SIDS & Your Baby Twins: What You Need To Know!
SIDS & Your Baby Twins: What You Need To Know!
(And EVERYTHING, You Need To Know)
6 months & 4 days old
Ok, this is NOT a topic, I’m wanting to write about, can’t stand even thinking about, or want any of you to ever HAVE to think about, but yet we have no choice, but to talk about it, be educated, and then God willing, never, ever have to personally deal, with this awful word, in any of our lifetimes. And that word, no parent can fathom, is most commonly referred to as SIDS, (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and I’m gonna tell you why, I personally, haven’t talked about it until now.
It is a subject that has scared the pants off of me since I have taken the babies home from the hospital with me. Something I thought about, before they were even born, but never wanted to. Until they were 6 months, I honestly, just couldn’t ‘go there’, though I don’t truly believe I could in all honesty, put the kibosh on myself, I don’t know, it was just something I didn’t feel safe enough yet to discuss, too scared to discuss, but it popped into my head once in awhile and i fought it out, as hard as I could, and I’m sure many parents reading this, have or do feel the same. I fight no more, because knowledge is indeed power, and we have to learn about this, and talk about it, and the things you can do to keep your new babies safe and sound from SIDS. It’s not all in your control, but any part of it that is, don’t you want to know, what IS doable on your part, as a loving, new parent? I’m sure that answer is YES.
Now, I remember when I had my first child, we were encouraged to put them on their sides at that time, and had wedges for such a purpose. Now the whole story has changed, and we wonder, hmmm…are they sure YET, that the back is the way to go? But so far it seems that the best position for your new baby or babies, to sleep in, is on his or her back. If the Pediatric Association says SIDS death’s are down by nearly HALF, because of back sleeping, well then, you know what this mom chose for her twinkies..BACKS ONLY.
However, come 4.5 months, when the girls started flipping themselves over, it became their choice and I was frantic with worry, over their sudden, midnight belly flops, but if your baby has the strength to flip herself over, most likely she also has the strength to keep her face out of the mattress, move her head side to side, and cry for you to turn her if need be, until old enough to roll back, which won’t be too far off, trust me. Now that my girls can roll both ways and are older and stronger, my fears of SIDS have been greatly reduced, but really what is SIDS? Who does it affect more then others, why does it happen, and what can we do about it? Also, what increased risks are there for us new mommies of multiples?
SIDS FACTS YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW:
1- The majority of SIDS cases, occur between the 2nd-4th month of life, and the risk greatly decreases at 6 months of age.
2- Mother’s who smokes during pregnancy have a 3 times greater risk, of have a child die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
3- Premature infants (Which greater then 50% of the time, include twin births), are more vulnerable, as are (and usually includes) low birth-weight babies.
4- There are ZERO symptoms, no clues, no warning for a SIDS death. It can not be ‘caught’, and ‘stopped’.
5- SIDS deaths are markedly decreased in baby’s who sleep on their backs, rather then their sides or bellies, especially. All naps and over-night sleeping should be done on the back, to lower the risks of SIDS related deaths.
6- Males are more likely then females to die of SIDS. 20% more likely actually. (Read on for more info.)
7- Babies of African American decent, on 2x’s as likely to suffer a SIDS related death. The reasons for this are unknown.
8- More SIDS related deaths happen in the cooler winter months versus, the spring and summer time.
9- If a mother is under 20 years of age, when her baby is born, that increases the SIDS risk.
10- There may be a link to having babies spaced too closely, contributing to the SIDS factor. 12 months (or 1 year) apart.
What can you do to prevent a SIDS death, in one of your twin newborn babies?
1- ALWAYS replace an old mattress. Don’t use a mattress from a baby you had 5 years prior. Fumes seem to be released over time and have an effect on a new baby, so always use a crib mattress that is fresh (under 2 yrs old), still wrapped up in plastic, or bought brand new for your babies. I bought 2 brand new mattresses, because of my SIDS fear. I figured what is $300 vs. the guilt I’d feel if I re-used one of my old ones. Years ago we never knew this!
