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Safe and Soothing Sleep

This month, October, is SIDS awareness month and this blog post has been crafted with Mama Bird!

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age. It is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. Most SIDS deaths occur in babies between 1 and 4 months old.

SIDS is more common in boys than girls, and in babies who are born prematurely or have a low birth weight. It is also more common in babies who are African American or Native American.

The exact cause of SIDS is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Brain defects

  • Respiratory infections

  • Sleeping on the stomach

  • Smoking during pregnancy or around the baby

Sleep Support

Sleep is essential for babies' physical, mental, and emotional development. It allows their bodies to rest and repair, and their brains to grow and learn.

However, sleep can also be a challenge for new parents, as babies often wake up frequently at night.

Be Well NEPA is a holistic wellness center that offers a variety of services to support families with infants and toddlers. One of their areas of specialization is sleep coaching. Be Well NEPA's sleep coaching is family-centered, holistic, and evidence-based. We work with families to develop a sleep plan that best fits their needs and goals.

Sleep techniques for babies

Here are some techniques that parents can use to help their babies sleep better:

  • Swaddling: Swaddling mimics the snug feeling of being in the womb, which can help babies feel secure and fall asleep more easily.

  • Rhythmic movement: Gentle rocking or swaying can also help babies relax and fall asleep.

  • Soothing sound: White noise or gentle shushing can create a calming background noise that drowns out other distractions.

  • Calming holding positions: Holding your baby in calming positions can provide them with warmth and security.

  • Sucking: Sucking is a natural way for babies to comfort themselves. It can help them relax and fall asleep.

Sleep environment for babies

The environment a baby sleeps in can help support a deeper and safer sleep. Here are some ways to alter the environment:

  • Black out curtains: Black out curtains can help to block out light, which can disrupt sleep.

  • Sound machines: Sound machines can mask household noises and create a calming background noise.

  • Red light bulb or night light: Red light bulbs and night lights do not interfere with melatonin production as much as other types of light, so they can help to improve sleep.

  • Temperature regulation: The ideal temperature for infant sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). Consider layers to adjust sleep clothing as needed, us a fan to circulate are, and avoid any electric blankets or space heaters in the room. This temperature range guidance is comfortable for most babies and suspected to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Product and sleep safety aspect

When choosing sleep products for your baby, it is important to consider safety. Be sure to choose products that are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Avoid products that have loose bedding or small parts, as these can pose a choking hazard. Assure the mattress is firm for sleeping.

Sleep safety guidelines for babies

To reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep related infant death:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep.

  • Room share or keep your baby close to your bed in a separate crib or bassinet.

  • Place your baby down to sleep on a firm, flat, sleep surface in an approved crib.

  • Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet and no other bedding or soft items.

  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Developmental tips to keep in mind throughout sleep strategies

It is important to keep developmental milestones in mind when implementing sleep strategies. For example, babies should stop being swaddled when they begin to show signs of rolling over. Typically this is anywhere from 2-3 months. Always, avoid any suits or weighted sacks that prevent those crucial movements that later can alter crawling, walking, and even eating. Additionally, pacifiers should be weaned by 10 months of age to avoid interfering with facial development, speech development, and feeding development.

Personal support options for sleep

If you are struggling to help your baby sleep, there are a number of personal support options available. These options include:

  • Sleep consultants: Our sleep consultant can help you to develop a personalized sleep plan for your baby. We offer 3 different options for you to choose from ranging from $100-500.00.

  • Infant feeding specialists: Our infant feeding specialists can help you to understand your baby's feeding needs and develop a feeding plan that will support their sleep.

  • Infant massage specialists:

  • Infant occupational or physical therapist:

  • Mommy and me classes:

As a parent, you know your baby better than anyone else. You know their cues, their needs, and their temperament. This knowledge is essential for creating a supportive sleep environment for your baby.

If you are struggling to implement these tips, or if you have any other concerns about your baby's sleep, please reach out to us at Be Well NEPA. We can help you to develop a personalized sleep plan for your baby and provide you with support along the way.

Remember, you are a great parent. You are doing your best, and you are not alone.

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