A comment on SIDS guidelines

I've been wanting to say this for awhile but restrained myself for fear of opening a can of worms. The latest SIDS post has made me decide to do it. 

I followed guidelines with P, she was in with us until just short of 6 months and with me for naps etc. Although i didn't freak out if i needed the loo or similar. 

Can i just state though that the SINGLE biggest contributing factor to SIDS is a baby sleeping on its front. The statistics show so so so clearly that since campaign in the early 90s to put babies on their back deaths were reduced by (i forgot the exact figure) but i think about 80%. 

When P was tiny she refused to sleep anywhere but on us or on her front. We were desperate and so i did extensive research on SIDS and guidelines and contributing factors. I read articles and journals and research papers etc etc. Without fail every source and statistic states that baby being on their back is THE most important thing. SO we didn't put her on her from we stayed up in shifts for nearly 3months holding her rather than put her on her front as i simply couldn't live with the 'what ifs'. 

The reason i post this is because if someone mentions leaving the room with a sleeping baby for 5 minutes all hell breaks loose on here. People state guidelines etc etc. Am i'm not saying it's not an important guideline and that it shouldn't be pointed out. But i have seen time after time that people put their baby on their front 'because it works for them' or 'baby won't sleep any other way'. And no one quotes guidelines, no one contradicts them. WHich is unlike us, we're usually hot on pointing these things out. I can think of 4 or 5 well know MDers who have said loads of times they do this and no one has said anything (me included). 

I just wanted to point this out. It's not aimed at anyone in particular but i worry sometimes that the BIGGEST SIDS risk factor is sometimes forgotten about it. 

There. Said my bit and now i'll go to bed!!

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  • Good posting, worth pointing out.

  • I think it is because normally it is after a lot of trying and heartache that the decision is made to put baby on their front to sleep. Only ime though,  I could be wrong. I am really pleased that such a discussion has been had without any drama...makes a nice change from sone things I've read recently :)

  • Thank you for this post. I've never noticed anyone posting about their baby being a front sleeper but that's probably more because I stick mainly to the tri threads at the moment - but also it probably wouldn't raise the red flag in my mind immediately as it obviously does you, so thank you for highlighting it!

  • Well done for posting that AR, I for one didnt really appreciate how much of an increased risk front sleeping was, mainly because O was happy on his back so I never read up on it.

  • AR I didn't know tummy sleeping was the highest risk factor and by that amount either, thanks for posting about it. I've also seen a few tummy posts lately and was mildly surprised they weren't questioned, and I guess it did make me think that perhaps tummy sleeping wasn't as dangerous as it actually is, so it just shows the power of forums and the risks of taking everything you read as Gospel, without doing proper research and making informed decisions based on that.

    Well done for the shift work with P, you and your H must have been exhausted. We are very grateful to have a back sleeper and I guess that's why I had no idea about the stats on tummy sleeping being the biggest contributor.

  • Have there been lots of SIDS posts recently? I don't get on here enough! Good for you for posting this AR. I have many friends IRL who have done this as its the only way baby will sleep! I just keep emailing the FSIDS website link to them Laugh

  • I've debated posting this in fear of being flamed, but I hold my hands up. I have a tummy sleeper.

    Yes it's against SIDS guidelines and believe me I have read an re read everything I can on it.

    But when you have a tiny baby who point blank refuses to sleep if on their back, and cries constantly on their back, who will ONLY sleep on your shoulder. When you're so exhausted that its a real danger that you will fall asleep with baby on your shoulder and baby will possibly fall into the pillows. When you battle with all of that, try a hammock, co sleeping, side sleeping. When nothing works. Then you may be able to understand why sometimes there is no other option and that it may well be against guidelines but it may also be imminently safer for the baby than falling into pillows when you are so bone achingly tired that you could fall asleep while holding them all night long.

    I don't see that this is at all the same as choosing to put baby to sleep in a different room because someone wants to cook or eat or watch TV. Tummy sleeping was safer for Iris full stop. If I hadn't put her on her tummy there was a very real danger she would fall into my pillows one night.

    She stays downstairs with us every night, she is less than 2ft from my head, I don't smoke, I breastfeed, we have a breathing monitor. Sometimes it IS just right for a family and I stand by my decision. I haven't made the decision lightly, I have full knowledge of the FSID guidelines but I have chosen to put Iris on her tummy.

    I'm not blind to the dangers, I haven't ignored guidelines, I have assessed risk and made an informed decision based on what is right for my daughter. And trut me I did battle with it, I know I am judged for it both on here and IRL. But sometimes just sometimes you have to accept that only the parent knows what is best for their child.

    Just an alternative POV.

    ETA:

    And just having re-read the OP. Sleeping in shifts isn't always possible. My H works as a field sales person, he drives to meetings, has to be awake and alert every day. We couldn't have sustained sleeping in shifts, especially as H was often also in with the toddler who's sleep broke when the baby was born.

    Just because one family chooses that as their solution doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

    By all means quote guidelines to people and inform people of the information, but believe me when I say that I'm sure no parent makes a tummy sleeping decision lightly and it's not because we don't care about FSID guidelines, its most probably because we feel we have no other choice as have tried all alternatives.

  • But Hep I don't think you have made that decision, little I has made that decision and it doesn't look like there's a fat lot you could do about it. You are totally right, the only other alternative is her sleeping on you and you have weighed up the risks and made the right decision. Putting a baby to sleep on their back, no smoking, always in the same room etc etc won't ever erase the risk of SIDS, all you can do is make an informed choice on how to limit the risk as much as you can. As you have done. I can't see how anyone can judge you for that.

