Today we want to talk about a very serious topic, and that is SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The definition of SIDS is “The unexplained death of a baby under 12 months of age, usually during sleep.”
Safe sleeping is extremely important for all new parents/ caregivers to be aware of and to practice. There are simple evidence-based steps all families can do to help reduce the likelihood of SIDS, below is a list that should be implemented from day one, if possible. Always consult your health professional if you have any concerns or questions.
1.) Always place bub on their back to go to sleep
This is one of the first things your midwife/nurse will tell you in the hospital. Baby should be placed, lying on his / her back in their cot. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lower the risk of SIDS.
2.) Maintain a smoke-free environment
If you, your partner, or anyone in your household smokes, the best thing you can do for your baby is to quit before falling pregnant or before your baby is born. If you, your partner/household members choose to continue smoking make sure it is done outside, far away from the baby. Ensure that anyone who smokes, thoroughly washes their hands/changes their clothes before coming into contact with bub.
3.) Have a bare crib, no toys, blankets, or pillows
This is one of the most important things you can do. Although toys, pillows, and blankets look cute in a crib but they are not safe for your baby. The crib should have just your baby (swaddled or in a sleepsuit) and nothing else, including cot bumpers.
4.) Have a firm, safe mattress and an approved safe cot
The mattress should fit perfectly in the crib. It should be firm, flat, and clean. The cot should meet the current Australian standards for a safe cot (AS2172).
5.) Breastfeed for as long as you can (if you are able to/ want to)
We know that SIDS risk is higher in babies that aren’t breastfed. If you can and want to breastfeed, this is a great way to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS.
6.) Do tummy time during the day to strengthen bubs neck muscles
Tummy time can start from birth, every day for 5-10 minutes during the newborn phase, put bub on his / her tummy on a firm surface. Ensure you are watching them closely during this time, as they begin to strengthen their muscles.
7.) Keep baby and the room at a comfortable temperature, avoid overheating
One of the first things new parents often do is wrap your baby up in lots of layers and blankets. The general rule of thumb is one layer more than you are wearing. Don’t let baby overheat, if you are unsure grab a thermometer and measure bub’s temperature.
Always follow the guidelines of your countries recommendations. If you are in Australia, Red Nose is a great and helpful resource: https://rednose.org.au/