12 Key Ways to Decrease Your Infant’s Risk of a Sleep Related Death

Fingers Of Newborn BabyAs I was standing in Pottery Barn Kids innocently looking at crib sheets, I overheard the lady behind me who was purchasing a gift ask the sales clerk, “Are you really supposed to use bumper pads? I thought that they weren’t safe.”  To my dismay, the sales associated responded, “Oh, I think it is really up to you. They should be safe; otherwise, we wouldn’t sell them. And, they keep babies from getting their legs and arms stuck in the cribs.” The family physician and public health specialist in me was fuming! I wanted to correct her. I wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to grab the bumper pad from her hands and say, “Don’t buy it!” I debated with myself for just a little bit too long. I didn’t want to sound rude or all-knowing, but I wanted her to know that bumpers can contribute to Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). By the time I had built up the courage to add my two cents, the purchase had been made, and the innocent gift giver was out the door.Cute Baby At Hands Of The Mother In An Embrace, Monochrome

Every décor savvy mom longs for a beautiful bumper to complete her infant’s crib. Well, keep on longing! I have created a beautiful nursery for our daughter…bumper free. It sounds cliché, but “SAFTEY FIRST” should be every mom’s motto. Let’s review the updated recommendations to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. If you are already following them, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, then now is the time to start.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are deaths that occur suddenly, and unexpectedly in infants under one year of age. These deaths do not have an immediately obvious cause. But, after investigation, most of them fall into one of three main categories: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed, and unknown cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4,000 infants die each year in the United States from SUID, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the third leading cause of all deaths for infants.Newborn Beautiful Baby Sleeping

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations on safe sleep environments for infants in an effort to reduce SIDS and sleep related deaths. Here is a breakdown of the key recommendations, but be sure to look at the hyperlinks in this article for more detailed information.

  1. Infants should be placed on their BACK every time they sleep
  2. Use a firm sleep surface-a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet
  3. Keep your infant in your room, but not in your bed (this can reduced SIDS risk by 50%!!!)
  4. Keep soft bedding and loose objects out of the crib (no stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or BUMPER PADS)-there is no evidence to say that bumper pads prevent injury, they do, however, raise the risk for suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment according to the AAP. Sleep sacks are great to use instead of blankets. They keep the baby warm without the risk of suffocation.
  5. Avoid infant smoke exposure during pregnancy and after the infant is born.
  6. Breastfeed if possible for at least the first 6 months
  7. Offer a pacifier at naps and bedtime. Even if it falls out, its use has been linked with SIDS prevention.
  8. Avoid Overheating-Don’t over-bundle your infant for sleep
  9. Immunize your infant
  10. Avoid devices sold to “prevent” SIDS, including positioners. These are not considered safe.
  11. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors to prevent SIDS. These have not been found to lower the risk.
  12. Make sure to incorporate supervised awake tummy time for your infant. This helps strengthen neck muscles.Mother Father And Baby Feet Under Blanket

Although this may seem like a long list, most of you are already complying with many of these recommendations. They aren’t always convenient, or baby décor conscious, but what could be more important than your infant’s safety? Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are not all that “common”. But, if SUID only stole one infant’s life each year instead of 4,000, and that life was your child’s….? Don’t tempt fate. Protect your child. Reduce their risk of SUID.

From The Mom in Me, MD

Get Your Baby Out of Your Bed: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Update!

Co-sleeping has gained popularity over the years. Cuddling and snuggling…doesn’t that offer the greatest sense of security for your baby? Yes, but not in your bed! A recent study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, confirms that the highest risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants three months and younger is bed-sharing. While this doesn’t erase the risk of SIDS from co-sleeping for older infants, it does help moms realize that sleep environment safety is of the utmost importance from day one.Baby Sleeping With Mother

Unfortunately, day one is when bed sharing is the most attractive. Your cuddly newborn longs to be held, snuggled, and fed constantly. And, while napping in bed with your infant may make nursing more convenient…it’s just too risky. Trust me, I know how exhausting nursing a newborn can be! Co-sleeping does let moms get just a little extra shut-eye at night, and in a sleep deprived world, every extra moment of sleep counts! But, moments matter for your infant as well. It only takes a moment for your child to become a victim of SIDS or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS). That is a moment that you NEVER want to encounter!Fingers Of Newborn Baby

Having had a preemie, I know more than many moms about kangaroo care. For nine weeks in the NICU all that I did was Kangaroo my baby (Okay, I did a little more than that according to the breast pump and stock piled freezer and fridge). Even after we made it home, I continued to Kangaroo for months. There is definitely evidence to say that skin to skin and close contact with an infant is imperative for their mental and physical wellbeing-from heart rate and breathing regulation to increased oxygenation and bonding. And, while I’m an advocate for kangaroo care, I’m also an advocate for SIDS and SUIDS prevention. Doing what is safest for an infant is always what is best in the short-term and long-term. While there may be validity to the benefits of co-sleeping/bed-sharing, these benefits don’t out weigh the risk of death from SIDS and SUIDS.Newborn Beautiful Baby Sleeping

Every mom wants to do what is best for her infant, and creating a special bond between baby and mommy is definitely BEST!  Ensuring INFANT SAFETY is also BEST! So…what’s a mom to do? Here are some SAFE ways to bond with your infant (note…co-sleeping/bed-sharing doesn’t make the cut!)

