Its exact cause remains a mystery, but a recent study in Pediatrics has revealed a possible risk factor. Researchers have found that an infant who is swaddled – wrapped tightly in a blanket or cloth with their limbs restricted – while placed on their front or stomach to sleep faces a higher risk of SIDS.
Swaddling your newborn at night can help your baby sleep longer stretches at night. The purpose of swaddling is to help reduce the “startle or Moro” reflex. Yes, you should swaddle your newborn at night. The startle reflex is a primitive reflex that is present and birth and is a protective mechanism.
This vulnerability may be caused by being born prematurely or having a low birthweight, or because of other reasons that have not been identified yet. Environmental stresses could include tobacco smoke, getting tangled in bedding, a minor illness or a breathing obstruction.
White noise reduces the risk of SIDS.
We DO know that white noise reduces active sleep (which is the sleep state where SIDS is most likely to occur).
Here's what parents should consider when they think about swaddling: Babies don't have to be swaddled. If your baby is happy without swaddling, don't bother. Always put your baby to sleep on his back.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents keep their babies swaddled for 12–20 hours per day for the first few weeks after birth. This relaxes babies. Swaddling a baby correctly also protects her from overheating, injuries and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Other things that SIDS is not: SIDS is not the same as suffocation and is not caused by suffocation. SIDS is not caused by vaccines, immunizations, or shots. SIDS is not contagious.
Sucking on a pacifier requires forward positioning of the tongue, thus decreasing this risk of oropharyngeal obstruction. The influence of pacifier use on sleep position may also contribute to its apparent protective effect against SIDS.
SIDS has no symptoms or warning signs. Babies who die of SIDS seem healthy before being put to bed. They show no signs of struggle and are often found in the same position as when they were placed in the bed.
Goodstein said, when babies sleep in the same room as their parents, the background sounds or stirrings prevent very deep sleep and that helps keeps the babies safe. Room sharing also makes breast-feeding easier, which is protective against SIDS.
Experts have had little idea what causes SIDS. A new study released by Australian researchers, however, may change that, by linking an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) to SIDS. According to the study, children who have died due to SIDS appear to have lower levels of BChE.
If baby usually sleeps on their back, putting them on the stomach or side to sleep, for a nap or at night, increases the risk for SIDS by up to 45 times. So it is important for everyone who cares for babies to always place them on their backs to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Babies who are swaddled too tightly may develop a problem with their hips. Studies have found that straightening and tightly wrapping a baby's legs can lead to hip dislocation or hip dysplasia. This is an abnormal formation of the hip joint where the top of the thigh bone is not held firmly in the socket of the hip.
Swaddling protects your baby against their natural startle reflex, which means better sleep for both of you. It may help calm a colicky baby. It helps eliminate anxiety in your baby by imitating your touch, which helps your baby learn to self-sooth. It keeps her hands off her face and helps prevent scratching.
You should stop swaddling your baby when they start to roll over. That's typically between two and four months. During this time, your baby might be able to roll onto their tummy, but not be able to roll back over. This can raise their risk of SIDs.
Swaddling a newborn in blanket has been thought to be a tool to help calm babies and get them to sleep longer. But according to the Contemporary Pediatrics guide, Swaddling 101, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), many babies can stay calm with no swaddling at all.
Deactivating the Startle Reflex
So simply placing a baby on their side or completely onto their stomach, helps calm them and stop their crying. Of course, when you place a baby on their side or stomach, you always need to be sure that baby's airway is clear so their breathing isn't obstructed.
Hiccups are normal and usually don't hurt your baby. In younger babies, hiccups are usually a sign that they need to be seated upright during or after feeding, that feeding needs to be slower for them, or that they need more time before or after feeding to relax.
Additional recommendations for SIDS risk reduction include human milk feeding; avoidance of exposure to nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and illicit drugs; routine immunization; and use of a pacifier.
It's tempting to keep the white noise going through the night, but it's really not recommended. "Operate the infant sound machine for a short duration of time," Schneeberg advises. She recommends using a timer or shutting it off once your baby is asleep, provided you're still awake.
Extremely loud - 100 decibels. No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure is recommended. Dangerously loud - 110+ decibels. Regular exposure of more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss.