Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Drive To Be a Perfect Parent: Part One - SIDS

Lets take a look at the American SIDS Institutes recommendations for reducing the risks of SIDS, then I'll explain the purpose of this post.

1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.
3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.
4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair.
5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.
6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.
8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).
9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers.
10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.
11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.
12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.

*Emphasis is mine.
I want to discuss with you the current trends in parenting and how they relate to these recommendation. So lets break down the parts I highlighted.

- Sleeping on back - verse sleeping on the sides or tummy. I've been there. When the baby is crying and you've tried everything you can to get them comfortable to sleep. Including placing them on the sides, and the tummy. But if you choose do that, you should know, you've raised the risk for SIDS.

- Nothing in bed with baby- This includes all those pretty bed sets you just got at your baby shower. Those ones you've been drooling over and raving about. Yup, those ones. I know what you're thinking...'If they were that dangerous, they wouldn't be for sale.' But really, use your head on this one, they sale bleach and it's dangerous. They also sale rat poison, which is also dangerous. Don't count on the FDA, or other such organizations to keep you safe. Or your children, for that matter.

-Keep infant in parents room- "But I can't sleep, the baby keeps me up."  It's what they are supposed to do, its the instincts of a parent coming out in you. It's not something to be upset about, or feel righteous about either. How else are they going to get the nurturing, comfort and care they need? Oh, can have them in their own room. It's being done more and more these days. But have you noticed the interesting trend of parents not parenting and doing what they should? I have.

-Don't over cloth a baby for sleep- I know it's winter, and it's cold. You're chilled, so the baby should be too right? Well, in a way. A baby should only be clothed one layer more than Mom and Dad. One doesn't need a parka to sleep, my friends. :)

- Breastfeeding greatly reduces the risks of SIDS-  Oh, I know this is a huge topic for Mommy Wars, right here. But hear me out. Of all the recommendations, this one is the biggest reducer of SIDS. So wouldn't it make sense that you'd try your darnedest to accomplish this?

- Pacifier use- Pacifiers help the baby to stay in a state of sleep that isn't so deep that it can't awaken itself. There is some research in this vein to support this, as well as seeking to expound on the level of awakeness.

-Baby stops breathing, or starts gagging after eating- This reminds me of colic and my son. Always be attentive of your babies eating, swallowing and breathing. Any change is worthy of calling or going to his/her pediatrician.

I take away from this information this one basic thought. Don't be SO hands off that you don't notice the signs of danger, or the tale tale signs of failure to thrive. Don't leave the safety of your precious bundle of joy, to the wind. Educate yourself, be honest and take the advice of parents who've learned this before you. I wouldn't want anyone else to be a statistic like my husband, my son and I now are.

Above all, parents. Listen to your instincts as a mother or father. They ARE there for great reasons. To protect and nurture the child you've created together. Seek anything that allows you to know your child, care for your child. Lets' not be so clinical in our approach to their care. They have everything to lose if you do this. Loosing sleep is part of the job of being a parent. You don't want to end up one day experiencing something like SIDS, suffocation, detachment, and more.

What SIDS is NOT:

External suffocation, caused by vomiting and choking, contagious, cause pain or suffering, predicted, or new. Source.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave them in the comments below the post! Thank you


Other Sources:

Second Hand Smoke



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