Saturday, March 12, 2011

Got cloth?

9 days old
Inga is a stomach sleeper...she will not go more than 5-10 minutes on her back or side, but will sleep forever on her stomach.
Last night I swaddled her and laid her down on her back. When I woke up more than 5 hours later, she had rolled herself onto her stomach--still completely swaddled! I finally woke her up to nurse because I was bursting. So my quandary is--do I let her sleep on her stomach? I'm reluctant to do so because of the increased risk of SIDS.
At least Zari is more than happy to be a napping surface.

46 comments:

  1. Yep. Let her sleep on her tummy. I don't think you have a lot of things that trigger SIDS, like smoking, excessive drinking while pregnant, formula feeding. Some vaccines are also fingered. I let my girl sleep on her tummy and it was the best decision I ever made. We all slept more soundly.

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  2. Awwww, the last picture is so sweet!

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  3. Both my kiddos slept on their stomachs since day one. One was formula fed and my youngest is BF. I think they like more because they are not likely to startle themselves. My 6 month old just recently has liked sleeping on his back. More independent now.

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  4. My second daughter was always a miserable sleeper on her back. I struggled to get any rest at all until she was around 3 months old, when I finally decided to let her tummy sleep. Best decision I ever made! We went from sleepless for months to 5+ hour stretches. She's two and a half now and still a devout tummy sleeper. I think some kids just sleep better that way while some are content to sleep on their backs.

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  5. I would roll up a towel or a blanket and let her sleep half on her side, half on her tummy. That way her head was up a little and less likely to breathe the same air over and over, which is what they speculate causes SIDS from tummy sleeping. It made both of us much happier.

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  6. Sary Stroll3/12/11, 7:05 PM

    My babies always slept on their stomachs on top of me until they could roll over themselves.

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  7. My brothers and I were all tummy sleepers. My mom couldn't get us to sleep any other way, and no harm came to us. She also nursed and partially co-slept with us.

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  8. The new Womanly Art of Breastfeeding doesn't recommend swaddling. Have you read it?

    I allow tummy sleeping for naps in cribs but not during co-sleeping. Just my personal rule.

    Love your blog!

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  9. I did for both my boys because I figured we had no risk factors for SIDS other than tummy sleeping, plus they were either in bed with me or in the crib in the same room as me. And it was because my first did not sleep much or at all on his back.

    I wouldn't recommend how I co-slept with my first-born in our bed, but with my younger son, I usually had him tucked in beside me -- sort of side-lying, I guess, most of the time; perhaps he was on his back a bit. But with him snuggled beside me, he slept well and so did I. I wouldn't put the baby face-down on an adult mattress, but if you have her in the crook of your arm, snuggled next to you, then she probably wouldn't be on her tummy at all, but would sleep just as well.

    -Kathy

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  10. I let my second son sleep on his stomach but he was in a PNP @ the foot of the bed so we used one of those breath-sensor baby monitors. As I understand it co-sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS because they can hear you breathing and feel you breathing and it 'reminds' them somehow. Am I getting that right?

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  11. They USED to recommend tummy sleeping to reduce the SIDS risk. (I believe the idea was that they wouldn't choke if they spit up while sleeping.) I think that so long as you make sure that there are no blankets/pillow around that could get into her face, then let her sleep how she sleeps. My 10yr old sleeps literally nose-down on his face (not on his arms, but on his face) and given that he does it almost every night I think it's just how he sleeps best... I think babies know what they need. Just trust her to sleep how she needs to sleep, and do what you need to do to keep dangers out of her way.

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  12. we swaddled and side sleep upright like in the swing - works like a charm, but I do put my baby's on their tummies all the time too

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  13. turns out, it the mattress offgasing
    http://www.nomoresids.org/
    http://www.stopsidsnow.com/

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  14. When I had my daughter, the advice was to put them on their backs. That never really worked well, and she was a terrible sleeper. She slept very well on her stomach on my chest (kinda like Zari in the picture). When I had my son, the advice was sid sleeping and they sold these silly roll things you were supposed to sandwich the child into. That didn't work and he was always getting onto his tummy with his arm stuck under him.

    Now they've gone back to saying "Back to sleep"... and my 3rd child who is 7 months old slept on her back for the first few months, until she could easily lift her head up. On her back, she was sucking her thumb, but would startle and couldn't get back to sleep when the thumb, with gravity, would fall out of her mouth. So I put her on her tummy and she's been pretty well sleeping through the night ever since.

    I say do what works for the baby, and if that is tummy sleeping, so be it. I don't believe that tummy sleeping alone is a cause of SIDS. Just my 2 cents.

