What are the Safest way for newborn to sleep?
Remember, for a newborn who cannot possibly communicate yet, when faced with discomfort due to improper sleeping position like choking, suffocation, nose vomit (often caused by the regurgitation of food), etc. can lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS. A baby dies every other week from SIDS within Sacramento county related to unsafe sleeping habits.
What does SIDS entail?
SIDS is a number one cause of death between the age of a baby one month and one year; as a mother, you make sure to properly lay your newborn in a very safe position to avoid all these.
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To bring to your knowledge how effective a sleeping position could be for a baby, do not forget those pregnancy days when your nurses and doctors advised you and suggested you sleep to the left. This very position makes nutrients successfully passed on from the mother to the baby in a perfect position or manner.
You might want to ask, “but after the birth of the baby, can the baby sleep on the side, left or right”?
Hmm, experts have brought to our notice that a baby is sleeping on the side, which possibly can in one way or the other tamper with the baby’s growth and development.
As it is, Babies tend to sleep for a very long time; during this hour, and as a mother, you should be able to have started taking a proper observation of the several patterns of your baby’s sleep.
However, this trait seems normal after all, since even grown-ups do sleep on their sides too; hence it appears normal but be aware that babies are very different; this entails that sleeping on the side can have repercussions on them.
Now let’s look at the various conditions associated with a baby sleeping on the side and how it can hamper its growth. We have the:
1. Harlequin color change
4. Unavoidable and risky choking
Harlequin color change
Medically termed ‘Unilateral Erythema’, very common in about 10 to 15 percent of newborn babies, usually observed in the first week of birth. This condition is associated with color change. That very sleeping side of the baby’s body turns pink or red, adding to a clear distinction that runs along the central axis of the baby’s body.
So annoying that it makes the body somewhat half red and as well somewhat half normal colored. The color change goes on, and each time the infants sleep on their sides for an extended period. Fortunately enough, this condition isn’t that recurrent that is not posing any serious threat to health, as it does not get prolonged and cause health issues.
Hence, only when the baby’s position is switched does the red color fades away just within a few minutes.
Specialists say the color change could result from or indicate a possible chemical accumulation of Red Blood Cells due to gravity among blood vessels close to the skin, that is, subcutaneous blood vessels.
This condition is associated with polycythemia (increase in the number of red blood cells in the body) for a baby with red-colored skin.
Treatment: Well, it vanishes on its own, and it is harmless as well.
The medical term for this condition is called “plagiocephaly,” in which the bones of the baby’s skull soften and become malleable, allowing the skull to increase to the same size as the brain.
How does this happen? It occurs mainly when the baby’s head is placed in a single position often and often, right there the bones of the skull sink and go concave or flattened.
We can say it’s a skeletal anomaly but can lead to stunted brain growth due to the insufficient cranial space for expansion of the brain. As a result of this, the baby’s cognitive abilities later in life could be hampered.
Also, abnormal bone formation contributes to this, which has to be surgically connected immediately.
Treatment: With head braces called the baby’s helmet as prescribed by the doctor at the onset of diagnosis, the baby’s skull bones are still soft enough to reposition themselves.
Caused by the abnormal tilting of the neck in one direction, usually due to severe shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (that attaches the lateral side of the head to the clavicle). Poor position, in a nutshell, causes torticollis.
Causing the shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle due to repeated sleeping on the side. As a result, this affects the growth of the muscle not only but also causes abnormal bone growth.
Treatment: The doctor may recommend wearing a recovery harness, a pad that is being wrapped around the body of the baby, with a soft pad near the neck. This pad helps in bringing back the neck to its normal position. Also, physical therapy does help release the stiffness in the muscles.
When the baby sleeps on the sides, the trachea is affected, making breathing difficult for the baby. It can also cause regurgitation of food. Sleeping on the tummy position causes this. All these could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Treatment: Make your baby not sleep on his side to prevent choking and SIDS.
How to safe sleep your baby – Best healthy practices
1. Place your baby on their back when it’s sleep time
First off, the baby (mostly between 0-12 months) should sleep in their sleepy areas, such as a crib or cot. This is the simplest position, and research has proven this sleeping position to be effective as this is the best way of preventing fatal medical conditions such as SIDS.
This position reduces the risk of upper respiratory infection.
2. Avoid the use of unnecessary sleep support:
The likes of a pillow are not necessary for a baby yet, as the baby could, in the process of tilting while sleeping, use the pillow against his or her nose; hence obstruction of airflow occurs.
3. Use a tightly fitted sheet cover for your baby
When wrapped around your baby, this tightly fitted sheet or cover must be farther from the nose and way below the neck. It must be firm on the baby.
4. Avoid putting your baby to sleep on their tummy
This could increase the risk of vomitting and choking, increasing the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
5. Keep your baby safe and away from
Alcohol, smoke, or drugs, as neonatologists have warned against this and made us know how dangerous it is for a baby’s health.
6. Swaddling is not necessary
Unless done professionally but not 100percent sure despite that because the baby could turn anytime at any length in angle, note that swaddling could be risky and cause respiratory infection, hip dysplasia, overheating, and suffocation.
7. For a baby still small in age
Aged less than three months old, you may place him in a basket if you want to sleep next to your baby and maintain good ventilation and a comfortable temperature.
8. Place your baby’s foot close to the foot of the baby cot: the distance in between vertical bars of the cot should be less than 6cm.
8. Keep altering your baby’s sleep position:
When placed on his back, at every interval, try to alternate the position of his head. For instance, if he sleeps on his back with his head resting a bit towards the left side, then the next night, make sure to shift his head to the right side gently. This would for sure prevent the development of flatheads.
Do not make the mistake of not putting your baby in a separate crib or cot in the same room where you sleep. No padding is necessary because it could make the baby slip into the side-sleeping position.
As time goes on, the baby becomes independent of his sleep positions, and it could be a challenge to make him sleep on his back.
Questions often asked by people!
• When is the due time for babies to start sleeping on their side?
Right after the completion of 12 months, babies can be made to sleep on his side. The baby’s oesophagus, trachea, and overall breathing mechanism are fairly developed as of age. Hence, it is now safe for him to sleep on his side.
• What if the baby rolls to the side in sleep intermittently?
Just around six months, your baby can roll over to his tummy or the side from the back position. Rolling over is a normal and natural part of your baby’s development. If your baby rolls over to his tummy on his or her own, then you may allow him to sleep in that position.
But as it is being observed, a baby will likely get on to the side or stomach sleeping position only when his muscles are strong enough to let him do so.
So, when your baby rolls over on his own, it indicates that the baby has stronger internal organs, and it allows the risk of choking during sleep.
If your baby starts to roll over before he reaches six months, put him in their back position again.
Taking all these preventive measures would prevent the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome ( SIDS)!!!