There are a few times when I recommend things to parents, believe all that I share with them, but I understand where they are coming from when they challenge my advice. Safe sleep practices with newborns/ infants is one example. I understand parents are exhausted. I understand that breastfeeding or any feeding is easier at 3 am when mom is in a cozy bed. I understand that nothing feels better than embracing your new baby.
But I don’t understand knowingly risking the life of your baby for these reasons. This blog is meant to be informative, not demanding. We need to be well-informed and keep our babies safe. We are always willing to sit down with you to discuss this in a nonjudgemental way - just call us. We all have the same goal of keeping your baby safe.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thirty-five hundred babies die every year from Sudden Infant Death, accidental suffocation, accidental strangulation or unexplained (ill-defined) deaths. Suffocation happens. Head injuries happen if baby rolls off the bed or chair. After the “back to sleep” campaign the number of SIDS deaths/unexplained deaths drastically decreased.
Here are some guidelines for keeping your baby safe. Please strongly consider following them. We know that your baby is your world. Be proactive in all aspects of their care, especially sleeping.
-on BACK for any sleep time, naps and nighttime (baby’s anatomy keeps baby from choking, they are highly unlikely to choke on spit ups), side sleeping can be dangerous as well despite what older generations believe
-flat surface, firm mattress
-no bumpers, wedges, stuffed animals or pillows
-no gaps between mattress and sides of bassinet or crib
-no heavy blankets, quilts- a light blanket is OK, sleep sacks are OK.
-pacifiers are protective and decrease the chance of SIDS occurring
-breastfeeding can decrease the chance of SIDS
-do not smoke around the baby
-do not allow your baby to smoke (just kidding)
-keep baby in your room on this flat mattress until 1 year old, SAME ROOM, DIFFERENT SURFACE
-do not cosleep, baby can suffocate if you roll onto them (I have seen this happen), the soft pillows and blankets can be dangerous, baby can fall off the bed, baby can wedge between bed and wall or headboard
-make sure the fitted sheet on the mattress is tight fitting
-vaccinate your baby
-avoid having your baby sleep in the swing or carseat when they are newborns with poor head and trunk control, if they bend forward or head goes to chest they can suffocate
-try not fall asleep with your newborn when you are on a couch or chair
-don’t bundle them too much. I prefer sleep sacks which are sleeveless, have a closed bottom and a zip up the front. This is better than a regular blanket which can move while they sleep. I prefer cotton over fleece, but it depends on how warm your home is.
-keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature.
Some other considerations:
Babies can get flat heads when they spend a lot of time on their back. Give them lots of tummy time when they are awake and you are watching them. It helps with their motor skills and can lessen the chance that they will have flatheads. If they do develop an abnormal head shape, we can refer you for a helmet fitting if needed.
Just a side note. Moms often tell me that they are light sleepers and will know if the baby is in danger. While there is evidence to believe moms and babies are “in sync” and moms are more responsive to their babies if they are near, this does not have to be in the same bed. We are all tired parents when we have a newborn/infant. So keep your baby near, in the same room, not the same bed. Let's be real. Our partners take up enough room. We want the rest! Trust me, most of you will someday find yourself in bed with multiple children and a partner and a dog and pillows and a quilt and some kind of kiddy fluid or maybe juice? Enjoy this time when you have a whole 25% of the bed to yourself.
We are here for you to discuss any questions at your next well child check. Remember that most of us have been there:)
Stay tuned for the next blog on the hot topic of vaccines.