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  15. I understand the reason babies sleep so soundly on their stomachs is because it inhibits their startle reflex. I also understand that's what swaddling does (among other problems studies are now showing, too). I don't think it's wise to inhibit this reflex, myself. I don't believe in swaddling, either as it seems unnatural, though wrapping/wearing is a similar option but safer as baby is in contact with a breathing being. I guess if the baby is right next to you and free to wave their arms/legs to signal trouble and they roll onto their stomach themselves that would be natural and fine to allow but to swaddle and then lay her on her stomach, particularly if you're leaving the room, sounds unwise to me.

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  16. My son was the exact same way. Hated being on his back! I gave in when he was about three weeks old. Because of the environment and the absence of so many of the risk factors, the risk is minimal. At 6 my son still is a tummy sleeper!

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  17. I've heard that about the mattress too.

    We toughed it out on their backs until they were able to roll themselves over. We figured if she's able to roll herself into the position she likes, then I might as well lay her down like that so she doesn't have to wake up to do it herself. All 4 of my kids preferred tummy to back.

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  18. The mattress re-breathing theory has been well and truly de-bunked. There is a brand new study just come out showing that even normal healthy babies have lower oxygen levels in the brain when sleeping on their stomachs. I'd keep trying to put her to sleep on her back. Less convenient for you but healthier for her.

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  19. Back sleeping is the most promoted way to reduce the risk of SIDS because it is the most politically correct/least guilt causing. The biggies are: sleeping near a parent, breastfeeding, sucking, and no smoking in the house/by a caregiver. Back sleeping comes next (I think is the order, more or less). Doctors/researchers know that promoting safe co-sleeping and breastfeeding as ways to prevent SIDS would make too many parents unhappy. Continue with the safe tummy sleeping. I just can't imagine going 5 hours without nursing at 9 days, LOL. With my third, I got really pushy and nursed her whether she was hungry so I wouldn't get engorged like I had with the first two. Ouch!

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  20. swaddling = unnatural? that's laughable
    my babies LOVE it, it was good enough for baby Jesus

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  21. Both of my kids (23.5 in long+ at birth...) hated being swaddled. They both slept spreadeagled in the middle of our bed, arms and legs outstretched. By day 5 both would roll over on their stomachs if put down on their backs at some point in the night.

    I watched them to see if they could move back to front to side, and basically since it seemed that they could get on their side to nurse, then I wasn't too concerned.

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  22. E - 12w - sleeps best on her tummy. In fact, on her tummy she's one of those mythical babies who can put herself to sleep! On her back she startles all the freaking time, and cannot relax into sleep. She's been able to roll to her back since 4w, and between that and cosleeping, I'm not at all worried.

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  23. My daughter always wanted to sleep on her stomach, and I'd tip her onto her side most of the time. Usually when I woke up in the night, she'd be face down. It was something I worried about, but there wasn't much I could do about her sleep position while *I* was asleep!

    I figured co-sleeping was helpful in guarding against SIDS--I trusted all that stuff about adult breathing and heartbeat regulating baby's, and adult presence and movements preventing baby from going into really deep sleep and getting stuck there, and baby's breathing being stimulated by the adult breathing out carbon dioxide. And I believed that if something went awry, I'd be right there to catch it. My daughter was willing to nap only while being held until she was about 1.5, so I never had to worry about her during naps.

    She wouldn't sleep with ANY kind of covers until she was 2.5 years old, so swaddling never came into the picture! I have seen recent recommendations against it, though (page 7):

    http://www.icea.org/sites/default/files/09-10%20%28Reduced%29.pdf

    Inga is very cute. I don't generally go around saying that babies are cute, but Inga definitely is.

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  24. my son (10.5 months) has always only been happy on his stomach, even while swaddled. At first I worried about it then decided to stop fighting it.
    Sometimes the side sleeping propped by rolled towels would work too.
    Inga is adorable!

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  25. I'm a nursing student and we were talking about SIDS in class the other day. As I recall, the conclusion researchers have come to regarding stomach sleeping is that it doesn't allow them to expand their chests fully, so it can lower oxygen levels.

    The other thing my instructor said was that once they learn to roll, the safety benefit to putting them on their backs to sleep disappears. Because then if their oxygen levels drop, they can just roll back over.

    I don't have kids of my own, but I think if my kid wouldn't sleep more than 5-10 minutes on their back, I would let them sleep on their stomach. Especially, if she has already managed to roll over completely swaddled! I don't think most adults could roll over very easily if someone wrapped them up in a blanket and put them on their backs.

    But you need to do what you feel comfortable with.

    BTW, I've read your blog for several years now and I really enjoy it. Thanks for writing.

