The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

SIDS - another possible cause (UPDATED with new link at 3:40 pm)

Just about everyone loves newborns; how can you help it? They are tiny and helpless and soft and so very sweet. What a tragedy when a tiny baby is taken by an unknown cause that is given the label "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome" (SIDS).

While no absolute cause for this phenomenon has yet been found, physicians currently recommend placing an infant on his "stomach to play and back to sleep" because of the belief that one possible cause of SIDS is that sleeping on the stomach can lead to the baby's face being pressed into the mattress, leaving the baby unable to breathe.

Despite this sage advice, I have never been able to coerce my babies into sleeping on their backs. All three of my girls have slept on their tummies since birth and are obviously alive and well; however, your baby's sleeping position is your choice. Like Frank, I don't follow a recommendation simply because an "expert" made it.

Nature Moms, a blog about living a more natural family life, recently published an article about organic crib mattresses which states that recent research has revealed a possible link between SIDS and the fire retardant chemicals coating crib mattresses and portable crib mattresses. It makes sense to me: the poor fragile baby lies there breathing in toxic chemicals over long periods of time, and his tiny body can't handle the chemical abuse. If even one child can be saved because the parents bought an organic mattress or replaced a regular mattress sooner than they would have otherwise, then we will have made a positive difference. Read the Nature Moms post for the full details about what you can do.

(UPDATED 1/10/2007 3:40 p.m.) Thank you to Gayle of Busy Mom Blog for stopping by and commenting. She is a licensed child care provider who was required to take a SIDS prevention course and has published a post with even more steps parents can take to prevent SIDS in their family. Her post too is an information-packed post that you should not miss.

photo courtesy of


The New Parent said...

Well, like you my daughter has never been one to fall asleep on her back---only her stomach. I think this is another area where you and I will continue to disagree with the experts. When on her back she looks around the room, chats and self stimulates, never falling asleep. On her stomach, boom, right to sleep. Interesting.

Justice Jones said...

Wow, this is good information. Thanks for the info. Two of my children slept better on their tummies starting at about 2-3 months. Once they were out of the swaddling stage and could start to roll over, they did not want to sleep on their backs.

Revka said...

I was never good at swaddling my newborn girls closely enough, and consequently they would only sleep fitfully when on their backs (if they fell asleep at all). To this day, all 3 girls sleep better on their stomachs. I really didn't worry about SIDS because all 3 of my girls were strong enough to lift their head when they born and I figured they could turn their head if they weren't getting enough air. Both of you guys are welcome for the info; I'm glad you found it interesting and helpful.

Gayle said...

As a licensed childcare provider, we take a lengthy SIDS training class. In addition to back to sleep, they recommend having nothing in the crib with an infant until they are old enough to roll both ways by themselves. There are other recommendations, too. I'll have to write them up and post them. Thanks for making moms more aware.

Revka said...

Thank you, Gayle, for stopping by. I'm glad you came to browse, and I appreciate your commenting as well. I'm going to provide a link to your well-written post as well as the other one I already linked in my post.

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

One of my 3 had severe gastroesophogeal reflux and our pulmo at the Children's hospital said she MUST sleep on her stomach when she was a baby.

So even their advice contradicts itself.

I personally think SIDS has more to do with environmental factors than anything else.

The New Parent said...

I certainly can understand leaving items out of a babies crib at such a young age, Gayle. A few other parents I've recently spoken with though, also mentioned how their children were stomach sleepers. Similar to my child, their kids would become diverted from sleep while on their backs. It may be that the lessening of visual stimulation--for some children--(while on their stomachs) helps them fall asleep easier.

Revka said...

Lindsey, that is another reason I have not been overly concerned about letting my children sleep on their tummies. Over the past century, the advice given as doctrine has been changed several times. As Gayle mentioned in her post, it used to be taboo to put babies to sleep on their backs for fear that they would choke if they happened to vomit. I believe in doing the best I know how for my children, and if that means that I go against the latest doctrine, so be it.

I thought this sentence from Gayle's post was interesting in light of your environmental factors theory: "A few misc. facts from the class: SIDS is more common in babies of moms that smoke, are very young, babies with low birth weight, and male infants."

knowhimwell said...

Oh how I'm glad those days are over. If it wasn't bad enough that I had to get up so many times a night with my babies, I would also wake up to check and make sure they were breathing. I used to pray every night that they would be healthy and wake up in the morning. I put both of my babies on their backs to sleep, but once they got about 5 months old, there was no stopping them from rolling over on their belly. No matter how many times I put them on their backs, they would roll over to their belly. I didn't put anything in my children's crib until they were a year old. And even then I used crocheted blankets that had large holes in them. Maybe I was a bit paranoid about it. I don't know.