Do you believe newborn tummy sleeping produces SIDS? - Mothering Forums

Do you believe newborn tummy sleeping produces SIDS?

Shami's Avatar Shami (TS)
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I don't know how to create a poll, but this is my question. My friend has a new baby who screams a long time on her back so she put her on her tummy and she is out like a light, and fast, too. Of course, she is getting all kinds of opinions from friends and family and it is really stressing her out. I didn't give my opinion because I don't have one. I just think you do whatever you need to for survival in those early stages of mommyhood.

Mine didn't sleep well alone and on her back, which is why I started cosleeping. It never occurred to me to try her on her tummy. Now I am pregnant again and wondering how my new baby will be in the sleep department.

Do you hold any stock in the tummy sleeping equals SIDS fear? Are there statistics that prove the 'Back to sleep camplagn' prevented SIDS?

My husband's family, who is from Sri Lanka, didn't even know what SIDS is because they don't have babies passing away in their sleep in their country.
treeoflife3's Avatar treeoflife3
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I think there are a lot of things that lead to SIDS and the lines will blur between them to make it hard to know what caused it.

 

Personally, I don't think sleeping on tummy in itself is a true risk.  I think sleeping on tummy on a toxic mattress is a risk, I think sleeping on tummy in a room with no air circulation and therefor rebreathing exhaled air is a risk, I think being allowed to sleep too long too soon while on tummy is a risk, I think sleeping on tummy in a room alone (no supervision) with an ability to move head just enough to be face down but not enough to get out of that position is a risk... but I think it all comes down to the factors combined with being on tummy.

 

My kiddo slept on her tummy some.  Co sleeping just was NOT working for us and she wouldn't sleep on her back.  I NEEDED sleep if I wanted to care for her so it came down to either ignoring my need for sleep and risking other baby dangers or having her sleep on her tummy some of the time so I could rest.


Perdita_in_Ontario's Avatar Perdita_in_Ontario
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My understanding is that for crib-sleeping babies, yes, following the Back-to-Sleep campaign, SIDS deaths did drop quite a bit. At least that's what the pamphlets I received all said. I too think there are probably confounding factors - I suspect that stomach-sleeping puts little babies into a deeper sleep where it is more difficult to rouse themselves. Without being close to a parent to regulate their breathing, that probably could spell disaster for a baby that had other risk factors for SIDS. Based on everything I read, if my baby slept in a crib, I would put him on his back.

 

Neither of my children ever stomach-slept when they were tiny, however - they both preferred being snuggled on their sides next to me.


LiLStar's Avatar LiLStar
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I saw a study somewhere (I'll see if I can dig it up) where they hooked babies up to monitors and placed them on their tummy with their face down and nose/mouth specifically placed so that they were directly above a little cut out in the mattress they made so that they would deliberately be rebreathing. They tested whether the babies would turn their head for fresh air once their oxygen levels dropped. What they found was that the babies whose parents NEVER placed them on their tummies so never had "practice" would not turn their head. Babies who spent time on their tummies and slept on their tummies sometimes would turn their heads. The conclusion I get from that is basically.. make sure my babies get some supervised tummy time, both awake and asleep, so they get "practice" :) I DO let my babies sleep on their tummies once they've developed the muscle tone to do a baby push up. Which for both of mine was about 2 weeks. Making sure to get some supervised tummy time (awake and asleep) is a good idea, in my opinion (from what I saw in the study) regardless if the parents are comfortable letting them tummy sleep on any regular basis. Because sometimes stuff happens, a baby surprises themselves by turning onto their tummies for the first time, whatever. And I definitely don't want to have the baby who, upon rolling over for the first time, has never "practiced" the head turning. There have been times I've watched my babies sleep, and they might press their face right into the mattress. Instinct is to intervene and help turn their head. But I make myself wait and see what happens.. within 20 seconds or so, they always turned their head to the side. 

