Posts Tagged ‘tummy time’

Safe sleep: room share, don’t bed share

Friday, October 28th, 2016

cropped sleeping babyIn an update to their safe sleep guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that infants should sleep in the same room, but not the same bed, as their parents ideally for the first year of life, but for at least the first 6 months. Evidence suggests that sleeping in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep surface decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%. In addition, this sleeping arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed. The AAP’s safe sleep recommendations include:

Back to sleep for every sleep. Your baby should be put on his back every time, by every caregiver until he is 1 year old. Side sleeping is not safe and is not advised. Premature babies should be placed on their backs to sleep as soon as possible. The AAP states, “Preterm infants are at increased risk of SIDS, and the association between prone [stomach] sleep position and SIDS among low birth weight and preterm infants is equal to, or perhaps even stronger than, the association among those born at term.”

Use a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress covered with a tightly fitted sheet. Use only the mattress made for your baby’s crib. The mattress should fit snugly in the crib so there are no spaces between the mattress and the crib frame. The mattress shape should stay firm even when covered with a tightly fitted sheet or mattress cover. Don’t let your baby sleep in his carrier, sling, car seat or stroller. Babies who sleep in these items can suffocate. If your baby falls asleep in one of them, take her out and put her in her crib as soon as you can.

Babies should sleep in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep-surface. Parents should not bed-share. Bed-sharing is the most common cause of death in babies younger than 3 months old. Keep your baby’s crib close to your bed so your baby is nearby during the night. Share your bedroom with your baby but not your bed.

Breastfeeding is recommended. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the sleep area. Crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, and toys in the crib put your baby in danger of getting trapped, strangled or of suffocating.

Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. It is not clear why, but studies show that pacifiers protect your baby from SIDS. This is true even if the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth. However, don’t hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck or attach the pacifier to your baby’s clothing or a stuffed animal.

Avoid smoke exposure, alcohol, and illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth. Babies who are around secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who aren’t to die of SIDS. And there is an increased risk of SIDS with maternal use of alcohol or illicit drugs.

Avoid overheating and head coverings. It is difficult to provide specific room temperature guidelines but in general, dress your baby appropriately for the environment. A blanket sleeper can keep your baby warm without covering his head or face.

Avoid the use of sleep positioners, wedges, or other devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Don’t use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS. These monitors track a baby’s heart rate and breathing. Some babies need this kind of monitor because of medical problems, but this is rare. There’s no evidence that the monitors help reduce the risk of SIDS in healthy babies.

Give your baby supervised tummy-time while he is awake. Babies need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles and tummy time helps. You can find some tummy time activities here.

It is important that all people who will care for your baby know these guidelines and follow them to keep your baby safe while he sleeps.

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Avoid a tragedy – learn safe sleep strategies

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

cropped sleeping babyEvery so often, we hear a tragic story from a new parent. Last week, a three week old baby died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This post is in memory of that baby, and our hearts go out to the family.

It is important for parents and caregivers to know safe sleep strategies. Please help us get the word out: ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.

Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play is an easy way to remember that all healthy babies should be put to sleep on their backs every time until their first birthday. Do not put your baby to sleep on her side, either. Most babies will roll over both ways by the end of the 7th month, but always start them out going to sleep on their backs. You can give your baby tummy time to help strengthen her back muscles when she is awake and you are watching her.

About 3,500 infants (less than one year of age) die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States, according to the CDC. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Most SIDS cases happen in babies between 2 and 4 months old. We don’t know what causes SIDS, but certain things can put babies at higher risk:

  • Bed sharing – do not sleep in the same bed as your baby. Sleeping in the same room is suggested, just not the same bed. Bed sharing is the biggest risk factor for SIDS in babies under 4 months of age.
  • Sofa or couch sleeping – do not let your baby sleep on the couch or soft surfaces, including pillows. Nearly 13 percent of infant sleeping deaths are sofa-related.
  • Wearing too many clothes or sleeping in a room that is too hot.
  • Sleeping on her tummy or side.

Read more about safe sleep, mom and baby care and other tips for reducing the risk of SIDS.

If you have questions about putting your baby to sleep, send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org or ask your baby’s health care provider.

