Posts Tagged ‘caregivers’

Is your baby sleeping safely?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Did you know that each year there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies in the U.S.? Causes include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes.

After the “Back to Sleep” safe sleep campaign was introduced in the 1990s, the number of sleep-related deaths were greatly reduced.  But since the late 1990s the decline has slowed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that looked at safe sleeping practices. They found that:

  • About 1 in 5 mothers (21.6%) placed their baby on their side or stomach to sleep.
  • More than half of mothers (61.4%) reported any bed sharing with their baby.
  • 2 in 5 mothers (38.5%) reported using any soft bedding in the baby’s sleep area

How can you keep your baby safe when you put her to sleep?

The best place for your baby to sleep is in a bassinet or crib. If you have multiples (twins, triplets or more), put each baby in his own bassinet or crib. Here’s what else you can do to make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe place:

  • Place your baby on her back at all sleep times until she’s 1 year old – this includes naps and at night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved mattress and crib.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys.
  • Share a room with your baby, but not the same bed.

And remember that while you may know about how to create a safe sleep environment for your baby, other people may not. Grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who may take care of your baby should be made aware of the importance of safe sleep.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

What all caregivers need to know about safe sleep for babies

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Sleep is important for your baby’s health. It is also important to make sure that your baby’s sleeping environment is safe. Safe sleep can help protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other dangers.

While you may know about how to create a safe sleep environment, other people caring for your baby may not. Grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who may take care of your baby should be made aware of the importance of safe sleep.

Here is a short video that reviews the basics of safe sleep for caregivers, courtesy of the NIH’s Safe to Sleep® campaign:

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Special moms need special care

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

two women meditatingA new study published in Pediatrics shows that groups led by other moms reduced stress in mothers of children with disabilities. It helped to improve “maternal well-being and long-term caregiving for children with complex developmental, physical, and behavioral needs.” These support groups were uniquely focused on learning specialized techniques to reduce stress.

Mothers of children with developmental disabilities experience stress, anxiety and depression more often and to a greater degree than mothers who parent children without disabilities. It is thought that the chronic stress and the associated poor health that often result may impact a mom’s ability to parent effectively.

This study looked at what would happen if a program were put in place specifically for moms of children with disabilities (or what I will call “Special Moms”).  Researchers randomly assigned 243 Special Moms into two groups to attend a program led by peer mentors (eg. other Special Moms who received training to lead the groups).

One group learned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) techniques while the other group learned Positive Adult Development (PAD) techniques. MBSR and PAD are evidence-based practices, which mean that they have been shown, through research, to be beneficial.

The MBSR group learned meditation, breathing and movement techniques and the relaxation response. The PAD group learned ways to “temper emotions such as guilt, conflict, worry and pessimism by identifying and recruiting character strengths and virtues…and by exercises involving gratitude, forgiveness, grace and optimism.” All the moms attended weekly group sessions and practiced what they learned at home on a daily basis.

What were the results?

According to the study, the moms in both groups experienced less stress, anxiety and depression, and improved sleep and life satisfaction.  After 6 months, these improvements continued. There were some differences between the two groups that related to whether they received the MBSR or PAD practice, but the important take-away from this study is that both treatments proved beneficial to the moms.

There are programs in place to help children with disabilities, but few programs exist to help their parents, especially when the stress causes mental, emotional and physical fatigue. Moms often become anxious or depressed, which does not help them as they face the intense daily challenges of parenting a child with a disability. This study shows the positive effect of proven stress reduction techniques when taught in a peer-mentored program.

The authors conclude that “future studies should be done on how trained mentors and professionals can address the mental health needs of mothers of children with developmental disabilities since doing so can improve maternal well-being and long-term caregiving for children with complex needs.”

Bottom line

If you are a Special Mom, your personal take-away message from this study is to try to include a stress reduction program into your daily life, such as meditation, yoga, or another relaxation technique. If you can do so with a group of other Special Moms, all the better!

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. While on News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” in the Categories menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date (just keep scrolling down). We welcome your comments and input.