My response to “Safe sleep guidelines are failing new parents”

Let me start this by saying that I have dealt with SIDS and SUIDS first hand. It is hard. It is tragic. I understand the pain, and I am not blaming you. Ever.

With that being said, articles like this are what hurt us. Articles like this are what make expecting mothers and new parents question the credibility of organizations that spend their lives researching and advocating for parents and babies, and that’s not ok.

I DO believe that women who are educated on the risks associated with co-sleeping or other sleep situations and are still doing something different, should be taught the safest way to handle their preferred sleep situation. Whether that is belly sleep, side sleep, wedges, or co-sleeping – especially co-sleeping. No sleep aids, no alcohol, no comforters. The fact of the matter is, some parents are not going to adhere to these recommendations and we need to be prepared to teach them how to handle their situation as safely as possible instead of condemning them and turning away.

It is said time and time again, safe sleep practices are put in place for a reason. They have proven effective. I can not think of a single parent that would prefer the AAP recommend anything BUT the safest options for our children out of convenience. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to recommend only what we know is safest. It would be irresponsible and reckless of the AAP to recommend anything else.

I do understand the point of view the author holds in some aspects, the first point I understood was when she quoted,”…may be at least partly because of persistent cultural norms and beliefs.” This is absolutely true; if anyone over the age of 25 has their mother teach them how to care for an infant, they most likely will hear from their mothers that this was not the recommendation when they were raising their babies and their babies turned out fine. That’s great. We are glad! We as a society are smarter, we have more technology, and every day we are expanding upon the knowledge that we have to work with. It also blows my mind that fluffy crib comforters and bumpers are still legal in most states. There’s no evidence that proves that these keep baby safer during sleep, in fact we only have evidence that says that it hinders safe sleep.

I completely understand the desire to nurture and care for your child, no one wants to let their newborn cry themselves to sleep. This is why I am such an advocate of bassinets by the bed and co-sleepers for those mothers who just can’t put their babies in their cribs. The AAP actually recommends that babies sleep in the same room as an adult. The halo bassinet and arms reach co-sleeper are two of my favorite products for women that prefer to keep their baby at arms reach.

I like that the author mentioned that she did what she could to keep her bed sharing as safe as possible, I commend her for sleeping without blankets and kicking her husband out of the bed. But is this really what women want to do when they have a baby? Do they want their husband sleeping on the couch? Do they want to sleep without a blanket? No. I’ve been into homes where mothers get up in the middle of the night with their baby and her husband ends up on the couch. That’s not the dynamic we want to create in the home of new parents at all.

We still do not know the root of what causes SIDS, but we do know that the safe sleep recommendations put in place today are saving a lot of babies. It is not just about sleep, this we know. There are babies that sleep safely for every sleep that still tragically pass away. We are doing the best we can with what we know. Sleep standards may change in the future, but for now, with the knowledge we have, we are doing everything we can. As pediatrician Dr. Bill Bush puts it, “Taking that risk and saying ‘maybe it won’t happen tonight’ – it’s just not worth that risk.”

All in all, I think there are solutions to most, if not all, of the concerns presented in this article. A little creativity and knowledge of options is all it takes. There are absolutely special cases and I can’t say that I will never nap with my baby someday or let them sleep with me out of pure exhaustion. In my professional life, I will always stick to the AAP recommended practices. There’s a reason I have clients sign waivers when parents insist on other standards, unfortunately. In my personal life, like I said, I can’t guarantee that my kid will never sleep in my bed. I can’t guarantee that my baby will never nap in a bouncy seat. It’s unrealistic to think that way.

Here is the babycenter blog post

Here are the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines

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Review and Demo – Zen Swaddle

Have you ever found that your baby sleeps better when you are holding or snuggling them?

The Zen Swaddle is made to mimic your touch. It was created with lightly weighted pads sewn in, which remind me of very light bean bags, on the sides and on the chest. Mom’s who’ve used it report their babies fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer within 1 to 3 nights.

The Zen Swaddle is also more economically sound with its versatility. 2 sizes in 1 design lasts 0 – 6 months, twice as long as regular swaddles. Shown here are the two different pocket options for growing baby.

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The lightly weighted pads are placed on the chest and sides, so baby can feel the security of your embrace, even when you are not near.

This is what it looks like when the baby burrito is done. It is fairly simple, comparable in process to the halo sleep sack  swaddle, with the exception of the two pocket choices.

zen

My opinion –

All in all, I think this product is a great idea for a baby’s first few months of life, especially when you need to catch a couple extra hours of sleep. I also think this would be a great component to add while stretching time between feedings at night as it really is effective for soothing. (Remember to always make sure baby is consuming enough during the day to get them through the night before trying this,\; they WILL make up for missed feeds at night.) I would use with caution while using this swaddle with any kind of controlled crying sleep training method, this may be better for parents taking a gentle approach. Of course, I would have to do more research and that would depend on each individual baby. I also think this is a GREAT item to have on hand for babies who are not always comfy on their backs. Safety first, and this product could help make baby more comfortable on their back up to the 6 month mark.

For more information on safe sleep, click here

Click here to purchase a classic zen swaddle

 

Disclaimer – All opinions are my own and this post was not sponsored in any way.

I love you, little one.

JJ and I are coming up on our two year “nanny-versary.” This morning was full of laughter and I’m reflecting on just how thankful, full of love, and blessed I am to be a part of this boy’s life. I know our time together is limited and before long he will be entering the preschool world and I will be moving on to a new season. I hope that even as he grows and changes, that he never forgets the love that his nanny had for him when he was little. 

JJ, thank you for showing me a love that I never knew existed. Thank you for teaching me what no textbooks or seminars can. Thank you for loving me back. 

Jose and Christine, thank you for letting me love your boy and be a part of your family. ❤️


“I love you as the stars love you, constant and bright above you, giving you joy and peace and wonder. I love you as the stars love you, forever, and ever, and always.”

I Love You, Little One