1. Take the time to snuggle your baby during the day (or, if you are working, snuggle in the evening)Mother Playing With Her Baby Boy Son On Bed

2.  Let your infant sleep on your chest…while you are awake. You can do this in bed or in a recliner as long as you are awake and aware of your baby’s position.

3.  Incorporate Kangaroo Care (skin to skin contact) into your routine. Strip your baby down to his/her diaper and either take off your shirt or use an open, button-down shirt. Place the baby directly on your chest and then cover over with a blanket. Enjoy the special bond that skin to skin contact can bring. (If you are breast-feeding you may even notice that you have a milk let-down. If you have trouble with let-downs Kangarooing would be great to try before feedings)Young Mother Breastfeeding A Baby In Nature

4. Carry your baby in an infant carrier such as a Moby or Ergo when you are up and about. This will allow your baby to enjoy your sense of closeness while allowing you to get things done around the house (who am I kidding! REVISION…while it allows you to wash pumping equipment, bottles, and pacifiers that the dog stole)Happy Mother Breast Feeding Her Baby Infant

5. Sing to your baby even if you have a horrible voice! If it is truly horrific…talk to your baby in soothing tones. Your baby was used to hearing your voice before delivery. Hearing you now will bring your baby a sense of security and calm. If you can’t think of what to say, reading a book to your infant is another great way to engage and bond. It’s also great for your child’s language development.

6. Massage your infant. Massage has been found to have a relaxing effect on infants. Its benefits have even made it a part of many NICU’s occupational therapy sessions for preemies. In addition to providing relaxation, infant massage can help with constipation and gas! It also helps prevent the newborn (especially preemies) from being hypersensitive to touch and can even enhance a baby’s immune system.

7. Play with your baby. While this may sound trivial or like a no-brainer, play time with your infant  creates an important bond. Letting your infant see you smile, laugh, tease, and tickle will enhance your infant’s sense of security and love. You may even be rewarded with a squeal!Beautiful Mother And Baby outdoors. Nature. Beauty Mum and her C

While these are just a few ideas to promote infant and mommy bonding, take the time to find other safe and fun ways to create special connections with your baby. While co-sleeping/bed-sharing may have its benefits, err on the side of caution. The bond that co-sleeping brings isn’t worth the risk of SIDS or SUIDS. Don’t be a mom with regrets!Mother Father And Baby Feet Under Blanket

From The Mom in Me, MD

 

Bumper Be Gone: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Update!

Fingers Of Newborn BabyAs I was standing in Pottery Barn Kids innocently looking at crib sheets, I overheard the lady behind me who was purchasing a gift ask the sales clerk, “Are you really supposed to use bumper pads? I thought that they weren’t safe.”  To my dismay, the sales associated responded, “Oh, I think it is really up to you. They should be safe; otherwise, we wouldn’t sell them. And, they keep babies from getting their legs and arms stuck in the cribs.” The family physician and public health specialist in me was fuming! I wanted to correct her. I wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to grab the bumper pad from her hands and say, “Don’t buy it!” I debated with myself for just a little bit too long. I didn’t want to sound rude or all-knowing, but I wanted her to know that bumpers can contribute to Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). By the time I had built up the courage to add my two cents, the purchase had been made, and the innocent gift giver was out the door.

Every décor savvy mom longs for a beautiful bumper to complete her infant’s crib. Well, keep on longing! I have created a beautiful nursery for our daughter…bumper free. It sounds cliché, but “SAFTEY FIRST” should be every mom’s motto. Let’s review the updated recommendations to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. If you are already following them, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, then now is the time to start.The first steps of the kid

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are deaths that occur suddenly, and unexpectedly in infants under one year of age. These deaths do not have an immediately obvious cause. But, after investigation, most of them fall into one of three main categories: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed, and unknown cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4,000 infants die each year in the United States from SUID, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the third leading cause of all deaths for infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations on safe sleep environments for infants in an effort to reduce SIDS and sleep related deaths. Here is a breakdown of the key recommendations, but be sure to look at the hyperlinks in this article for more detailed information.

  1. Infants should be placed on their BACK every time they sleep
  2. Use a firm sleep surface-a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet
  3. Keep your infant in your room, but not in your bed (this can reduced SIDS risk by 50%!!!)
  4. Keep soft bedding and loose objects out of the crib (no stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or BUMPER PADS)-there is no evidence to say that bumper pads prevent injury, they do, however, raise the risk for suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment according to the AAP. Sleep sacks are great to use instead of blankets. They keep the baby warm without the risk of suffocation.
  5. Avoid infant smoke exposure during pregnancy and after the infant is born.
  6. Breastfeed if possible for at least the first 6 months
  7. Offer a pacifier at naps and bedtime. Even if it falls out, its use has been linked with SIDS prevention.
  8. Avoid Overheating-Don’t over-bundle your infant for sleep
  9. Immunize your infant
  10. Avoid devices sold to “prevent” SIDS, including positioners. These are not considered safe.
  11. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors to prevent SIDS. These have not been found to lower the risk.
  12. Make sure to incorporate supervised awake tummy time for your infant. This helps strengthen neck muscles.Mother Reading  Book Baby In Bed Before Going To Sleep

Although this may seem like a long list, most of you are already complying with many of these recommendations. They aren’t always convenient, or baby décor conscious, but what could be more important than your infant’s safety? Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are not all that “common”. But, if SUID only stole one infant’s life each year instead of 4,000, and that life was your child’s….? Don’t tempt fate. Protect your child. Reduce their risk of SUID.

From The Mom in Me, MD