 

found it! http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/4416.aspx


sacredpresence's Avatar sacredpresence
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I'm curious to know whether your husbands family and people in Sri Lanka usually put babies down on tummies or backs and alone or co sleeping?
Viola's Avatar Viola
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I think there are different causes of SIDS, and in the past a lot of suffocation deaths or deaths with actual causes  were blamed on SIDS.  I do believe that putting babies to sleep on their backs did help, especially if some of those were suffocation deaths.  However, what I've read here and there is that the truly unexplained kind of SIDS, where infants just seem to stop breathing for no apparent reason, can happen anywhere.  Some people have lost their children while holding them sleeping in arms.  I don't believe that there are no cases of SIDS in Sri Lanka, although the rate may be low enough that I can believe you might not know anyone who has experienced it.


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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I've done quite a bit of research, and do believe that back sleeping does significantly reduce SIDS.  You can go through google-scholar and go through the studies to help you make your decision. 


MSWmama's Avatar MSWmama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

I've done quite a bit of research, and do believe that back sleeping does significantly reduce SIDS.  You can go through google-scholar and go through the studies to help you make your decision. 


yeahthat.gif

 

 

 


Amatullah0's Avatar Amatullah0
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I believe that babies need to choose for themselves which way to sleep. I put my babies on their sides to sleep, and let them roll as they find the need to, they know their needs better than I do. 

 

I don't believe in SIDS, other than it being a catch-all label to say "I'm sorry, we have no clue why your baby died." It's also not something that I lose sleep over.  

 

DS chose to sleep on his stomach, and once he discovered my pillow, and could crawl, he would sleep on his stomach on the pillow(his whole body was on the pillow).  A friend's baby died from unexplained causes, as did DH's uncle's baby, those these deaths were both somewhat recent, it doesn't change my beliefs.

 

I'm sure babies die of unknown cause in Sri Lanka too(DH's uncle live's in pakistan, and they probably care for their babies in similar ways. In Pakistan(and India, and probably Sri Lanka), babies sleep in a flat/hard bottomed swinging bassinet thing or a hanging sling-type swing(made from tying a bedsheet (for naps, anyways). Also, a lot of beds are really hard(thin cotton mattress on a piece of wood), not squishy like the mattresses back in the states. 


springbride's Avatar springbride
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With DD she seemed to prefer her tummy, so we would swaddle her and then use to other rolled up receiving blankets to create a wedge that kept her on her side, but slightly inclined towards her tummy.  Obviously, the blankets were away from her face :)  

This worked great for us.  Any other sleep position and she was very restless.  

I think letting your baby scream until they pass out is more likely to be linked with SIDS than how the child likes to sleep.  But hey, that's why I hang out here, not on other boards winky.gif

 

savithny's Avatar savithny
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I think that newborn babies aren't "meant" to sleep deeply for long periods.   They just aren't.  Their nervous systems aren't developed yet (they ahve to be born before they're truly ready, due to the narrowness of the human pelvis since we walk upright).   The first 3 months are often called "teh fourth trimester," and there is a lot of nervous system maturing that happens during that time.

 

I think there's a lot of support for the theory that babies on their tummies don't rouse themselves as often or easily, and so tend to sleep deeper, to the point that they can stop breathing.   There's also a lot of support for the fact that babies sleeping with (or near) adults will breathe along with the adult, keepign them from going too deep.

 

So yes, I do believe that tummy sleeping contributes to SIDS and that back sleeping helps prevent it (but obviously does not completely do so; almost nothing in life is 100% either way).   And when cosleeping and nursing, even in a real bed, you're both generally on your side, or you tuck baby into your armpit, face up. 

 

I also think that "in the wild" our ancestors probably did not put their babies flat on their stomachs very often, if ever.    If you don't have a modern (or even premodern) mattress bed, where exactly would you do that?     Where would be safe and clean?  Imagine putting your newborn face-down on a heap of skins, or a pile of straw or grass or wool.    How does a baby tummy-sleep in a sling?   In a hammock?   On a cradleboard?   

