My parents didn’t follow these safe sleep guidelines when I was an infant and I turned out fine. Why should I use these tips with my baby?
Sleep-related deaths, including SIDS and accidental strangulation or suffocation in bed, are the number one cause of death for children under 12 months old. You probably didn’t hear about SIDS deaths when you were a kid, but they happened and at a higher rate than today, in large part because of safe sleep practices. Why take the risk?
If my baby is on his or her back to sleep, can’t he or she aspirate or choke?
No, this is a myth: due to human anatomy and gravity, aspiration while sleeping on one’s back is virtually impossible. Consult your pediatrician if your child has reflux or other health issues related to eating.
If my baby sleeps on his or her back, won’t he or she get a flat head?
Flat head, or plagiocephaly, can occur when a child is on his or her back for an excessive amount of time. Avoid this by engaging in supervised Tummy Time, and moving your baby’s head while he or she sleeps so that his or her head is not always in the same position.
My twins were next to each other in my womb for nine months: can’t they sleep together now?
No. Just because they are twins does not mean that they have a special awareness of their surroundings: one twin can easily lay an arm over the face of the other, causing the other to suffocate. Every baby needs his or her own sleep environment.
My lactation consultant told me that bed-sharing is a great way to improve bonding and promote breastfeeding. My lactation consultant also said that there are ways to ensure that bed sharing is safe. Is this true?
While bed sharing may improve bonding and promote breastfeeding, nothing makes bed sharing safe. And while bonding and breastfeeding are very important, neither requires you to share a sleep surface with your baby. The supposed benefits of bed sharing simply do not outweigh the definite risks.