One of the biggest concerns parents have when a baby comes home, now we are alone and we have heard of a type of syndrome that worries us, sudden infant death syndrome . A type of death that is difficult to explain since its causes seem confusing, genetic, infectious, environmental factors, etc. Today we are going to learn more about this disconcerting syndrome, what is it, possible causes or how to prevent it?
What is sudden infant death syndrome?
One of the most unforgettable moments of our life, the birth of a baby. An event that shocks the whole family and more if it is the first baby. A baby implies radical changes in the couple, now the time is for him and we dedicate our whole lives to him.
Going from two people to three, means a change in the priorities of both the couple and personal. Endless emotions, joy and pride after spending 9 months dreaming of this moment, but also fear.
New parents fear everything , if the feeding is enough, if the crying is normal, if he gets enough sleep or eats, or if he is comfortable in his crib. We spend hours and hours watching him sleep, we buy all the magazines and books that talk about how to take care of them correctly.
But what parents fear the most is that their child is ill and, above all, that something happens to him and not finding out about it. This is an innate fear of parents, concern. Having a baby at home who does not stop crying indicates that something is wrong and that can make us very nervous.
Perhaps it is not so much an excess of zeal, but a well-founded fear , fear of sudden infant death . A syndrome that causes the death of the baby mainly while sleeping. But what is sudden infant death syndrome?
It is known as sudden infant or infant death syndrome , the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under 1 year of age . It is the main cause of death in children aged between one month and one year , with a higher percentage of death between two months and four months of life, after four months and up to one year, the risk is reduced until it disappears.
What are the causes of sudden infant death syndrome?
The exact causes are still a mystery to science , although it has been found that there is a higher incidence of sudden infant death in premature children , in boys more than in girls , African-American children or Native American babies.
Despite dedicating great efforts to research on the causes of sudden infant death, it has not been possible to reach a conclusion, with various aspects that may influence the development of this syndrome.
Babies mature day by day, their body begins to transform from the moment of their birth, their breathing can speed up or slow down, their lungs have to expand and although rare, they can suffer an episode of apnea. Babies in their first months of life do not have the ability to wake up to the lack of oxygen caused by an episode of apnea, not being able to breathe, the baby dies from suffocation.
Studies in this sense reveal the lack of response of babies, while they sleep, in the face of a life-threatening stimulus. But if there are clearly identified causes that can lead to sudden infant death, these are:
- Severe infections
- Brain problems in the area of the brain that controls the respiratory system
- Congenital disorder
The latter can be pulmonary or coronary problems that the baby could have even before birth and that for various reasons were not detected.
Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome?
Although the causes that cause sudden infant death syndrome can be varied, there are always guidelines that we can follow to avoid risks. Statistical studies on infant mortality support that the change in certain behaviors in the gestation and lactation phase has reduced the percentage of death due to sudden death in babies.
These factors are:
- A few decades ago the right thing to do was to lay babies face down “in case the vomit came.” Nowadays it has been shown that babies should sleep on their back or on their side , statistics ensure that the number of sudden infant deaths has been reduced since it has been recommended to parents NOT to put children on their stomachs . If the baby is lying on his back and turns on his stomach, don’t worry if he has been able to turn, he will be able to do it again on his own.
- Moms who have smoked or frequented spaces with fumes or charged environments during pregnancy and breastfeeding are at higher risk of their babies suffering from sudden infant death syndrome. The risk of sudden death in these babies triples compared to babies of nonsmoking mothers.
- Babies should sleep alone, although close to their parents, at least during the first months of life, but never in the same bed as their parents, a crib or a bassinet near them will be enough. In this way we avoid suffocating the little one during the night in an involuntary movement.
- Babies should rest on a hard , firm surface , away from cushions and soft objects that could fall on their face and suffocate.
- Do not fill the crib or bassinet with stuffed animals, cushions and dolls , they can be a risk for your baby. Beware of cune protectors, they can increase the risk of suffocation.
- When our baby falls asleep well in a car seat or in an armchair , we must transfer it as soon as possible to a firm, hard and safe surface .
