Part 1: What parents can do to reduce the risk of SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a new parents’ greatest fear. SIDS is an inexplicable phenomenon that occurs across the globe in all cultures – some infants die suddenly in their sleep. Despite thorough investigations including a review of the clinic history and autopsy, no cause of death can be found.

Because newborns spend between 12 and 17 hours asleep in their first few months of life, the infants are often unsupervised at the time of death and so parents are left with many unanswered questions. Did they die peacefully? Is there anything we could have done to prevent this happening?

In Part 1 we cover how you can help reduce the risk of SIDS in your home

There are a lot of questions we cannot yet answer, but what we do know about SIDS has been gathered through studying thousands of cases: >>>

• The incidence of SIDS peaks in infants between 2-4 months
• Premature infants are more at risk than full–term infants
• More infants died whilst sleeping on their stomachs than on their backs
• Breastfeeding was a protective factor – exclusive breastfeeding had the most protective effect, but some breastfeeding was better than none at preventing SIDS.
• Co-sleeping (especially with a parent/partner who was a smoker) is a common factor in SIDS cases
• Another risk factor is a baby sleeping on or near parents who are under the influence of alcohol, prescription medicine or sleeping pills
• Sleeping in a room away from parents increased the risk of SIDS
• Co-sleeping on a couch or on an old, soft mattress were also risk factors
• Interestingly, devices that recorded a baby’s heart rate and breathing did not seem to be a protective factor in reducing SIDS.
• The use of a dummy/pacifier is a protective factor, even if the dummy falls out the infant’s mouth.
• Swaddling is a risk factor once a baby has learned to roll.

The American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) recently held a press conference to unveil the “Safe to Sleep” campaign. This is the first time since 2011 that infant sleep guidelines have been published.

Here is a summary of the recommendations to new parents:

1. Babies should sleep on their backs in a separate cot/crib/bassinette in the same room as their parents until at least one year of age
2. A baby’s cot should be fitted with a firm mattress that fits snuggly in the cot, such as the Sealy cot mattress
3. The mattress can be covered with a thin, fitted mattress protector, such as the Sealy Posturepedic® Soft Touch Cot Mattress Protector, made from natural bamboo fabric and a breathable fitted sheet. There should be no loose sheets, bumpers, wedges, pillows or toys in the cot.
4. The baby should be dressed in the correct amount of layers of clothing and/or use wearable blankets. Loose blankets, quilts and weighted blankets should be avoided.
5. All electrical wires, window blind cords and dummy cords should be removed from the cot.
6. Place them in their cot for every nap and every night sleep.
7. Avoid allowing baby to sleep in a baby car-chair or sling where they may overheat or suffocate. Move them to their cot as soon as possible.

In terms of cot alternatives, parents are encouraged to think critically when buying products such as co-sleeping bed extensions and baby crib hammocks such as the Cresent Womb newborn hammock and to apply the same recommendations to these devices.

The Sealy Cot Mattress – Giving your baby the best start

Every parent aims to give their baby the best they can and most nesting begins with just that… building your baby’s very own nest or nursery. Most moms-to-be feel terribly anxious until they are satisfied with where and how their baby is going to sleep. One of the biggest decisions that parents-to-be face is whether to co-sleep with their baby or put their baby in its own cot. The Sealy Cot Mattress is the answer for many moms.

Whatever you decide, there will be many times in that first month (and beyond!) where a cot will be a practical solution during self-care activities (bathing, dressing etc..), whilst minding other children or pets or if co-sleeping means you’re not getting much sleep at all.

The style of cot is dependent on your personal taste but a good quality mattress is a must. Sealy has two exciting products that will surely enhance your nest. The first is the Sealy Cot Mattress made of natural fibres that are waterproof, but breathable. The mattress fibres have a polyurethane layer that allows air to pass through but prevents liquids from following along. This ensures that the mattress retains its anti-bacterial properties despite the spills and thrills that come along with baby-rearing. At the same time your baby is ensured comfort and ventilation. Furthermore, Sealy’s individually wrapped pocket springs give postural support to your babies developing body. To clean simply wipe down the mattress with a damp cloth.

The second product is the Soft Touch Bamboo Cot Mattress Protector. Bamboo is a soft, natural fibre that absorbs six times more moisture than cotton. The mattress protector serves to make your mattress last longer but also to keep your baby as comfortable as possible.

