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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Safe Baby Sleeping Tips (and the difference between suffocation and SIDS)

I feel 100% compelled to right this post as my background is in early childhood and then having worked in numerous infant preschool rooms before having my own kids, I really cant imagine not sharing what I know-- especially when I see so many people break safety sleeping rules. First of all, there is a difference between SIDS and a baby suffocating. I am a firm believer that SIDS just can't be prevented-- its a dangerous and mysterious thing that happens to a little one and only God knows why when you get right down to it. My heart goes out to parents who have experienced a loss like this-- I can't even imagine. Suffocation on the other hand can and should be prevented. Here are my tips on safe baby sleeping: 1. No matter how cute that bumper is, dont buy it. The baby getting a little bump on their head is far more preferable to rolling under and suffocating or choking to death. These are not even allowed in most daycares and should be forbidden to be sold in stores. I hate, hate, hate seeing bumpers on cribs! End of story! Also, I see them in there still with older babies-- this is dangerous because anything baby can use to stand on and help themselves out of crib is a no-no. 2. Skip using a baby mobile as well. They are only allowed in crib till baby can sit, so why even bother with it? I know some of them now come with shorter cords, but again, why bother? These are a strangalation hazard and it irks me that these are still sold as well and so many people disregard the warnings. 3. Stuffed animals-- the crib is for the baby-- not the animals! The only thing that should be in the crib is the baby. Stuffed animals are a breeding ground for germs (are you washing them every week with crib sheet?), suffocation hazard for small infants, and something to be used as a standing prop for older children. When our babies are 4 months old we give them a beanie baby sized lovie to sleep with. Once they are asleep, we take it out. As they get older, we let them keep this one lovie in their crib, but move it away from their face while they sleep. I dont care if aunt Sally Jane gave them the cutest sweetest bear ever-- put it on a shelf or in a toy box- NOT in the crib. 4. Lets talk bedding-- you only need a crib sheet and a sleep sac. I love sleep sacs to pieces! Seriously, the inventor of these fabulous items deserves a gold medal! We use thermal blankets for swaddling newborns for maybe the first two weeks and then right on to sleep sacs. I won't use crochet or knit blankets with infants either for fear that their fingers will catch in holes and they'll pull them up over their heads and suffocate-- better to be safe then sorry. 5. Take off the Bibs and Bows! It drives me crazy when I see a sleeping baby with their hair bow still around their head-- it can slide right down and poses a choking hazard and as for bibs-- if the baby rolls just the right way, its a strangalation hazard. Little clippies should also be removed from baby when she is sleeping-- you wouldnt want her to wake up and put it in her mouth would you? Keep the cuteness and drool stopping for awake time! 6. When baby can climb out of crib, move them out! I dont care if their sibling stayed in the crib till they were 3, whenever baby can get themselves out, you need to get them out. 7. Co-sleeping... I know this is very popular for nursing moms and what not, but I know that I personally have no clue what I do when I am sleeping, and dont want to accidentally roll on baby while I am not coherent. I just cant imagine the heartbreak-- or them rolling out of bed. We heard on the news of a baby rolling out of their parents bed and hitting the night stand and dying when our oldest was a newborn and that was so devastating to hear, so we dont allow any babies to sleep in the bed with us. When they are bigger and maybe around 18 months and mobile, we allow them in after bad dreams or nightterrors or teething hardships, but we take all pillows and blankets off the bed. We are pretty serious about this. I do suggest if you have a family bed that you use caution and research safety guidelines before doing so. Im not saying this as a high and mighty thing, but just because it would break my heart if I knew all these safety rules and never shared them. I see them broken all of the time and feel very passionately about safe sleeping-- I am beyond cautious in this area and as a mom of 3 and soon to be 4, its always better to be safe than sorry. Happy Sleeping to all the mommys and daddys out there!

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