SIDS Awareness: Why Safe Sleep Matters

Cute baby sleeping on her back inside her crib.

SIDS Awareness: Why Safe Sleep Matters

As a parent, you’re going to worry. You’ll worry about concrete things like whether your baby has gotten enough to eat. Or if your toddler is warm enough without a jacket. You’ll worry about abstract things like if your child is happy. Or whether they’ll always “do the right thing.” And you’re going to worry about sleep. Especially when they are a newborn, you’re going to worry about sleep. It’s kind of ironic but some the biggest worries during the newborn stage are likely to occur when your baby isn’t crying and is actually sleeping peacefully.

But the anxiety is based in some reality. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a terrifying reality that impacts over a thousand American families per year. While SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies under 1 year of age, most SIDS deaths (90%) occur in babies under 6 months of age.

There are many unknowns about SIDS. This is part of the reason why it is so frightening. But the truth is, there are many things parents can do to help prevent SIDS both during the highest-risk period and beyond.

Following Safe Sleep Guidelines:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are several things you can do to ensure your baby is sleeping as safely as possible. 

  • Place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Ensure a firm, flat sleep surface
  • No loose bedding, soft objects, toys, or bumpers in the crib
  • Avoid the use of commercial devices inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations (only things labeled as a “crib,” “bassinet,” or “play yard” are approved for safe sleep)
  • Keep the bedroom/nursery temperature between 68°-72°F to allow for temperature regulation
  • Do not allow smoke around your baby
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But more than sharing what you can do to promote safe sleep, I want to tell you why safe sleep is so important. Knowledge is power and I truly believe that when we know better, we’ll do better!

Why Safe Sleep Habits Matter:

Suffocation

Putting babies to sleep on their tummies, with blankets surrounding them, or even snuggled in a positioner-type “nest” can put your newborn at risk for suffocation. Stuffed animals, bumpers, and soft blankets certainly do make cribs look warm and cozy. But as boring as it sounds, a firm, flat mattress is the best and safest option for your little one. Infants can get tangled up in blankets and loose bedding and can have their airways blocked. When they are very little and not strong enough to free themselves on their own, anything extra in the crib poses a suffocation risk.

Note: When placing your baby to sleep in their crib or bassinet, you should always be placing them on their back. However, once your baby is able to roll both ways independently, most pediatricians agree that if they roll to their tummy, they are okay to stay there. Run it by your provider first!

Positional Asphyxiation

Sleeping on a firm, flat surface may not seem like a big deal. But when babies are placed to sleep at an incline, it can put them at risk for something called positional asphyxiation. Because babies’ heads are so large and heavy compared to the rest of their body, they are likely to flop forward when their bodies relax into sleep. Babies’ tracheas are also very small and this along with their lack of muscle strength and inability to control their head and neck, can cause their airways to become blocked very easily. If you are looking for an alternative place to nap your baby outside of their nighttime sleep space, I would recommend a portable bassinet or play yard. Both of which are safe and approved for sleep.

READ MORE
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Carbon Dioxide Rebreathing

The concept of “carbon dioxide rebreathing” is why even things marketed as “breathable” are still not safe to use in your baby’s crib, your bed, or for any sleep situation. What many people don’t realize is that experts believe that carbon dioxide rebreathing is highly linked to SIDS. As your baby breaths in oxygen, they breathe out carbon dioxide. If their face is too close to fabric (like the side of a positioner or a bumper in the crib), that little space begins to fill with carbon dioxide which they will begin to inhale more than oxygen. This is also why it’s important to only have a firm mattress in your baby’s crib; softer materials like memory foam can create tiny air pockets that can increase the chances of carbon dioxide rebreathing.

Why Safe Sleep Matters to Me, Personally:

Safe sleep is a nonnegotiable in my book. I’m all for “you do you” when it comes to most things parenting; whether or not you want to have a medicated or unmedicated birth, breastfeed or formula feed, work in or out of the home, or even how you choose to discipline. But when it comes to sleep, I feel obligated to speak up about unsafe sleep practices. Please know, this does not come from a place of judgment or shame; it is my JOB to educate families on how to sleep safely because, frankly, lives depend on it!

When you’re in the throes of exhaustion, it can be very easy to rely on any variety of the devices and apparatuses that promise to help your baby sleep well. It can be tempting to bring your baby into bed with you at 3 a.m. Especially if they just won’t fall asleep after a feeding. Or to strap them into a swing because you know it can buy you an extra hour or two before they wake up again. Unfortunately, you now know that these are not safe sleep practices. And as parents we have enough to worry about to spend time stressing about our babies’ safety when they’re sleeping. It is possible for your child to sleep well and safely. And if you need any help, sleep coaches (like me) can help you achieve this. You are not alone.

READ MORE
Safe Sleep: When Can Baby Sleep on his Tummy?
About the Author /

Jamie is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Coach and owner of Oh Baby Consulting where she offers personalized, gentle sleep solutions to exhausted families nationwide. With a background in child development and infant mental health, she keeps up to date on the latest evolutions in the field which allows her to blend technical knowledge with empathy and compassion to tailor the support she provides.

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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17863413055589017 When they wake up in the morning and give you that big grin . . . 😍 There is nothing sweeter.⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17974795027288980 Was he dreaming he was riding a bike last night escaping from wild animals?! OUCH! 🤕🚲⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17866776847554303 Above all else, let us teach them to be kind. 💗⁠
(quote: @mommywinetime)⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
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Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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#placenta #lotusbirth #homebirth #midwife #midwifery #phsiologicThirdStage #delayedcordclamping #optimalcordclamping #waitforwhite #whatstherush #postpartum #birth #laboranddelivery #babychick #mommychick
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
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Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #gratitude #thankful #mumlife #mommylife #mommychick #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #thanksgiving #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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