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Monday, March 15, 2010

"Back to Sleep"

By now just about everyone has heard the hard core recommendations "Put baby to sleep on their back". Studies are quoted saying that babies sleeping on their back have a reduced chance of dying of SIDs.

Now, for the record, I'm not questioning the validity of this Campaign, nor the importance of sharing the information with new mothers....

...But I have some questions. When these studies were done, showing that sleeping on their backs reduces the incidents of SIDs in babies, what were the criteria that was used? For example, were groups divided according to whether a baby was exclusively breastfed? Did the babies sleep by themselves in a crib? Or in the Family Bed? Was the crib in another room? Or beside the parents bed? When they studied the incidents of SIDs deaths that happened to babies who slept on their stomachs, were details such as where the baby was sleeping, what type of bedding, were there other factors involved (ie: stuffed toys in the crib, pillows, bumper pads...)?

The reason I'm asking these questions is because I seem to have ANOTHER tummy sleeper on my hands.

I posted about Kael's love of tummy/snooze time on my Facebook status and was surprised at the amount of responses I've received from other moms who've had/have babies that prefer sleeping on their tummies. Both of my youngest sons were much happier sleeping on their stomachs. logan started flipping over to his tummy at 2 months. After fighting with him to get him to sleep on his back (like all the studies say) I finally gave up and just put him on his tummy. I made sure he was on a firm surface and that there was absolutely nothing around him to get entangled with or to interfere with his breathing..... and I checked on him constantly, even if he was in a bassinet right beside me. Now Kael has decided that he'd much prefer to sleep on his tummy too!! I put him down on his belly for some tummy time....and he falls asleep!! and for the past 3 days he has not been napping well on his back- often waking up within 15 minutes (and being miserable because of it).

I have to wonder about the back to sleep campaign and whether it applies to us? KWIM? My children are exclusively breastfed, they sleep either with me in bed (under safe shared sleep conditions), or sleep in a bassinet beside me in the livingroom- on a firm surface with nothing to get entangled with and under constant supervision. Is it really that risky to tummy sleep under these conditions? To be honest, I worry a lot more about Kael choking (he's a puker, and has choked several times while sleeping) while on his back, than I do about SIDs. Like I said, I'm not advocating that we all ignore the recommendations... but I still wonder if they take into consideration all the factors.

What do you think?