A good night’s rest is one step closer with a safe sleeping environment that is clean, dry and warm. Visit the Sealy website to find out more about Sealy’s range of mattresses and accessories.

Read more about babies and sleep here:

Sleep thieves that may be waking your baby

Reader-approved sleep tips for Mombies

Why all babies in Finland sleep in a box

Finland loves moms. In fact, the Finns have taken such good care of their moms that it’s no wonder they are now known as “the happiest in the world”. Happy mom, happy baby, happy family!

What makes them so happy?
• Finnish mothers access free healthcare during their pregnancy and birth (as well as thereafter)
• Finnish mothers receive two years paid maternity leave whilst their job remains secure
• Finnish mothers have the highest breastfeeding rate in the world (at 98%)
• Finnish mothers with older children have no homework to supervise
• Finnish kids go to the local neighbourhood school, which is just as good as any other, so there is no need to pay high school fees or travel far.
• Finnish kids have the highest school scores world-wide despite actually only attending school for 3 hours per day.

You would think that all this ‘parental support’ would be enough of a gift from the government but no… they are too generous to stop there.
Since 1939, mothers in Finland have also been receiving a ‘baby shower gift’ known as the Maternity Box filled with all the essentials. The box comes with mattress, clothes, cloth nappies, blankets and a picture book. With the mattress in place, the box doubles as a bed for the newborn. In 1939, Finland was a poor country with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world (65 out of every 1000 births resulted in death by age 1). The government provided mothers with the box to promote babies co-sleeping safely- the box could easily be put next to the parents’ bed or in between them.

Today, thanks to the box as well as the other services provided by the welfare state, Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate worldwide (less than 1 out of every 1000 births).

The best part? Finland treats all babies as precious equals and so each family has the chance to start as they wish to continue- with their mothers and babies well cared for.
The only item we think the Finns could add to their box? Well, the Sealy cot mattress of course. Visit the Sealy website to find out more about our cot mattress: www.sealy.co.za

For more information on creating a safe space for your baby to sleep check out this blog:

Creating a safe sleep space for your baby

Article written by Roxanne Atkinson

Reader-approved sleep tips for Mombies

We asked for your best sleep tips for new moms and ‘woah baby’ you gave us some great ones! Here are the five top tips that could help Mombies that elusive sleep they’re after.

1. ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ – Submitted by Charmaine Priviledge Mahoya

By far the most popular advice, this little pearl of wisdom was echoed again and again by Sealy fans. Whilst many moms acknowledged that actually sleeping can be difficult, Annelize had a great point: “Lie down even if you can’t sleep. Get off your feet, relax on the couch but stay off the phone.”

With statements such as “master the art of ‘sleeping when baby sleeps’ from an early stage so that you can get a few winks of sleep whilst baby is resting too” (Jackie Naidoo) and “Sleep any chance you are given” (Karen) it is clear that sleep needs to be a priority once baby arrives.

Alzita Van Der Merwe-De Wet added, “go to bed as early as possible- you will thank yourself during the 3am feed”

2. ‘The laundry and dishes can wait’ – Nicola Meyer

Sandy Maharajh agreed: “Yes, there is a ton of work to do while baby sleeps, but that is also the only time for you to nap. Delegate chores to family willing to help and get those much needed Zzzzz’s while baby naps.” Bongiwe Mbhele added her voice to the choir: “It’s not the end of the world if your house is not sparkling clean.”

“Accept that your house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once baby is up, you have to be up too.” – Chantal Natalie August

3. ‘Getting help does not mean you are a bad mom’ – Kurt

It really does take a village and moms should fee no shame asking family and friends for help when they need it. Many dads want to share parenting, but in the early days, are not sure what they can do.

“Nursing mothers might consider pumping milk so Dad can take care of at least one nighttime feeding” Losh Don Kisten said, whilst Anushka Moonilal had a similar idea saying that “[dads and moms] can alternate days [and nights]” so that each person is getting a good night’s sleep every other day.

4. ‘Take care of yourself”- Andrea Bester

New moms are often torn between their needs and their baby’s needs. However, a happy mom = happy home so love yourself as much as you do your baby.
• If baby needs to eat nourishing meals, so too does mom.
• If baby needs love and affection, so too does mom.
• If baby needs a clean, comfortable bed so too does mom.

