As first-time parents we were determined to be as knowledgeable as possible with all things baby. What we learned is that babies’ bodies go through a lot of changes during their first year. Growth spurts, eating changes, and A LOT of stinky diapers. During our research, we came across Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 and 12 months in the country. To date, nobody really knows the specifics of how SIDS happens, but rather ways to reduce the risks. We decided it’s better to be safe than sorry. So we had to know more about how to provide proper care for our kids to reduce the risk.
With the help of our amazing pediatrician and the various topics discussed on Safe to Sleep®’s website (https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov), we found some strategies to help keep our babies safe while sleeping;
Quite possibly the biggest rule we adopted was no bedsharing. This was also probably one of the most difficult as who wouldn’t want to snuggle their baby each night? But the truth is, babies are not supposed to sleep on an adult bed. Having a separate sleep area for babies reduces the risk of SIDS and the chances of suffocation and strangulation. We also avoided placing them on any soft surfaces such as the couch, sofa, pillow, quilt, sheepskin, or blanket. Instead we created a firm and flat sleep surface in which they could be fully supported. They aren’t ready for the SleepNumber beds yet, but this was close enough 😉. This was simply a mattress in a safety-approved crib , covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleeping area.
Back Sleep Position
One other eye-opener we realized is that up until the kids reach a year old, they should maintain the back-sleep position. This sleeping position is the safest position to reduce the risk of SIDS for all babies until they are at least a year old. This was a bit difficult as both of our kids were born prematurely and during their time in the NICU, the nurses would often put them on their stomach to sleep. So once they came home, we had to work on getting them used to the new positon.
Tips To Reduce
Pacifiers are one of those things where your child either loves them or hates them. Well both of our kids loved them. So while using them is perfectly fine, we had to be careful of they were located while they slept. Pacifiers should not to be attached to anything like clothing, a stuffed toy, or their blankets while babies are sleeping.
We are not one to judge any habits, but smoking was also one thing we found that could increase the risk of SIDS. We personally don’t smoke, so we would always be conscious of any of our friends who did and their level of interaction with the babies. A smoke-free environment has the dual benefit of healthy lung development and reducing the risk of SIDS.
Lastly was always making sure they were didn’t get too hot during sleep by overbundling them. I know you are thinking “How can I tell if they are overheating?” Great question! Signs of overheating include baby’s chest feeling hot to the touch, or breathing fast, or baby sweating.
Overall this experience taught us that SIDS is a very real thing, BUT there are a lot of ways to reduce the risk of it happening. Be sure to check out https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov for more information on how you can be sure your baby is getting the safest sleep possible.