 

So yes, I think that putting a baby under 3-4 months to sleep on its tummy is probably not biologically appropriate for child development as we now understand it.   Sure, it makes the child sleep more deeply.   But newborns sleeping very long stretches undisturbed is *also* not really appropriate for child development as we now understand it.


aHikaru's Avatar aHikaru
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AE has slept on her belly on my chest since day one, it was the only way she slept.


mamadiamond's Avatar mamadiamond
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no study has ever shown a causal link between tummy sleep and sids, only that there seems to be a correlation in babies who already have other risk factors (such as low serotonin levels which make it harder to regulate deep sleep and breathing, or a crib mattress treated with neurotoxic fire retardants, or hidden mold/fungus in the house). i slept on my tummy as an infant, as did all my siblings, and we were all fine. i have a latex sensitivity, and most crib mattresses have latex cores, so just in case my dd is also sensitive i put her on her back the rare times she's in the crib. if she is allergic like me, i want her airways farther from the irritant. but she slept on her tummy on my chest since day one. a healthy baby is fine on the tummy. an at risk baby is in greater risk on the tummy. the trick i guess is knowing if your baby has risk factors. since it's so hard to know, that is why they say no tummy sleep for any baby.


Youngfrankenstein's Avatar Youngfrankenstein
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All of my 4 babies slept on their tummies and I'd do it again.  If I had a preemie or weren't breastfeeding, I may have changed what I did with that baby.  I personally don't believe that babies were "designed" not to be able to sleep on their tummies. 


onetwoten's Avatar onetwoten
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I read a very well written article several years back that suggested the link was what others above have said-- that back to sleep works because you are further from the chemicals and offgassing of the mattress, not because back/front themselves are good or bad. I would feel much more comfortable placing my babe tummy sleeping on a natural or wrapped mattress-- and I think the same goes for our own bed, or sleeping tummy down on your own chest-- she's not breathing in the same chemicals as she would on a storebought mattress. Just a thought. 


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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I just want to point out that every adult mattress and baby mattress sold in the US is treated with fire retardants unless you spend a fortune (which actually to me is worth it) and buy your baby a cotton or latex mattress with a wool wrap (natural fire retardant) or get a script for a mattress that doesn't have fire retardants. Even the so called "organic" mattresses are treated with chemicals.  Wool is the only truly natural and chemical free fire retardant that is used on mattresses.   Also, it is impossible to know which babies have low seratonin levels so parents can't use that info when deciding how to sleep their baby.  Though there is no causal link, the correlation between stomach sleeping and SIDS is really significant.  I can't remember the exact number now, but I believe its five of every six babies who dies of SIDS is found sleeping on their stomach. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadiamond View Post

no study has ever shown a causal link between tummy sleep and sids, only that there seems to be a correlation in babies who already have other risk factors (such as low serotonin levels which make it harder to regulate deep sleep and breathing, or a crib mattress treated with neurotoxic fire retardants, or hidden mold/fungus in the house).


Youngfrankenstein's Avatar Youngfrankenstein
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

 Though there is no causal link, the correlation between stomach sleeping and SIDS is really significant.  I can't remember the exact number now, but I believe its five of every six babies who dies of SIDS is found sleeping on their stomach. 


I haven't found those studies.  Can you point them out?  I am only "arguing" this because as the OP stated, many moms are afraid to tummy sleep and end up with miserable babies and selves when I just don't know if the data exist to support back sleep to cut the risks.  I have read that smoking and not breastfeeding increases risk and that tummy sleeping is a suspected third "cause". 

 


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post


I haven't found those studies.  Can you point them out?  I am only "arguing" this because as the OP stated, many moms are afraid to tummy sleep and end up with miserable babies and selves when I just don't know if the data exist to support back sleep to cut the risks.  I have read that smoking and not breastfeeding increases risk and that tummy sleeping is a suspected third "cause". 

 

Have you looked? 

 

Check out google scholar and you will be able to find them.  It has been about three years since I was researching them so I don't have any links handy. 


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/014067369192917Q 

 

Here is one.  I don't have time to search for others now.


ZombieMama's Avatar ZombieMama
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I don't think that tummy-sleeping causes SIDS, but I do definitely think it can be a contributing factor.

 


awallrising's Avatar awallrising
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Quote:

Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/014067369192917Q 

 

Here is one.  I don't have time to search for others now.


Unless you fork over $31.50, you don't have access to the full report.  Just because there is currently a link between stomach sleeping & SIDS without looking into all potential factors, a link may be totally meaningless.  I would bet $$ that the rate of SIDS in BF, unvax'd, co-sleeping babies to non-smoking parents is very low or even non-existent.  Is there a study out there that considers these factors?

 

I have no doubt that back sleeping helps to prevent SIDS in children that are at risk b/c of the factors I just mentioned & possibly others.  

 

Personally, DS did a lot of side sleeping, in part to prevent him from having the all so common "flat head" syndrome I see in so many kids today.  He probably would have been fine on his tummy. From the 1st day I brought him home, he was able to move himself closer to me if I didn't have him sleeping right against me.  I was utterly shocked that a newborn could move this much b/c I had been led to believe that newborns couldn't move like this.


Parker'smommy's Avatar Parker'smommy
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Here's the thing about tummy sleeping. Babies DO sleep better on their tummies. They sleep longer and deeper. AND that is the reason why back sleeping is used to lessen the risk of SIDS. Babies who sleep deeper and don't rouse as often.  And studies have found that babies that don't rouse often have a higher risk of SIDS. That's why co sleeping and bfing is a way to prevent SIDS. A baby who rouses to eat often has a lower risk. It's also why they have told parents lately to offer a pacifier to an infant. The infant doesn't get in that deeper type of sleep when they are constantly suckling. 

 

 

Does tummy sleeping = SIDS? Heck no! But, I bet if you asked any parent whose child passed away from SIDS and were sleeping on their tummies, if they wish they would have just put up with the lighter sleep and more wakings...well, I think we all know the answer to that one. 

 

It's a risk I'm not willing to make. My baby is also a rainbow baby, so, well, that introduces a whole other level of not risking on my part with my baby though. My other two kids slept on their tummies and I poo poo'd all of the Back to Sleep campaign stuff. But then, I did the research. And there was a SIGNIFICANT drop in SIDS after the Back to Sleep campaign. And it makes sense to me. 

 

In the end, you have to do what you are comfortable with. Good luck!


Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233
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No, I don't think tummy sleeping produces SIDS. I think the back-to-sleep campaign helped reduced the SIDS cases because parents were becoming more educated about SIDS itself and were making the crib safer. I don't think it really had anything to do with the tummy vs back sleeping. JMHO.

My oldest was born at the start of the back to sleep stuff, the nurses insisted she sleep on her back. When on her back and asleep her heart rate slowed to dangerously low and she stopped breathing. Multiple times. In my heart I feel that had she not been on monitors she probably would have passed away and labeled as a SIDS baby. There was no medical explanation for why this happened to her and they ran a TON of tests. When we got out of the hospital we were discharged with a monitor that monitored her heart and breathing. When the machine alarmed we'd have to rouse her to get her to breath again and her heart rate up. After being stressed to the max because the machine kept sounding alarms I flipped her to her tummy, knowing that if she did stop breathing the machine would warn me. She NEVER set the machine off again. 6 weeks later they did a 24 hour test on her and determined she no longer needed the machine because she was no longer having the heart rate issues or breathing issues when on her tummy.

My next 2 kids slept on their tummies. I co-slept with the youngest and the one night she slept on her back I woke up suddenly feeling something was wrong. I lay there staring at her, she wasn't breathing. I shook her, she gasped, sucking in air and flipped her to her tummy. Do I think all babies should sleep on their tummies? I think parents should practice safe sleeping habits whether crib or co-sleeping and do what they feel is right for THEIR child. Every child is different and no answer will fit every child.
Hannah32's Avatar Hannah32
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I think back sleeping is appropriate in a newborn. However, I don't buy the argument that every baby must be put down on their backs for the entirety of their first year. I think, once they can roll, it's fine to put them tummy down. 

 


Shami's Avatar Shami (TS)
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HI! OP here and sorry I didn't make it back to my own thread sooner:o

Thanks for all the replies. To whomever asked about how they put babies to sleep in Sri Lanka. I haven't had a chance to ask his family, but I know his sister used a bassinet in her bedroom for her new born. I think they have been influenced by the British, but it depends on how wealthy the family is. My husband's family has a big house with many rooms. I'll have to ask during our next skype call.

I do know that they do not use disposable diapers much. It is very hot there all year round. They use a square shaped rubber mat and place the baby on the mat with a cloth diaper. Sometimes they would put the rubber mat on their lap and lay the baby in their lap. When they take the baby out in public, they put this big black, ugly spot in the middle of their forehead. This is to keep the 'evil' eye away. So when strangers stare at the baby, the baby is protected from the 'evil' eye. I thought that was a very interesting superstition.

I'll be back after I talk to dh's family. Enjoying all the thoughts on this thread.
APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awallrising View Post

Quote:


Unless you fork over $31.50, you don't have access to the full report.  Just because there is currently a link between stomach sleeping & SIDS without looking into all potential factors, a link may be totally meaningless.  I would bet $$ that the rate of SIDS in BF, unvax'd, co-sleeping babies to non-smoking parents is very low or even non-existent.  Is there a study out there that considers these factors?

 

I have no doubt that back sleeping helps to prevent SIDS in children that are at risk b/c of the factors I just mentioned & possibly others.  

 

Personally, DS did a lot of side sleeping, in part to prevent him from having the all so common "flat head" syndrome I see in so many kids today.  He probably would have been fine on his tummy. From the 1st day I brought him home, he was able to move himself closer to me if I didn't have him sleeping right against me.  I was utterly shocked that a newborn could move this much b/c I had been led to believe that newborns couldn't move like this.



You know awallrising, a link might just be totally meaningless, but until I have additional information telling me that it isn't, I'm going to keep going with the best info I have now.  Sorry you can't open the whole link.  There are lots and lots of studies that you can research if you want to, which I have already done. google-scholar. I am not exactly sure what the benefit to pushing back to sleep would be if researchers didn't truly believe that it reduces the risk of SIDS.  Seems pretty silly to conduct study after study and throw lots of money at Back to Sleep campaigns all over the world, which have in fact, reduced the rate of SIDS dramatically, if there wasn't strong evidence that researchers believed it worked.  You're right...your son probably would have done absolutely fine on his tummy since more than 99% of kids are.  Its up to individual parents to make that decision for their kids based on perceived risks. 

 


Youngfrankenstein's Avatar Youngfrankenstein
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post





I am not exactly sure what the benefit to pushing back to sleep would be if researchers didn't truly believe that it reduces the risk of SIDS.  Seems pretty silly to conduct study after study and throw lots of money at Back to Sleep campaigns all over the world, which have in fact, reduced the rate of SIDS dramatically, if there wasn't strong evidence that researchers believed it worked.


The actual studies said that breastfeeding was the #1 preventative cause for SIDS (if you can really say there is one).  They don't want to make mom's who don't nurse feel bad.  Not smoking is the #2 preventative cause for SIDS.  Back sleeping was the third.  They felt it was something "everyone" can do....fine.  I have no objection to people making that choice.  What I hate to see is the fear from new moms going against their guts and falling deeper and deeper into sleep deprivation for a fear I feel is unjustified.  There seem to be soooo many things that could affect SIDS stats.  As we all know, the stats are very, very new and incomplete.  And what are the percentages over all?  Is 1 in 1000 dying of SIDS?  1 in 10,000?  I don't know. 

