or suffocation.
3. Room share. Room sharing has been shown to give you all the benefits of bed sharing without the risk. For the first six months, use a bassinet or small cot in your room for your baby's sleep. You will find that your sleep cycles will begin to sync and you will be in tune with your infant's needs.
4. Breastfeeding. While your baby can thrive and experience your love and nurturing while being fed formula, studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
5. Do not bed share. You may have friends that swear by this method of night time sleeps. The reality is that there are so many variables that make this a potentially dangerous scenario that it is not foreseeable that the American Academy of Pediatrics will ever change their minds on this issue. Here are some absolute situations when bed sharing should not be an option for your family:
• Your baby is younger than 4 months old.
• Your baby was born prematurely or with low birth weight.
• You or any other person in the bed is a smoker (even if you do not smoke in bed).
• The mother of the baby smoked during pregnancy.
• You have taken any medicines or drugs that might make it harder for you to wake up.
• You drank any alcohol.
• You are not the baby's parent.
• The surface is soft, such as a waterbed, old mattress, sofa, couch, or armchair.
• There is soft bedding like pillows or blankets on the bed.
*(see link at bottom of this post)
6. Swaddling is safe as long as the baby is lying flat on its back and the swaddle is loose enough that the baby can breathe and move its hips.
For more visit: www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx
To discuss with a parent coach regarding whether or not your current sleep practices are safe, contact Cradle 2 Kindy Parenting Solutions to come up with a safe sleep plan for your family.