    -Roni

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  26. all four of mine slept on their tummies after a couple weeks old. thats when they just kept startling too much. they all were strong babies and could lift and turn their heads. my understanding is that when babies fall into too deep a sleep that is what causes the risk. if they do get face down in too deep a sleep they won't turn their head out of it or can't startle awake. i also studied that boys are higher risk and my personal opinion is b/c they seem to be warmer natured and the studies show a too warm baby increases the risk of the deep sleep. i never covered my son or dressed him too warmly. just follow your heart...you know if you and your baby need to get more sleep and what to do to get there. if that is tummy sleeping then do it. i weighed our risks and the advantage fell on the "we really need to get some sleep" side. keep in mind too that babies are still at risk for SIDS all the way till 8 months or so. when i think of that, i think my baby could drown in the tub by that age or choke on something. my anxiety allows me to use my faith to remind me that my child isn't wholly mine but i have been privelaged to have this child in my life and i should appreciate every day with them. i tell myself that if the Good Lord decides to take my child home, He will find a way. it is true that some of our choices could affect the opportunities of that happening. i am a light sleeper and always had my baby in a bassinet by my bed so i could just reach over when i woke briefly to check for the back rising. after they moved to their crib if i woke in the night and had a feeling to check on them i always did no matter how i tired i was. i figured if i was always careful to listen to the spirit whispering to me then i was doing my best for myself and my baby. if you are doing the best you can and using that beautiful mother intuition and faith that is Gods gift to mothers, then that's all you can do. i pray to God that the only way my kids will be successful is if He takes my little bit of effort (to me its HeAPS, to Him its just a bit) but if He would magnify it the way He does when we tithe then my kids will meet and exceed their potential. i feel so inadquate at times in making these choices that affect my kids lives. i am so grateful for my knowledge of my Savior and His gospel. you and i both know these mommy issues would be so much worse without Him present in everything we do.

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  27. My daughter began doing quarter turns within days of birth - squirming and wiggling herself until she got on her tummy. I kept putting her on her back and she invariably would resume the tummy down, butt up in the air position. After a few weeks, I gave up and let her just do it. She continued sleeping in this exact position until just before her third birthday.

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  28. Caringheart3/13/11, 1:38 AM

    My little guy is four months old and has slept on his back only a couple of times during the day and only for very short periods if he does. He does not like it. I think some babies do, some babies don't and like the first comment-if your risk factors are low to nil. My baby sleeps in my room too so I always know what's going on with him. As a midwife I have told hundreds of parents they should sleep their baby on their back for SIDS risk, because I was required to...but on the other side of the bench, this is what works for us. Seems to help with the reflux too...he never wakes at night with belly ache and he will normally chuck up twenty times or more during the day. Not for everyone, but in your case probably fine!

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  29. While every mother has the right to choose what is best for her baby, it's not fair to apply anectodal evidence to the rest of the population. Saying "well I or my baby" did not die is not sufficient to tell others that stomach sleeping is okay.
    The SIDS rate decreased 50% since the Back to Sleep campaign was started. I know of several babies that have died of SIDS- so I talk to new mothers about it, and if they still choose for their own baby to be a stomach sleeper because of other factors, that's their choice.
    http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS/upload/
    SIDS_rate_back_sleep_2006.pdf

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  30. have you tried letting her sleep in her carseat or a swing?. a gentle curled position might help.
    or a tightly rolled towel around her body and under her knees might give the same effect.

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  31. hi, i have 3 girls aged 34 months & 18 months & 3 months, all of them were / still are 'stomache sleepers' :)

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  32. don't want to be a big negative nellie, but i have to second what sarah n is saying. i'm a postpartum doula at a local homeless shelter/transition home. i was just educating the girls on SIDS and the research does say that "back to sleep" has reduced SIDS deaths by 50%. i've also heard Dr James McKenna speak on the topic, saying that co-sleeping babies never sleep on their stomachs and that stomach sleep is highly correlated with SIDS. personally, i wouldn't risk it.

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  33. I think it's important to remember that no one really knows what causes SIDS.
    My mother in law had a sister who's baby died of SIDS, so, naturally when I had my kid she was all over the internet reading and researching all she could about it, and generally being the baby-sleep police, which was exactly what I did NOT want when I was getting used to the idea of myself-as-mother.
    She did teach me though, that the reason for the "back to sleep" thing is that, truly, the SIDS rates dropped dramatically when "they" started to promote putting babies to sleep on their backs. So, a correlation huge enough that it would be unwise to ignore it, but it is not known why. Re-breathing, and all the rest of it are all theories, so take it as you will and do what feels right.

    Personally, I wonder what SIDS rates were before the "experts" started telling us how to raise our babies in the first place...the difference in SIDS rates is between a culture that was advised, en masse, to put babies to sleep on their tummies, and one that was advised to do the opposite, with all sorts of other factors along the way. So I guess what I mean is, how much does back-sleeping really matter when you take into account that perhaps the numbers being used to justify it's recommendation are based on an unnaturally high SIDS rate because of the advice given in the first place?
    Anyway, I'm not a researcher. But I am pretty wary of advice like this...seems a main function of it is to ready the ground for the mother-blame should anything go wrong, for any reason.

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  34. Starting at about 2 wks old, my son would not sleep for more than 30 minutes on his back. I tried everything. I swaddled him, put him in his carseat, the swing, positioners so he could sleep on his side....you name it, I tried it! I spent countless hours on the internet researching back vs. tummy. I was terrified to let him sleep on his tummy! I lost so much sleep over the issue (he was my first born) that I was getting delusional and irrational! My husband finally called the pediatrician and scheduled some time for us to go speak with him. It came down to looking at the risk factors and making a decision. The discussion was very helpful and I finally put him down on his tummy. He slept for 6 hours!! He was only 4 weeks old! Poor thing was exhausted because of his crazy mother! LOL! I look back at it now and it all seems silly. I should have started with the discussion between my husband and Pediatrician and made my decision. I let too much "noise" from friends, family and the internet influence me!

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  35. I co-slept with both of my boys, so when we were in bed together, they would be either on my chest or in the crook of my arm on their sides. When I laid them down for naps, I put them on their sides or tummy. I never put them on their backs. I didn't want them to get used to being on their backs and get flathead. (I was kind of weird about that.) Now my boys are 8 and 4 and sleep in random positions - back, side, stomach, all over the bed. Which is why we are no longer co-sleeping. :)

    Follow your mama-heart. You know what's best for your child. :)

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  36. My little sister died of SIDS. She had slept on her stomach, 'cause that's what the medical advice was at the time -- but my Mom has never felt bad about that, because it is her heartfelt belief that babies that die of SIDS were babies who for whatever reason, had finished their work on this earth, and no matter if they slept on their stomachs, sides, backs, hanging upside down like a bat, whatever, that certain children just have less time on earth than others. (Interestingly, she also found in support groups that about 50% of women she talked to had some kind of 'feeling' that they would lose their baby -- some while pregnant, some shortly after the baby had been born.)
    With the remainder of her children, she slept them on their stomachs (even when it switched to the 'back to sleep' recommendation) because she just found that her kids slept better that way.
    I say it's best to just follow our instincts, wherever that leads us . . .

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  37. Someone suggested letting your baby sleep in a car seat. This is NOT recommended. Car seats, by their initial design (to keep babies safe in an accident) put newborns in a compromising chin/chest position that lowers 02 levels. Here is one of many articles about it http://news.health.com/2009/08/24/infant-car-seats/ (you can google for more info). They should only be used in the car. Swings and other baby 'gadgets' can put baby in the same position and are not recommended for sleeping either.
    I have 6 kids and have co-slept with all of them (usually they are side lying with their head at or on the breast most all of the night). Actually, at times we still have all 6 in the bed, LOL!! We have never had a baby swing or used a crib etc. Typically when they nap during the day they are either lying with me or are napping in a baby carrier. If I did need to put them down for whatever reason, they would NOT stay asleep unless I put them on their belly (and even then sometimes it didn't work). I always keep them close though to keep an eye on them. When they are a bit older I would often roll them to belly after nursing so that they would stay asleep.
    I say as in all things, trust your instincts mama, and listen to what your baby is telling you and you will reach a decision that make the both of you happy.

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  38. I'm still wary of letting her sleep on her stomach at night, or unsupervised during naps. But if I'm in the same room when she's napping--sewing or reading, for example--I have started letting her nap on her stomach. At night she sleeps on my chest, which I am totally comfortable with, as opposed to solitary stomach sleeping, or on her side/back nested in the crook of my arm. She's content as long as there's body contact. She just does not like solitary back or side sleeping at all.

    I've never done the crook-of-the-arm sleeping before. With my other two, I'd finish nursing and scoot them back between me and my husband (we have a king-size bed with lots and lots of room between the two of us). And I find I'm really liking the crook-of-the-arm sleeping! Once Inga is done nursing, I shift her onto her back a little bit and then off to sleep we both go.

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  39. First, I second Kelley's comment: NEVER, NEVER put a baby to sleep in a carseat (like she said, it's for keeping your infant safe in a collision, not for sleeping or even sitting in for extended periods, awake or otherwise!) or other gadgets, like swings, activity centers, etc.

