There’s no way around it – many new parents will find themselves worrying about SIDS.
The choices we make as parents have to work for your family. Personally, when I had my son Max, he was in his own nursery from night one. Space wise, we didn’t have enough room for a Pack-n-Play and in speaking with his pediatrician, she suggested that a crib, free from all toys and blankets was a great and safe choice. We had a video monitor and could hear every wiggle he made in his sleep overnight.
Many parents I work with tell me they stare at their baby next to them or at the monitor so much that they don’t sleep a wink, even when the baby is, and that’s not safe or good for a new mothers mental state and balance. The challenge is that mothers get so drained both emotionally and physically that they open up other risks that are associated with their own sleep deprivation. (Drowsy driving with a baby in the car…. not good.)
Although SIDS is very frightening, I ensured our baby was in a cool environment, with no blankets, bumpers, or ‘stuff’ that was a hazard. I was forced to wake up through the night to nurse him, and forced to leave my room, go to him and then place him back down in that safe space before pumping or shuffling back to my bed for a few more hours of shut-eye. So as a new mom, I felt confident in how I was protecting him against SIDS to the best of my ability.
What exactly is SIDS?
SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a mysterious phenomenon among otherwise healthy infants (typically between 0-6 months) when they pass in their sleep with no obvious medical explanation. It is rare and impacts about 2,000 children here in the US annually. Although it is rare, no one wants to be 1 of those 2,000 affected, so I wanted to take a few minutes to explain what you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS, based on the evidence and research that has been gathered to date.
Back is Best, so put your baby on their back to sleep.
According to research, this is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent the risk of SIDS by 50% according to the National Institute of Health.
Ensure a healthy pregnancy.
A potential factor can be low birth weight and premature birth. Since these conditions are difficult to prevent, it is important to have good diet and exercise balance, a solid routine of sleep overnight and minimize stress during pregnancy. I recommend picking up a Zenimal even before the baby comes, as a great way to calm your mind, find breath and relax, even with this sweet device designed for kids.
Avoid smoking while pregnant or smoke around the baby.
Exposing babies to cigarette smoke can directly increase their risk of SIDS and not to mention, it’s not a healthy habit for you, and you want to be around to see your grandkids.
Create a secure sleeping environment.
Your baby should not be sleeping on soft bedding, propped up on any apparatus or ‘in’ any sort of swing, doc a baby type of apparatus or beanbag type of chair. You want to avoid anything that is not hard and flat, anything else can cause accidental smothering or suffocation. No one ‘thinks’ that will happen to their baby until it does. A baby does not have the neck strength to support to lift their head up, should they get into a compromising position, and it can impact their ability to breathe.
Does Co-Sleeping Increase the Risk of a Baby Dying from SIDS?
Research on this topic is mixed, with Google, you can validate any point or perspective. In my opinion, the safest environment for your baby is the bassinet or crib. If you want them in your room, great, slide that bassinet up next to your bed, so you are not tempted to co-sleep. This not only promotes the baby’s healthy and independent sleep habits but also eliminates the possible dangers of co-sleeping.
There are always people who reach out and tell me how amazing co-sleeping is working for them, how they have set it up, etc. Awesome, if it’s working for your family, you do you. As mentioned before, SIDS is already a very rare condition, but implementing these procedures will help both you and your baby sleep worry-free at night.
If you are struggling with sleep in your home remember, join me out in my Slumber Made Simple Facebook group. It’s free and I go live each week with training, education and support for tired parents around the world. Plus, we offer Free Sleep Before & After calls, so you can learn what a Sleep Consultant or Baby Sleep Coach does and how working with us can help you, if that’s the right choice for your family.
Courtney Zentz is an Award-Winning Author, Baby Sleep Expert and Founder of Tiny Transitions. Her background as a Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula and Sleep Coach to her team of Sleep Consultants around the world provides parents with a solution to their sleep struggles, that is backed by science and balanced with your love and support.
The mission of Tiny Transitions is to teach healthy sleep hygiene and parenting education to parents and their babies, toddlers and young adults who struggle to sleep through private sleep consultations and corporate speaking engagements to support everyone being the best version of themselves.
Named by Tuck as a Top 200 Sleep Professional in the United States, Courtney is a 4x “Best of Philadelphia” Sleep Consultant. She is on the Pediatric Sleep Council at Purple and writes & contributes to NBC ,Fatherly, Yahoo, Thrive Global, Medium, Romper, Parentology, The Sleep Sense Show, and Bustle among others in the field of Pediatric Sleep.
Courtney hosts The Kids Sleep Show podcast, and is a frequent guest with companies like Slumber Pod® and The Magic Sleep Suit® Company. Courtney resides just outside Philadelphia, with her husband Adam and two children, Max and Sovella. She has always felt passionate about making sleep & healthy living a priority in her family’s life and Tiny Transitions looks forward to working with you. Setup a Free Preliminary Sleep Evaluation with Courtney or a member of her Slumber Squad®.