How do I protect my two-month-old tummy-sleeper from SIDS?
BY: Nicole Gregory
While your baby may prefer to sleep on his tummy, you really should put him on his back to sleep, because that’s the safest position for him. He may not sleep as deeply or as long as when he’s on his tummy, but that might be a good thing, and here’s why: Normally, if a sleeping baby is not getting enough oxygen (because he’s snuggling too close to the bedding, for example), his brain will automatically cause him to wake up and shift position. However, some babies’ brains have not yet developed this trigger, making them vulnerable to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), says Rachel Moon, M.D., pediatric medical director at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Because there’s no way to tell which infants have this brain glitch, experts advise that all babies under one year of age should be positioned on their backs for sleep.
Other ways to protect against SIDS include keeping your baby away from cigarette smoke; putting him in a sleeper or wearable blanket that won’t come loose; removing blankets, quilts and stuffed animals from the crib, and placing your baby’s crib in your bedroom so that he sleeps in the same room as you do. Finally, give your baby a pacifier when it’s time for bed. “Pacifiers give more than 50 to 57 percent protection against SIDS,” says Dr. Moon, though researchers are not sure why, especially since they tend to fall out when the baby sleeps.
While more than 90 percent of SIDS cases happen within the first six months of a child’s life, “every baby is different, so we recommend that parents follow [all] these precautions until the baby is one,” says Dr. Moon. By that time, your child’s brain will have developed enough to wake him when needed.
Nicole Gregory, contributor to Live Right Live Well, is a Los Angeles-based writer who has written for numerous publications, including Weight Watchers magazine, Vegetarian Times, Viv, Fit Pregnancy and many others.