A soothing bed is essential to make sure that the limited hours of sleep you do get, are comfortable ones. Sealy has beautiful beds for mom and babe.

5. ‘Babies are all different’ – Anitha Maharaj

The best sleep tip of all acknowledges that sleep will look different for each baby and family. What matters is that your sleep solution works for your family. Dawn Clarke put it plainly: “Honestly, don’t look at other moms… you’re not them… and they are not you… Trust your gut and instinct.”

“Hang in there mom. You are a good mom and it does get better, I promise!” added Jessica Otto.

So there you have it. The top five Sealy sleep tips for new moms are:
• Sleep when baby sleeps
• Let the laundry and dishes wait
• Ask for help
• Take care of yourself
• Accept that babies are all different

Get all the tips in the comments section of this article:

Sleep tips for new moms

The Hush Hat that reduces noise for your baby

All parents have been there… that moment when your baby has just nodded off and as you breath a sigh of relief there’s a ‘Ding Dong!’ or ‘Beep beep’ or ‘Woof woof’ ending in a very loud ‘Waaaaaah!’ from baby.

When babies first fall asleep, it takes around 15 minutes for them to pass through light sleep into deeper REM sleep. Any sudden noise can startle and wake them (read more about Baby Sleep Thieves here). And that could be all the sleep they get from that nap… a mere 5 or 10 minutes- not enough for baby and definitely not enough for Mama or Papa!

Enter the Hush Hat – a pretty-darn ingenious invention by an American mama. It is a sound-absorbing hat made from visco-elastic medical grade foam that is also soft and comfortable.

The Hush hat blocks all excessive, intrusive noises that register above 75 decibels. It does not block out all noise as this would be unhelpful for a baby’s long-term language development and sleep habits, but does insure that your baby gets a chance to adapt to its new noisy world.

It is said to be very comfortable and light-weight and can be worn indoors and outdoors. They come in four sizes (S,M,L and XL) to fit babies with all head shapes and sizes.

Now they need to make these for big people who also hate being in noisy shopping centres and woken up by lawn mowers and cars honking especially during a weekend nap or lie in. Where do I get mine please?

Baby sleep tech is amazing… here are a few more inventions you need to know about:

A baby monitor that looks like a sock

Prams that promote sleep

 

Crazy critter sleep facts

Is there anything cuter than sleepy, baby animals? Why yes, a whole blog post dedicated to sleepy, baby animals. Read on to discover a bunch of weird and wonderful sleep facts about our furry (and not so furry) friends!

 
• Rhinos are big and bold and are brave enough to sleep lying down. They share a lot of sleep habits with human beings – sleeping for eight hours each day unless interrupted by their babies. (Image source: Pets Lady)

Even mama rhinos struggle to get sleep!
Even mama rhinos struggle to get sleep!

• Otters are cuddlers. Otters sleep on their backs whilst floating along but the adults hold hands so that they do not get separated whilst sleeping. Baby otters use their parents as a raft by sleeping on their chests. Talk about co-sleeping! (Image source: Mashable)

Otters take co-sleeping to the extreme.
Otters take co-sleeping to the extreme.

• Bats are the sleepiest creatures by far. The little brown bat sleeps for 19 hours each day, upside down!

Bats spend most of their lives sleeping.
Bats spend most of their lives sleeping.

• Giraffes suffer from insomnia managing only 2 hours of sleep in total each day! They survive by taking power naps throughout the day to keep them fresh. (Image source: Telegraph.uk)

Did you know giraffes are insomniacs?
Did you know giraffes are insomniacs?

• Dolphins sleep with one eye open (and switch off only one side of their brains). This helps them keep an ‘eye out’ for danger and ensures they keep surfacing to breathe. (Image source: NPR)

Dolphin's are the inspiration for Metallica's Enter Sandman. Just kidding.
Dolphin’s are the inspiration for Metallica’s Enter Sandman. Just kidding.

• Despite being domesticated, donkeys sleep only 3 hours each day and keep their babies close by… just in case.

Mother donkeys keep their babies close by when they sleep.
Mother donkeys keep their babies close by when they sleep.

Sweet dreams, crazy critters!