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A new year, a new study about babies and sleep: Federal health officials report that infant deaths blamed on accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed have increased sharply in the U.S., The New York Times reports. The news has reignited a simmering debate over the rising number of parents who sleep with their babies, also known as "bed-sharing" or "co-sleeping."
Two new reports on co-sleeping with a baby were released this week, adding to the confusion that seems to dog this practice.
A new study has yielded another clue on what causes the tragic deaths of seemingly healthy infants. Researchers in California indicate that circulating air in a baby's nursery helps to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The latest information, published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, further points to a baby's sleep environment as crucial in the risk and prevention of SIDS. In the study of 185 SIDS cases vs.
A bumper crop of new sleep books has joined the old standbys, offering philosophies and techniques to fit every parent's and baby's needs and temperament. The tricky part is finding the perfect fit for you. Here is our guide to 10 baby-sleep guides, old and new:
Q: How much sleep does a newborn baby actually need?
It's natural to want to be near your baby 24/7. But experts have differing opinions when it comes to sharing your bed with an infant. "We don't know how to make bed sharing safe," says pediatrician Rachel Moon, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS, which recommends not bed-sharing as a way to prevent SIDS.
According to First Candle, a national nonprofit organization, at least 50 percent of all sudden infant deaths could be prevented by placing babies to sleep in a safe environment.
A recent study found that approximately 15 million American school-age children suffer from health and behavioral problems caused by inadequate sleep. And since babies with good sleep patterns turn into children with good sleep patterns, it's wise to start instilling healthy habits early on. Here's how:
You no doubt know that placing your baby to sleep on her back dramatically reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But did you know that putting her on her belly when she's awake is also important?
As nighttime temperatures plunge, you might be tempted to crank up the thermostat and bundle your baby in blankets. Your intentions are good, but keeping her too warm may put her at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which peaks in winter and strikes most often between ages 2 and 4 months. Instead, keep the room temperature at 68° F to 72° F and follow these sleep-safety tips from Baltimore's First Candle/SIDS Alliance:
I recommend a very gentle approach. Start by nursing your son for a shorter time in his own room and soothing him to sleep by patting and rubbing him through the bars of the crib. Do this for a few nights; for another few evenings, soothe him to sleep with no nursing. Finally, spend several nights talking to him until he falls asleep, with no rubbing or patting. I don't pretend this is a "no-cry" solution, but your baby's distress will be mitigated by your or your husband's presence. For more information, visit drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp.
Rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) have plunged recently because more parents are placing babies on their backs to sleep, as recommended by government experts. But babies born to educated mothers have experienced the greatest reductions in risk--suggesting the public-health "back-to-sleep" campaign hasn't reached everyone. It's possible that some mothers haven't heard the advice, don't follow it or have other SIDS risk factors, such as smoking or using soft bedding, says study author Kate E. Pickett, Ph.D., of the University of York in England.
While pacifiers can soothe fussy babies, the plastic gadgets also have been linked with lower rates of breastfeeding and higher risk for ear infection. But now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in, recommending pacifiers to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life.