    Second, *how* do you (those who do it) sleep with an older baby in the crook of your arm without it falling asleep too? I can do this with a newborn (for a short period of time) but my baby is currently 13 months and I can't stand to have him on my arm for longer than to nurse him.

    In fact, I usually sleep with my back to him. I think this may have began way back when, with number 1 (this one's #4). I was worried about smothering him with my ample breasts and would snuggle my back to him after he was done feeding. There were no masses of soft flesh on my back for him to suffocate in. Is this normal?

    Back to the crook of the arm question though. I love to snuggle my little guy, but I've never done the whole arm thing. My babies' heads usually rested on the bed and I adjusted my body to fit to them. How do you all manage it?

    Rixa, about your question, you already know that you are the only one who can decide what's right for you and your little one. I, like you, love to hear all about how everyone else does something, what does and does not work for them before making my decisions. May the Spirit of the Lord bless you and guide you to the right answer for you - no matter what anyone else says.

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  40. One commenter mentioned the risk of SIDS is pretty much over by 8 months, but that's not true. I saw somewhere recently (I think it was actually in the 30page patient hand out for Prevnar) that there is an official "cut off" and it's over 400 days (I don't remember exactly, just that I was surprised it was longer than a year). By this point, the only factors that would be of much consideration is co-sleeping and second hand smoke. There is also "older child SIDS" which we don't hear much about, applying to children over 1 who die in their sleep with no known reason.

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  41. I try to vary my babies positions to help keep their head shape really nice. Both mine have done muuch better on their side than back.I easily propped them with a rolled blanket behind their shoulders to butt.

    I have multiple frinds that have been taught in nursing school that tipping the head of the crib up 2" or more does more for reducing SIDS than any one other "remedy".

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  42. My baby girl loves her tummy, but when she was brand new she either slept on her side snuggled up to me or in a bouncy seat swaddled, and that did the trick. She started sleeping on her own in a crib at 5 months and she immediately started rolling onto her tummy. I've always felt that if a baby gets there on their own, there's not a lot you can do about it. Do whatever you feel at peace with.

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  43. With all these comments I thought I'd repeat what someone else said. But no one mentioned what's here: http://babyfromthebeginning.blogspot.com/2010/07/belly-sleeping-and-sids.html. The blog post talks about belly sleeping being related to deep sleep. Babies are more susceptible to SIDS while in deep sleep, but deep sleep is also vital to development. The conclusion is that either position has risks.

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  44. I have a confirmed tummy sleeper. He's fine, but next time I think I'll still TRY to do back sleeping, just because it's so much easier to scootch away after nursing and have baby roll naturally onto his back. With him being a tummy sleeper, I have to carefully roll him to his tummy after nursing, or he'll wake up 5 minutes later. Sounds like Inga's strong enough to handle that part herself already, though, so I wouldn't worry! She seems to be a very tough baby who would be able to lift her head and readjust herself if she had trouble.

    Your birth video, and the sweetness of your new baby, have given me babylust something awful. I wonder how much longer it's going to take before I can get me another one!

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  45. I researched both positions and why stomach used to be advised, and why back in now advised. I found pros and cons for both...to the extent that I believe you should leave it up to the baby and your own comfort. It literally terrified me to let my son sleep on his back. So I put him on his stomach, on a firm mattress with nothing near him to lessen the chances of suffocation. He slept well like this, he didn't start sleeping on his back until he was a toddler. If I had conceded to what the medical community suggests, I would not have slept the first few months of my sons life out of fear.

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  46. It's my understanding that the mattress off gassing has NOT been debunked. In studies, no baby sleeping on a wrapped mattress has died of SIDS, but even if you look at the 50% decrease since the Back to Sleep campaign, it can be explained by less contact with the toxic nerve gases.

    Rixa, you are very intelligent, and from what I've read of your blog I get the impression that you don't listen to government or traditional medical advice without good reason. Read the actual research. I don't think we can assume that government agencies are ever going to admit that it was the flame retardant chemicals that they REQUIRED in the mattresses that has been killing babies. There will never be a widespread admission of guilt and we can't assume that they are protecting us.

    The science is sound and it shows results. Wrapping mattresses is easy and cheap. My last two children have slept on their stomachs from 4 months on and they sleep MUCH better. I think it is more natural, and it just doesn't ring true to me that they can't breathe simply because they're on their stomachs. They can't breathe because arsenic and antimony are interfering with their cardiovascular system.

    As a doula and midwife student, I am recommending mattress wrapping or all cotton mattresses to new mothers, but I direct them to the research and have them decide for themselves.

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