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A New Mom’s SIDS Awareness Experience

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October is SIDS Awareness Month.

*Guest Blog*

As a new mom 6 years ago, I never would have known that it was SIDS awareness Month. That also might have been why my first daughter slept in a rock and play for the first 7 months of her life! As a first-time parent, there’s so much information out there; between car seats, highchairs, best sleep practices and breast feeding or bottle feeding.

I remember hearing how it was dangerous to let your newborn sleep in their car seat when they weren’t in there, and not to have bumpers or anything in the crib. But still the rock and play was the best thing, because she loved to be swaddled and she loved the slight incline. I didn’t realize that the dangers outweighed the solid night of sleep.

Other tips I learned to “decrease” the risk of SIDS was to have a fan on in your child’s room, keep the heat at the same temperature each night, around 68 degrees, not too hot and not too cold. Also making sure the swaddle doesn’t cover their mouth and that their airways were clear (mouth and nose).

Babies sleeping flat on their backs is apparently essential too. I think one of the reasons why my daughter rolled so late was because she was in her rock n play and not in a crib and had nowhere to go. When you put a baby in a crib they have more room to roam and roll about, which is one of the many reasons why you always want to make sure the baby is asleep on their back, especially if they’re in a sleeper or merlin suit. Once the baby can roll over it’s time to take them out of their merlin suits and let them explore.

Sharing a room with the baby has also been proven to be helpful and decrease the risk of SIDS. The is called cosleeping or roomsharing, which is different than bedsharing. Having a firm mattress for the baby is crucial. I remember when a veteran mom friend told me this and I asked, “why, won’t she be uncomfortable?” She explained how the firmness helps keep the baby level and supported. Like this fact, there are so many things new moms don’t know because no one tells them and there is conflicting information. Every parent thinks about SIDS at least once when they first find out they’re pregnant and does as much research and asks as many questions as they can. But it it enough?

If you’re having or have had a baby, make sure you are following the basic rules for SIDS awareness; nothing in their sleeping space, no bumpers (no matter how cute they make your nursery look), not putting baby down with a bottle or their favorite stuffed animal or a loose blanket. And for the love of god, don’t use a rock and play just because your baby sleeps better! In the end it’s just not worth it.

Still not sure how to set up a sleep environment, check out this book from Jules and Anya. I wish I had it when I was pregnant! Nightingales helps with in person support too and can answer any questions you may have.

This blog was written by Emily Howe. A photographer and mom from Rhode Island who is homeschooling her two young kids and writing blogs in her spare time!