- Try to keep the baby’s room well ventilated , excess heat can also be a risk factor.
Other factors that seem to play a role are:
- Multiple birth babies
- Premature babies
- Having siblings who have had sudden infant death syndrome
- Teenage mothers
- Very frequent pregnancies
Breastfeeding has been shown to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome . The properties of breast milk as a protective barrier against respiratory infections will help protect your baby from this terrible syndrome.
Recommendations for sleeping the baby
Sudden death reached very high percentages, especially for the developed world, this made the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths or FSID and the United Kingdom Department of Health, desperately looking for a way to avoid the increase in this kind of baby deaths.
Thus, in 1991 , a campaign was launched with a series of recommendations that achieved exceptional results , a 75% reduction . The recommendations were as follows:
- In Case of Illness
If you notice that the baby is listless, upset or not feeling well, go quickly to the doctor
In case of fever , uncover the baby and try to lower the fever by applying warm or cold compresses to the body and immediately go to the doctor.
- The ideal environment
Tobacco does not benefit adults and much less babies, whether you are pregnant or if you have already had your baby, exposure to tobacco smoke significantly increases your baby’s risk of suffering from sudden infant death syndrome.
Do not smoke if you are pregnant or breastfeeding , much less allow them to smoke in front of the child.
- How the baby should sleep
The baby should sleep with his parents, especially in the first months. The safest place for him is his crib or bassinet. The best way to put a baby to bed is on his back in the crib and always placed with his head at the head of the crib, this way we will prevent him from lying on the sheets.
Never fall asleep holding your baby or put pillows on the baby to sleep. E l baby mattress should be firm , breathable and waterproof, while clothing baby’s bed should be adjustable, otherwise we will ensure that the sheets are well tucked under the mattress. E vita that the head of the baby remains covered by dolls, bed sheets, blankets, etc.
- Sleeping pacifiers
There are no conclusive studies in this regard, although some data indicate that sleeping with a pacifier can reduce the risk of sudden infant death . This field is not properly documented therefore it should not be considered an official recommendation.
- Better breast milk
The breastfed babies have less risk of suffering sudden death syndrome compared to those who have been fed with artificial milk.
- The ideal temperature for sleeping
For a baby to sleep comfortably, the room should have a temperature between 16ºC and 20ºC . One way to know if your baby is comfortable is to place your hand on the abdomen, if the baby is sweating or hot, remove the blanket, bedspread or sheet. Don’t forget that babies tend to have cold extremities.
Whenever you enter a closed space coming from the street, quickly remove the baby’s coat, it will be essential to avoid colds and therefore reduce risks.
Never try to warm your baby by putting electric blankets , hot water bottles, or near a heat source.
It is not recommended for babies under 1 year old, duvets as bedding. For very cold days there are sleeping bags, specially designed for babies.
- Monitoring devices
Some parents become so obsessed with SIDS that they even wake up in distress at night, thinking their baby is not breathing.
Baby’s breathing monitors have been created for them . These devices have not been proven effective and unless it is a medical recommendation, their use can only lead to a false sense of security and, what is worse, overconfidence.
What if we have to deal with sudden infant death syndrome?
As we have discovered throughout this article, it is not a predictable disease and even if you have taken all the recommendations and precautions, it is possible that the baby will die from this syndrome.
This subject, although painful and uncomfortable, must also be addressed, since the loss of a baby involves experiencing a series of mixed feelings and above all a feeling of guilt.
Since we are primarily responsible for the safety of our baby, the sudden loss of the baby will cause feelings of anguish, sadness, guilt and anger . In this sense, family and friends take on vital importance. If there are also other children, taking care of them will be the best way to overcome it.
Nor should we forget the existence of countless associations that can help thanks to their psychological cabinet, talks and above all share the experience with other parents who have gone through the same trauma.
Can sudden death syndrome recur in another child?
Having a new baby after the loss of a child due to sudden infant death syndrome should be a well-matured decision. You should only make that decision when you are sure of it.
Come to class on the latest techniques in baby care. There are organizations that give monographic courses on this topic. And don’t forget that having happened once does not predispose it to happen again.
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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.