 

There are risk factors to back sleeping.  And many times it can lead to a very unhappy baby.  Also, the AAP would tell you bed sharing is dangerous and a possible contributor.  What to believe?

 

Like I said before, I don't think babies were designed "faulty" that tummy sleeping would be dangerous. 

 


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post




The actual studies said that breastfeeding was the #1 preventative cause for SIDS (if you can really say there is one).  They don't want to make mom's who don't nurse feel bad.  Not smoking is the #2 preventative cause for SIDS.  Back sleeping was the third.  They felt it was something "everyone" can do....fine.  I have no objection to people making that choice.  What I hate to see is the fear from new moms going against their guts and falling deeper and deeper into sleep deprivation for a fear I feel is unjustified.  There seem to be soooo many things that could affect SIDS stats.  As we all know, the stats are very, very new and incomplete.  And what are the percentages over all?  Is 1 in 1000 dying of SIDS?  1 in 10,000?  I don't know. 

 

There are risk factors to back sleeping.  And many times it can lead to a very unhappy baby.  Also, the AAP would tell you bed sharing is dangerous and a possible contributor.  What to believe?

 

Like I said before, I don't think babies were designed "faulty" that tummy sleeping would be dangerous. 

 



There is a lot of money thrown at breastfeeding campaigns as well as anti-smoking too, which is great.  Why not do all three if you're concerned about SIDS?  I agree that the risks are small regardless of how a baby sleeps, but each parent has to make that decision themselves and I doubt that families who have lost babies due to SIDS feel like the tiny statistics matter much.  I think your personal hypothesis that you don't think babies were designed "faulty" making tummy sleeping dangerous is meaningless.  You're quite critical of actual research considering you're basing your hypothesis on your own gut feeling and zero research.  I do mean that gently, even though it doesn't sound that way ;).   The  whole bed sharing thing...I just don't think most doctors can wrap their heads around the fact that there are actually people out there who don't sleep with their kids under a huge pile of blankets and pillows, while drunk or high.  Having worked in child welfare, the majority of the cases of bed-sharing deaths do involve dangerous situations which most MDC mamas would never put themselves in.  So, I get that campaign too, though I think more information needs to be provided to people. 

 


savithny's Avatar savithny
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Well, I actually don't think that babies were "designed..." but....

 

It's not "faulty" for there to be problems sleeping on the belly.   Where did anyone say "faulty?"  I

 

Why would you assume that tummy sleeping is a requirement for being well-designed and tummy sleeping not being idea is "faulty?"   What is so special about tummy sleeping?

 

Imagine being a human being before beds, before chairs.  Before *buildings.*      Imagine your life.

 

Now imagine laying your tiny baby down to sleep on its face.  Where would you do this?   On the ground with its face in the dirt?   On the floor of a cave?   Into a pile of grass?  

 

Does that seem all that realistic?

 

I"m not referring to sleeping belly-to-belly.   The data on tummy sleeping producing "too deep" a sleep also say that sleeping in close proximity to an adult *also* prevents sleeping too deep.

 

So essentially, if you put a baby down to sleep on it's belly in a place where it is not in close proximity to an adult --- you're doing TWO things that are KNOWN to cause babies to sleep so deeply that they *may* not rouse to breathe if something happens (sleep apnea, rebreathing CO2, what have you).   

 

IT makes a lot of sense, biologically, that it's not a good idea to put a baby into a crib, bassinette, bed, or playyard face down and leave the room.

 


katelove's Avatar katelove
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amatullah0 View Post
I don't believe in SIDS, other than it being a catch-all label to say "I'm sorry, we have no clue why your baby died." 


Is there another definition of SIDS? 

 



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