If you or someone you know has lost a baby due to SIDS or an unknown reason, the Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center offers bereavement packets to families. Just email us with your mailing address and we will send one to you.

See other topics in the series on Delays and Disabilities- How to get help for your child, here.

 

Updated Sept. 2015

What is Torticollis?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Torticollis literally means twisted neck. It is a something you have most likely had at one time or another—many of us have probably woken up with it after sleeping in an unusual position.  However it can also occur in newborns.

In newborns, it is called infant torticollis or congenital muscular torticollis and it is relatively common. Boys and girls develop it equally.  The cause is not exactly clear. It may occur if the baby’s head is in the wrong position while growing in the womb, or if the muscles or blood supply to the neck are damaged. It may also occur after a difficult birth, especially if the baby is very large or is delivered in a breech position.

In torticollis, the sternocleidomastoid muscle, the large, rope-like muscle that runs on both sides of the neck from the back of the ears to the collarbone, is stretched or pulled. If it tears, then it causes bleeding and bruising within the muscle. Scar tissue then develops and this causes the muscle to shorten and tighten, pulling the baby’s head to one side. The scar tissue forms a mass or lump that sometimes can be felt on the side of the neck.

Congenital muscular torticollis may be visible at birth or it may not become evident until several weeks later. The following are the most common symptoms:
• tilting of the baby’s head to one side
• the baby’s chin turns toward the opposite side
• a firm, small, one to two centimeter mass is present in the middle of the sternocleidomastoid muscle

Babies may experience symptoms differently. And the symptoms of torticollis may resemble other neck masses or medical problems, so it is always important to talk to your baby’s health care provider if you are concerned.
In most cases torticollis is diagnosed through a physical exam, but sometimes x-rays and ultrasound may also be utilized.

Treating torticollis involves stretching the neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are used in infants and small children. The best way to treat torticollis is to encourage your baby to turn his or her head in both directions. This will help to loosen tense neck muscles and tighten the loose ones. Also it is important to remember tummy time.  Tummy time  helps to build both neck and shoulder muscles and helps your baby get ready to crawl.  Tummy time is important for all babies—not just those with torticollis.

Most babies with torticollis improve with stretching and positioning exercises.  In some cases though, surgery to correct the neck muscle may be necessary. Again, if you think your baby may have torticollis, make sure to talk to your health care provider.

Back vs. tummy time

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

tummy-timeAlmost all of us have heard about the Back to Sleep campaign to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the sudden, unexplained death of an infant under one year old.   Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs, but “tummy time” is important, too. Babies still need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles. The best way to help your newborn build her muscles is to give her some tummy time while she’s awake and being watched. Never leave your baby alone during tummy time. When the baby gets tired, place the baby on her back to sleep.

I read an interesting article in The New York Times yesterday about tummy time and its importance.  What really caught my eye were the comments left after the article.  While most parents are aware of the Back to Sleep recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the success rate of reducing SIDS, a number of parents said they didn’t agree with it and put their babies to sleep on their stomachs.  I was stunned.  You know what we think.  What do you think?

Tummy time for babies

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Many moms know to place newborns on their backs when it’s time to sleep.  Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffer from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But babies still need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles.  The best way to help your newborn build her muscles is to give her some tummy time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great tips for strengthening your baby’s muscles. When she’s awake, place her on her stomach to see how much she can move on her own.  A baby younger than 2-months-old may struggle to raise her head to look around but may still be able to lift her head for a few seconds.

While your baby is on her stomach, extend her arms and place a rolled-up receiving blanket underneath her chest and arms. Keep your newborn on her belly for a few seconds at a time each day until she can work her way up to holding her head up for longer. You can motivate her by bringing yourself down to her eye level so she can look at you.  You can also try placing a rattle or other attractive toy in front of her to get her attention.

These baby exercises will strengthen her neck and arm muscles, so that when she’s around 4-months-old, she’ll be able to hold her head and chest up.  Once she achieves this milestone, she’ll need less head and neck support when you hold her.  Her new upper body strength will help her remain steady and upright when she’s learning to sit up at around 5 months of age. She’ll also need these skills when she’s learning to roll over and crawl.

As with all baby activities, keep a close watch on her and never leave your baby unattended.