When I was pregnant with Allie, I tried to read up about pregnancy and my bedside book was What To Expect When You're Expecting. I somehow stopped myself from being bombarded with too much information on the internet, because I knew it was going to drive me insane and paranoid. Living in another country with no relatives near you to ask was tough enough. Being a first-time preggy lady with unlimited access to the internet was tougher.
|That's me at Week 37|
I had read about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and it freaked me out that it might happen to mine. It scared me to death that my baby will just stop breathing at night. It was not something people warn you about. There are factors associated with SIDS like loose bedding, tummy sleeping and overheating.
Why am I telling you about SIDS and Safe Sleep? Well, because sleeping infants (usually aged one year and below) are at the highest risk for SIDS because they can easily suffocate.
Ives of Halo Philippines invited me to join their advocacy for Safe Sleep, and I happily obliged. It was something I really feel strongly about. The event was held at a local spa, Pink Me Up, at Mandaluyong City. It was a spa treat for mommies and Safe Sleep presentation in one. What could be better than that right? I'll be blogging about Pink Me Up soon, but let's get down to the more important business first. Ives did a very informative presentation which I am going to share with you.
How can we prevent SIDS?
1. Back is best. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends putting the baby to sleep on her back. Some people might tell you to have the baby lie on the tummy or side to facilitate burping or prevent choking on vomit, but this just increases the risk of SIDS. Babies sleeping on their side is very unstable and can very easily roll onto their tummies, the sleep position that is greatly associated with the highest risk for SIDS. It is very important for parents and everyone who takes care of babies to know that babies should be placed to sleep on their backs.
As for the issue of choking when babies vomit, AAP says that 'babies automatically swallow or cough up fluid if they throw up while on their backs.' It's their reflex to ensure that their airways are always open. Well, if you look at a baby's anatomy, it actually makes sense. The airway is above the esophagus when the baby is on her back.
|Image from here|
2. Keep the baby from overheating. While sleeping, try not to put hats, extra clothes, and thick blankets on the baby. Allie loves the cold. She hates blankets, hats, you name it, she takes them off.
3. Room-share not bed-share. Okay, this hits close to home. We have a king-size bed, so there is plenty of space between the three of us. We co-sleep with our baby in our bed. I found this easier for me to feed and bond with the baby. Who wants to get up at night every three hours? But had I known more information about SIDS, I would have definitely pushed for room-sharing only.
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5. No smoking. This is an obvious reason, but I had to put it here nonetheless. Never allow anyone to smoke near your baby.
6. Try to breastfeed. Studies show that breastfeeding lowers the risk for SIDS. Some mommies find it hard to breastfeed, me included, but try it for as long as you possibly can. It's good for both the mommy and the baby.
7. Use a firm mattress and tightly fitted sheets. Yes, first-time mommies, even if that cute bedding set with comforters, blankets, quilts, pillows, and bumpers from your favorite baby store tickles your fancy, don't buy it. If these things come into contact with your baby's face, it will hinder her breathing, cause suffocation or might cause overheating. So only the baby, a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet should be in the baby's sleeping area. Also, make sure that whatever you buy for your baby (like cribs) is not recalled. Check the product list from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
|Image from here|
If you worry about the baby getting cold, try using wearable blankets like the Halo SleepSack. This eliminates the risk of infants getting loose blankets over their face.
Here are other features of the Halo SleepSack.
Halo SleepSack retails at P1,300 up. A 6-8 month use translates to only 8 pesos a day. If you'd like to know more about Halo products, visit www.halophilippines.com. Soon, they will be available at leading department stores and specialty retailers.
Help spread the word about safe sleep advocacy. Like www.facebook.com/halophilippines.
Here are other resources if you'd like to know more about how to prevent SIDS:
* Infant Sleep Position and SIDS (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
* Safe Sleep for your Baby (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)