How can I protect my baby from SIDS?
Real Mom Problem
“I am completely scared out of mind when it comes to my daughter; she's 5 months old. I always check on her in her crib to make sure she's okay, even if I have a baby monitor. I even wake up sometimes in the middle of the night because I feel like I need to check and see if she's okay. Is anyone else like this?”
- 1. SIDS is frightening, but there are ways to lower your baby's risk
- 2. Always put baby to sleep on her back, but if she rolls over on her own while sleeping, that's okay
- 3. Avoid overdressing your baby at bedtime or for naps -- she should be comfortable, not too warm
- 4. Let baby sleep with a pacifier -- studies have shown this can help reduce the risk of SIDS
Real Mom Solutions
Many new moms worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS has no clear cause and can strike otherwise healthy babies without warning. Find out what other moms do to help protect their babies from SIDS and give themselves peace of mind.
Follow Safe Sleep Guidelines
My baby's doctor told me not to co-sleep, always put baby on their back and no stuffed animals or heavy blankets. My daughter is five months and almost out of the woods since 90% of SIDS cases occur in the first 6 months of life and especially when the baby is two to four months old. Making sure you breastfeed, keeping their vaccinations up to date, and giving them a pacifier before bed are all ways to reduce the risk.
Do you co-sleep or use a bassinet? Dr. Sears is actually advocating co-sleeping to reduce SIDS risk, if you want to look into that. An air purifier or fan in room for well circulated air, and statistically babies that sleep with a pacifier have a lower incidence of SIDS death. The other main contributor to SIDS is smoking, so if you don't smoke in the home, your risk is substantially lower.
They say don't put bumpers, pillows, blankets, and sleep toys or stuffed animals in with baby at bedtime. I would put my daughter in creepers, socks, and a sleep gown. The gown had covers so you can cover the hands. I also would put a hat on her.
Keep Baby Close at Night
I had my daughter sleep in my room for the first nine and a half months, in a Pack N Play next to my bedside. It made me feel better to know she was right there. After she moved to her room I bought a video monitor, and it picks up noise so well that if I turn it up all the way I can literally hear her breathing.
It's proven that room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS by a huge percentage. It's also good for peace of mind.
Keep baby close. Their body is not mature enough to self-regulate all the time. But they breathe with you and your heart regulates theirs. If you do not feel comfortable co-sleeping, have your baby sleep next to your bed and within a few feet.
Offer Baby a Pacifier at Bedtime
All the information they gave us when our first daughter was born in 2009 said pacifiers helped reduce the chances of SIDS, so we will use one for all our kids.
Babies are supposed to sleep with their mothers and breastfeed through the night. In the absence of that a pacifier might work to reduce SIDS.
Use a Fan to Circulate Air
Running a fan while baby sleeps is supposed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Fans are fine in hot weather. It helps them. It's actually better for a baby to be a little chilly than overheated.
Try Not to Stress About SIDS
I don't believe there is anything you can do to truly prevent it. I obsessed for a few weeks too, then I realized that I was missing out on spending time with her, so I relaxed.
I still worry about my nine-month-old, especially because she has always preferred sleeping on her stomach. I used to check on her every 20 minutes. Now I force myself to do something during her naps so I don't go crazy.
I am a mom that lost her son to SIDS. No one knows what causes SIDS but recent studies say there is something that fails in the brain stem. There is no test for it but your best bet is putting baby on his back to sleep. Most of all remember to enjoy and love your baby.
All you can really do is follow the safety guidelines for preventing SIDS and reassure yourself that it is really pretty rare. If you are still feeling overwhelming anxiety over it, talk to your doctor about managing your anxiety. My doctor had a lot of suggestions that did help a lot.