Pediatric Recommendations for Babies' Sleep Time
Posted by: Mark Nichols
04 Nov 2011
Parents can get all sorts of advice about how to handle their infant children. Why do parents need advice? Itís helpful to get advice regarding nutrition, how to transition your baby to their new life outside of the womb, and to make sure youíre not going to hurt their backs or heads without realizing it (donít let them stay on the same part of their head all the time because then itíll get flat!).
Advice comes from many sources. There are countless books to reference, you can refer to anyone who has ever raised a child, and thereís an organization called the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP just updated their infant sleep safety and SIDS risk reduction guidelines. SIDS is ďSudden Infant Death Syndrome.Ē Every unexplainable infant death goes into this bucket explanation. Thereís no known reason for some kidsí deaths. In an effort to reduce those deaths, updated guidelines (issued October 18, 2011) include not using bumpers in the crib, not using blankets in the crib, and not using wedges for sleep time (to incline a baby, for example). A long-time recommendation (since 1992) is that you should place your baby on his or her back for sleep. You can go to this website to get the full list.
I just wanted to comment on a few things:
- Itís recommended that the baby sleeps without blankets in the crib. Although itíd be ideal to leave the heat high enough so a baby doesnít need them, that would be expensive. Besides, the temperature in my room isnít consistent throughout the night. No blankets would also mean no swaddling. I will not give up the swaddle, which in my opinion does wonders to help a baby get to sleep (and maintain the parentsí sanity).
- Itís recommended that babies sleep on flat surfaces. I believe an incline (wedge) helps when a baby has congestion or digestion issues.
- Itís recommended that babies always sleep on a firm surface for routine sleep. Does routine sleep mean at night? Iím personally okay with a baby sleeping in a bouncy chair for daytime naps.
- Itís recommended that babies always sleep on their backs. Most of the Dime Brothersí generation was raised sleeping on our stomachs. Did many kids die? I suppose so because the AAP website says after the ďsleep on their backsĒ recommendation came out the incidence of SIDS declined a lot. But it doesnít seem logical that generations of parents wouldnít have caught on to this.
- Lastly, one book Iíve found useful is ďThe Happiest Baby on the Block.Ē You can quiet a fussy baby using the 5 Sís. They are 1) swaddle the baby; 2) put the baby on his side or stomach; 3) shush him loudly; 4) swing the baby; 5) let the baby suck on something. Itís been awhile since I read the book so I donít recall if any of these Sís are usable past quieting the baby (i.e., if they extend to sleep time), but if so, these revised AAP recommendations wouldnít jive with a book thatís got a decent following.
Good luck out there caring for your own baby!