This month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidelines on safe sleep for babies. These guidelines are worth discussing, so we can keep all infants healthy and safe in their cribs.
I thought it would first be worthwhile to review this topic of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as some of the earlier AAP recommendations.
In the early 1990s, the AAP launched a "Back to Sleep" campaign, which emphasized its recommendation to have all babies sleep on their backs (instead of on their bellies or sides), so as to reduce the number of SIDS cases. This change in parental behavior made a huge impact and SIDS cases have significantly decreased.
Because of the success of the "Back to Sleep" campaign, the number of SIDS cases significantly decreased. Unfortunately, we are now seeing a rise in other causes of sleep-related death, such as suffocation (when something blocks the breathing or cuts off oxygen) and asphyxia (when the blood cells lack enough oxygen or contain an excess of carbon dioxide). This is why some of the newer recommendations also take a harder look at what objects the parents are putting into the crib with the baby.
Congratulations! This is a great developmental milestone that generally occurs around 4 to 6 months of age, sometimes earlier. Even the sleep experts agree that you don't have to reposition your baby onto her back once she has learned to roll over. (I actually did try to reposition my first child when he first started rolling over, but he quickly thought it was a game and would roll right back over again on his belly. To him, it was fun; all I wanted was for him to go back to sleep.) The good news is that the risk of SIDS significantly decreases between 4 and 6 months of age, right around the time that a baby generally reaches this milestone.
While you and your baby might not be sleeping through the entire night yet, if you follow the guidelines above you can at least rest assured that your baby is getting the safest sleep possible.
For more information, you can visit the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics.