Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a parents’ worst nightmare. SIDS is defined as the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Typically, it occurs during sleep for infants 2-4 months old. However, SIDS can be prevented with the right steps, so here are 7 ways to prevent SIDS.
1. Put your baby to sleep on her back
Putting a sleeping baby on her back is a great way to prevent SIDS. This is because your baby is at a much higher risk of SIDS when she sleeps on her side or stomach as these positions put her face in the mattress which can smother her. Now, you might be tempted to put her on her side, but she could easily roll onto her belly without your supervision.
If you’re concerned about your baby having a flat spot on her head from always sleeping on her back, this is not always the case. Back-sleeping isn’t entirely to blame for flattened-head syndrome. In fact, babies have this problem when they spend too much of their wakeful time on their backs. Moreover, you can alternate the position of your baby’s head from slight left to right.
2. Don’t put anything in her crib
All your baby needs in her crib is a firm mattress and the fitted sheet. To prevent smothering, do not put blankets, pillows, soft toys, or any other accessories in your baby’s crib. We recommend that you wait until her 1st birthday before you give her a blanket. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold, you can always swaddle your baby.
3. Strictly no smoking
Babies born to women who smoked during their pregnancy die of SIDS three times more often than babies born to nonsmoker moms. Do not smoke during your pregnancy and do not let anyone smoke around you as secondhand smoke also increases her chances of SIDS.
4. Breastfeed your baby
Although more research needs to be done, breastfeeding your little one can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. While some believe that breast milk protects the baby from infections that increases their SIDS risk, other believes that skin-to-skin contact is simply important for a baby’s development.
5. Use a pacifier before she sleeps
Some experts recommend using pacifiers for sleeping babies as this prevents them from going into deep sleep without the ability to self-arouse when unable to breath. However, if you are breastfeeding, you should wait until your baby is taking breastmilk regularly before you give her the pacifier. This prevents nipple confusion where she prefers the pacifier.
6. Keep her cool
Overheating may increase the risk of SIDS so make sure your nursery is in room temperature. Also, do not swaddle your baby to the extent that she overheats. Always use light and comfortable material to prevent SIDS.
7. Supervise your sleeping baby
It helps to keep an eye on your baby to prevent SIDS. If you are worried, you can sleep close to your baby. However, do take note of the risks of co-sleeping with your baby. On the other hand, you can buy a crib that attaches to your bed.