I remember being terrified when we brought our first son home from the hospital. We took the newborn classes, read the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and talked with family and friends about what it’ll be like to bring a child. We prepared as much as we could, but nothing prepared us for those first few weeks at home. We were in total shock and had no idea what we were doing. Everything in our house seemed like a hazard and I remember being constantly worried I was going to drop him.
My brain was mush from lack of sleep, but still constantly flew through ways I might accidentally hurt this baby. Sleep in general was a big point of anxiety as a new parent. In all the classes we took sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) always came up. SIDS is the unexplained death of a healthy baby less than a year old, usually while sleeping.
Luckily, professionals have done ample amounts of research and there are many ways to mitigate SIDS risk.
Back is best!
For many years people were told that laying their baby on their stomachs to sleep was best. We know now that the risk for SIDS is much higher if you do this. Your baby won’t have control over their head and neck muscles for a few months so it is unsafe for babies to sleep on their stomach. Always lay your baby on their back until they can roll over!
Set up a safe sleep environment!
Make sure baby’s crib is as simple as possible. Babies can get caught in loose blankets, stuffed animals or crib bumpers which increase the risk of SIDS. When preparing baby’s crib follow Charmin’s lead: less is more. A firm mattress, sheet, sleep sack and an infant pacifier are all a baby needs!
Keep baby close, but not too close.
It is recommended by Mayo Clinic to have your baby sleep in your room for at least 6 months and even preferred if they can stay in your room for up to a year. However, it is important that baby has their own crib or bassinet because baby can get trapped or suffocate if in an adult bed.
Offer your baby a infant pacifier!
Giving baby an newborn pacifier at nap or bedtime helps reduce the risk of SIDS!
Breastfeed your baby if possible!
There are a variety of reasons why breastfeeding may or may not be the right choice for you and your baby. It can be difficult, tiring, stressful and sometimes it just doesn’t work. There is absolutely no mom shaming here! Fed is best, so always go with your gut and do what is best for you and your baby. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you are able to breastfeed, it is definitely worth it because it lowers the risk of SIDS for up to 6 months!
Get your baby vaccinated!
According to Mayo Clinic, there is no evidence that routine immunizations cause SIDS, but there is evidence that some vaccinations can reduce the risk.