  • I do understand Hep because i did have that baby and i did feel that exhaustion. 10 solid weeks P refused to sleep anywhere except our shoulders or her tummy. Hence all of my extensive research. I tried every type of sleeping device going, i cried and cried and i posted on here desperate for help. I really do understand.

    If you have done all the research and decide it was the right move for you then that's fine. It wasn't the right decision for me but, as you say, it's about us making decisions that are right for our families. It's not about judging people. I don't judge you for I sleeping on her front at all.

    I didn't mean this to be judgment about anyone and their decisions. It was just meant to inform people, and as lots of people have said about, so many people don't know how dangerous front sleeping is. The point of posting is that most babies DO sleep better on their front, they do wake less frequently and so people often do it without knowing the full facts. That's why i posted. It's in the same vein as people putting baby in their own room early because they sleep better, yes they often do but that's the whole point, they aren't supposed to.

    Hope that makes sense. My only aim was to inform people, not to judge them.

  • I am not sure any of the people who put their babies down on their tummies to sleep that post on here have taken that decision lightly! I also wonder how many of those tummy sleepers are second babies. I think that second/ third/ fourth time round you don't have the luxury of running yourself as ragged - baby/ babies need to sleep as much as possible as there is no chance to "sleep when the baby sleeps" during the day. You need to do what you can to hold everyone's day/ routine together as you can't exist in a little bubble like you do with your first. Sleep is crucial to that. Sometimes being practical is all you can do.

  • RobinSparkles

    I am not sure any of the people who put their babies down on their tummies to sleep that post on here have taken that decision lightly! I also wonder how many of those tummy sleepers are second babies. I think that second/ third/ fourth time round you don't have the luxury of running yourself as ragged - baby/ babies need to sleep as much as possible as there is no chance to "sleep when the baby sleeps" during the day. You need to do what you can to hold everyone's day/ routine together as you can't exist in a little bubble like you do with your first. Sleep is crucial to that. Sometimes being practical is all you can do.

    This. exactly this.

    And Hepburn, thank you for posting. It is so hard to feel so judged when all youhave done is make the best decision you can make for your family taking all information available into consideration. Not all babies have read the guidelines and sometimes they just wont be taught!

  • As i said. My aim was not to get at people who had made an educated and researched decision but to inform people who might not be aware. As people have said, a lot of people didn't know how dangerous it was/is. The reason being that i feel the point often gets overlooked on here.

  • RobinSparkles

    I think that second/ third/ fourth time round you don't have the luxury of running yourself as ragged - baby/ babies need to sleep as much as possible as there is no chance to "sleep when the baby sleeps" during the day. You need to do what you can to hold everyone's day/ routine together as you can't exist in a little bubble like you do with your first. Sleep is crucial to that. Sometimes being practical is all you can do.

    Really well-put! 

  • **sigh**

    I don't know how many different ways to say that the ONLY point to this post is to inform people of something i feel gets overlooked.

    I know full well life isn't perfect and we do what we can to get by. I'm not a guideline 'slave' as such. It's not about second babies or routines or being practical.

    This is a simple statement of fact to educate people who might not be aware. A fact about the dangers of tummy sleeping. That's it.

  • Interesting AR, I didn't know that but then both mine were happy on their backs. Can I ask, do you know why its such a danger? Is it to do with them not being able to turn their heads away if their faces go into the mattress, or something else?

  • AutumnRose

    **sigh**

    I don't know how many different ways to say that the ONLY point to this post is to inform people of something i feel gets overlooked.

    I know full well life isn't perfect and we do what we can to get by. I'm not a guideline 'slave' as such. It's not about second babies or routines or being practical.

    This is a simple statement of fact to educate people who might not be aware. A fact about the dangers of tummy sleeping. That's it.

    AR, I didn't think anyone was disagreeing with you. 

    It's great you posted because back-sleeping was the main thrust of advice I received. That and (what felt like) 'breastfeed at all costs', so if others didn't get the advice about front/back sleeping, the more it's mentioned the better. It might be - for me - also because I am old enough to remember Anne Diamond's loss and the later press campaign about tummy sleeping. 

  • I know you we're only trying to inform AR, I know you didn't mean the OP to be judgmental.

    However your post did have a 'I managed without putting baby on its front' feeling about it, and you did specifically mention that MDers have never been contradicted and nobody ever quotes guidelines. It is a hard decision to make and I'm sure all parents that have made it have battled with it.

    I felt that I had to reply because its not just about guidelines, it's also about perceived risk vs real risk and, in my case, the real risk was me falling asleep in bed with baby.

    Things aren't always black and white.

    I hope that people read your post and do learn about the dangers of tummy sleeping, it is a real risk. But I also hope they see that, if it is their only option, then they should weigh up the options and decide what is best for them.

  • Ok- well as long as people get the jist of what i meant. 

    I was trying to get across that knew how it felt to be that desperate with sleep rather than an 'i managed without, good for me' but i guess it could be read the other way. 

    Hopefully a few people will be informed about the dangers at least, that's all i'm after Big Smile

  • AR, I think this post has highlighted the risks to some who had no idea. A job well done. Hug

  • After having 2 kids, I still never knew about risks of tummy sleeping.

    Fab post AR.

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