Yesterday’s article on the recall of Nap Nanny® baby recliners got us thinking. The fact that so many parents out there are still placing those recliners and other sleep aids in cribs encouraged Jasmine and me to focus on safe sleep this week.
Let’s face it – as new parents, we have so many fears. Fears that baby will choke on her own vomit, fears that her acid reflux will keep her (and her weary-eyed parents) awake all night again and the worse fear of all, fear that we’ll walk in and find our baby not breathing.
That’s why the thought of having something prop up an infant while they sleep sounds so appealing. At least it did to me. And this is precisely the reason my husband and I bought a sleep positioner (similar to the Nap Nanny, also known as a “sleep wedge”).
We placed the sleep wedge in our infant’s crib, secured the two long cylinders under her arms and said good night. That same evening, I called a nurse friend to discuss some breastfeeding problems that I had been experiencing. I was so excited about the sleep positioner that I told her about it during our conversation.
She told me to immediately go upstairs and to remove the sleep positioner from my daughter’s crib. She said that as a nurse, she is on a SIDS panel and has the unfortunate task of visiting with families who have lost babies due to SIDS. And she had visited far too many families over the years whose babies had suffocated on sleep positioners/sleep aids.
Needless to say, I will be forever grateful that I had that conversation with my nurse friend that evening.
Below are some tips from “A Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep” from the American Academy of Pediatrics/Healthychildren.org on creating a safe sleep environment for your baby:
1. Place your baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet (cradles and bassinets may be used, but choose those that are JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified for safety).
2. Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free.
3. Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, or cushions.
4. Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. These items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they cover his face.
Many parents love the look and feel of plush bumpers, which is not recommended by experts. If your child is anything like mine and moves around in her sleep, you’ll want a bumper to keep her arms and legs inside the crib but doesn’t endanger her breathing. These mesh bumpershave worked beautifully for both of my babies. As the product features suggest, mesh bumpers are specifically designed to “reduce the risk of suffocation, entanglement and climbing.”
5. Breastfeed your baby. Experts recommend that mothers feed their children human milk at least through the first year of life.
Breastfed babies are at lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A study in New Zealand revealed that SIDS was THREE times higher in non-breastfed babies.
I made it to month 8 with my first daughter and have one more month to go (until a year) with my second daughter. It’s been fairly easy most of the year, but since my daughter started biting me yesterday (OUCH!), I’ll be weaning her when she turns one.
6. Always place babies to sleep on their backs during naps and at nighttime. Because babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to roll accidentally onto their stomach, the side position is not as safe as the back and is not recommended.
7. Don’t cover the heads of babies with a blanket or overbundle them in clothing and blankets.
8. Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
Since most doctors recommend that you wait until your baby is one year old to use a blanket, I have used sleep sacks with both of my babies. Since my youngest is 10 1/2 months now, I put her in a sleeper and the sleep sack goes on over the sleeper. Sleep sacks come in both cotton and fleece. I use cotton for warmer nights and fleece for cooler evenings. Babies can’t kick off sleep sacks and they keep babies nice and warm.
Since 1 in 5 SIDS deaths occur while baby is in the care of someone other than a parent, it is extremely important to discuss your child’s sleep environment with baby sitters, child care providers, family, friends, and anyone else who might care for your baby.
A Happy Baby is a Well-Rested Baby – Establishing a Bedtime Routine
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