Sunday, 02 January 2011
"Mom, don't cover him. He's already in a sleeper and I don't want him hot. They say hot babies are prone to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)."
"Don't put him on his stomach if you aren't going to be watching him. It puts him at risk for SIDS."
"We have to take down the bumpers on the crib, because they say it might cause SIDS."
Sound familiar? For me, all of these have been said in the past 24 hours ... No, I am not exaggerating. And even worse, they have been said by me. Last night, I realized that I have become that mom - the overly paranoid first time mom that is so nervous about everything that I stress myself out. Funny thing is, I always told myself that I wouldn't.
Now, let me say this - I am not downplaying SIDS. I have a good friend whose son passed away at two months from SIDS. It is a tragic thing, and I would never wish that upon anybody's child.
With that said, I sometimes like to think that SIDS in infants is like cancer in adults - everything causes it, if you listen to the statistics. I used to work at a daycare, and as a requirement we had to take "training" classes on certain subjects - SIDS being one of them. Three hours of sitting and listening to a lady talk about how everything you do will raise your child's risk of SIDS. It was a very informative class, however sometimes I wonder if ignorance is really bliss when it comes to certain subjects. I am not saying I don't care about my child's life and safety. I am not saying that I find SIDS and the statistics to be ridiculous or something to be ignored. I just think that sometimes moms, like myself, have a tendency to worry too much about things like that.
The statistics say that boys are 20% more likely to die from SIDS than girls. So my son already has three strikes against him. After six months, typically the child is out of the "danger zone" but is still prone to it for the first year. The child needs to be placed on a firm mattress, and to remove all soft objects from around him/her. If a person around the baby smokes, whether in the house or not, it also raises the risk. The statistics also say that African American babies are more likely to die from SIDS than any other race. A child that is overheated can also be at risk, as well as a child that is co-sleeping with their parents. And definitely put the baby on their back to go to sleep. They say that once the baby can roll over on their own, they are typically out of that "danger zone."
Most importantly they say that SIDS is NOT preventable. There are no ways to tell what child will die from SIDS and what child won't. You can only lower the factors. It sucks because as a parent, I want to be able to control something as serious as life and death, and with SIDS, you can't.
I will be the first to say that as much as I DO know about SIDS, I seem to have broken some of these "rules" already. For example, we co-slept with our son for the first two months. He just couldn't sleep away from us. Literally by a stroke of luck, he has gotten used to sleeping in his crib, but his crib is in the room with us for now. I figure once he's about a year old or so, we will give him his own room. Maybe... Also, we have put him on his back to sleep sometimes. My boyfriend is a welder, works ten hours a day (at least) and has to be up by 5 AM. Our son, who just passed his two month mark, now sleeps for four to five hours at a time on his belly, not to mention he sleeps more soundly.
So usually at night we put him to sleep on his tummy. I mean, how many of our moms and grandmothers put their children to sleep on their bellies. My mom told me I would not sleep on my back as an infant. I am still alive, 23 years later. Not to justify it, but I don't leave him alone in the room, either.
I am at a crossroads. It might sound selfish but for the sake of my sanity, I don't see the problem with letting my baby sleep on his tummy. However, after classes and research, my brain keeps beating me up for doing so. It's hard, because I don't know what part of me to listen to. I look at moms in the past (or even my own mom, who has also worked at a day care for ten years after raising two kids), and they seemed to raise children just fine with no worry of SIDS or the SIDS rules. So I don't know.
At this point, I am just taking it one day at a time. I am not a perfect woman, or a perfect mom, but I am definitely trying my hardest. I know that between classes and my own research, I will probably find tons of other things to make me more of a worrier than I already am. And I don't know if I am okay with that or not, but I am pretty sure there isn't much I can do to stop it besides catching myself and reminding myself that everything will be okay.
What about other moms -do you worry about SIDS?