What Is SIDS and How Does it Affect How My Baby Sleeps?
For parents of new babies, SIDS is something that is surely mentioned and feared. Standing for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS is the phenomenon of an otherwise healthy baby dying–for a reason that is not understood–suddenly in their sleep. The condition is often referred to as “crib death.”
What Causes SIDS?
Researchers aren’t positive what causes SIDS, but there are some risk factors that are associated with the phenomenon, and some things that parents can do to reduce the risk of SIDS. The Mayo Clinic lists potential physical factors that are associated with SIDS, including low birth weight of the newborn, respiratory infection (which could impair breathing), and brain defects. In some babies, the brain may not have matured enough to the point where regulating breathing during sleep is possible, increasing the risk of SIDS.
In addition to physical factors, there are also numerous environmental factors that increase the risk of SIDS. Indeed, even if a baby does not have the physical problems listed above, the following could contribute to an infant’s death–
- Placing a baby on their stomach or side to sleep;
- Placing the baby on a soft, rather than firm, surface to sleep;
- Sharing a bed with a baby, especially when they are newborn; and
As a note, placing items in a newborn baby’s crib, such as stuffed animals, pillows, sheets, or blankets also increase the risk of SIDS. These items can lead to suffocation.
What You Can Do as a Parent to Improve Your Baby’s Sleep Environment and Decrease the Risk of SIDS
At Seven Oaks Sleep Science, we’re not only concerned with finding ways for baby and parents to all get a good night’s sleep, but also in ensuring that sleep is always safe. Here are some tips for sleeping for parents with newborns that can help to decrease the risk of SIDS.
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep. The stomach or side is unsafe, and increases the risk of your baby’s oxygen supply being impeded.
- Place your baby on a firm surface to sleep. Soft mattresses or piles of blankets are unsafe.
- Don’t share a bed with your baby. Bed sharing is a controversial topic. If you want your baby near you, we recommend placing your baby in their own bassinet or co-sleeper directly next to your bed.
Learn More About Healthy Sleep for Baby
With smart sleeping arrangements, most incidents of SIDS can be completely avoided. As your baby gets older and you want to learn more about healthy sleep for baby, and how to sleep train to ensure everyone in your home gets the rest they need, call our team at Seven Oaks Sleep Science today. Doctor Natalie Barnett has worked with new mothers and fathers like you, and wants to aid you in finding the best sleep situation for your newborn and family. Reach us today for a consultation at 814-317-6257, or complete the form found on our website and we will get back to you shortly.