All of the doctors here at Willows are parents, and we’ve all experienced the jitters and uncertainty that can be part of becoming a parent for the first time. Taking care of newborns can be nerve-racking for sure. But with a little information and good parenting practices, we can help you ensure that your little one will be healthy and happy!
That said, one of new parents’ biggest fears is often sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). That term is applied to infant deaths that cannot be explained. Another term, sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is used to describe any unexpected death from SIDS or causes such as suffocation, entrapment, arrhythmia and trauma. Today we want to address SIDS and the subset of SUIDs that occur during sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised and updated its recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep-related suffocation, asphyxia and entrapment in infants. Some, like getting regular prenatal care and voiding smoke, alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, are applicable before the baby is born. The remaining recommendations apply to infants up to one year of age and should be used consistently until your child turns one.
*All infants should be placed on their backs to sleep. (Once your baby is able to roll, he or she can remain in the sleep position they choose, but they should still be placed to sleep on their backs.)
*Use a firm, flat mattress with only a fitted sheet.
*Car seats, strollers and swings should not be used for routine sleep.
*Room sharing (in separate beds) is recommended, but bed sharing (including for twins) is not.
*Keep loose bedding and soft objects (pillows, quilts, comforters, bumper pads and blankets) out of the crib.
*Do not overdress the baby, as overheating can be a risk factor.
*Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has been proven to help provide protection against SIDS.
*Using a pacifier once breastfeeding has been established also has a protective effect. Offer a pacifier to infants at sleep times. (If it falls out, don’t worry. The protective effect from SIDS continues after it has fallen out.)
*Make sure infants are up to date on immunizations, which have a protective effect against SIDS.
*Give you baby supervised tummy time every day while he or she is awake.
*Devices such as wedges, positioners and special mattresses that are advertised to prevent SIDS are not necessary.
One other thing we’d like to mention is that you make sure you are using a new crib. As we said in a previous blog, cribs that are more than 10 years old can be dangerous and are not suitable for use.
We know that the first year of life can be a daunting—and wonderfully fulfilling!—journey for new parents. We are always here to answer your questions and to give you advice as you navigate these parental waters! So please make an appointment to discuss any concerns you might have. We look forward to seeing you and your baby soon!