2- Use a firm crib mattress, vs. a very soft one, and use a fitted sheet on top. Don’t worry your baby or babies will be quite comfortable. We don’t get picky about soft mattresses and bedding until we are older. This will help decrease the risk of SIDS and is very important.
3- ALWAYS place your new babies on their backs for ALL sleeping, naps included! Like I said, there is little you can do when they are older, but after 4 months the risk of SIDS decreases, and decreases, so during the time you have power over your babies sleep position, use it, and put the m on their backs only. This practice has saved over 2- 3,000 babies per year, since 1992!
4- Keep all blankets, fluffy stuffed toys, and pillows, out of baby’s sleeping area. Anything very plush, can help aid in suffocation, so better safe then sorry. Remove everything prior to baby’s nap.
5- If you smoke…now is the time to quit. Smoking during pregnancy AND after, increases your child’s risk for SIDS, be sure and kick the habit, if not for yourself, for the health of your babies. (Second hand smoke is no good either, so tell your significant other to kick the habit as well. Your baby’s health relies on it, in more ways then just SIDS).
5- Keep babies warm, but not too hot. Don’t over heat a baby. Keep your baby(ies) at a comfortable temperature. This helps decrease the SIDS risk, and keep baby more cozy.
6- Offering a pacifier at bed time may actually decrease the chance of SIDS, in your newborn. It does NOT increase any risks for those who wonder, it may actually help your baby.
What are some fears people have about this horrible phenomenon, and what is fact and what is fiction?
1- CRIBS DO NOT CAUSE SIDS!! Drop side cribs can cause injury, or even deaths, and I do NOT recommend them, as we can see from all the safety recalls that have been happening lately, but cribs do not have anything to do with SIDS, but crib mattresses DO, based on recent research, so be sure and purchase new crib mattresses with your new baby or babies, and not use a hand me down one. If money is an issue, skimp on the crib and buy the crib from a second hand shop, or accept one from a friend. (Make sure it’s in full working order, and complies with all safety standards), just never skimp on those mattresses.
2- SIDS can happen any any age? NO, SIDS is an unexplained death that occurs during the first year of a child’s life, which means, there is no risk after this time, however, the great majority of cases, (90% in fact), occur by 6 months od age, and the majority of THOSE, occur between 2-4 months.
3- SIDS death’s can not be prevented. You can’t stop SIDS from happening, you can only decrease the chances by taking all the precautions, that you possibly can take, but some of it, is up to God andout of our hands, so there is no reason to feel guilt, as a SIDS death has no warning, no signs ot symptoms, and strikes often without any reason.
WHAT ABOUT TWIN BABIES? ARE THERE ADDITIONAL RISKS?
This was a big fear of mine while pregnant, that oh my God, if something bad doesn’t happen during the pregnancy itself, what if something happens afterwards to one of them, which I have lost 2 children, quite frankly would have killed me, but I tortured myself none the less, and did some research on twins and SIDS, andthis is what I found.
1- There is an increased risk in SIDS in twins, simply because you have TWO babies vs. one, hence the risk of something happening is increased, just like you having two separate babies, at any give point in time. It just happens to be happening in unison with multiples.
2- Premature births, are more common, among twins, which would make the risks of Sudden infant death syndrome, more pronounced in twin births.
3- Low birth weight babies, usually caused by prematurity (as listed above), are more common in twin gestations, and it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Low birth weight is under 5 lbs. 8 oz, (translates to 5.5 pounds), which is a nice chunk of the twins that are born today, before the age of 37 weeks, and the risk would jump again, and be increased further, at severely low birth weight, also known as ‘extremely low birth weight’, which would be 2 lbs. 3 ounces, and under. This could be a premature singleton baby of course, but multiples, would be more likely to be born at this weight, then a singleton baby.
3- Bed Sharing. Co-sleeping with an infant(s), increases the risks of SIDS, but also twin co-sleeping, with eachother, MAY increase the risks as well, so though many parents enjoy keeping twins close together during bed and nap times, this may be bad practice. (I personally do not trust myself while sleeping, and would never do it, but the next best thing, is what we have been using/used. An a Arm’s reach co-sleeper, though it’s only good for one baby after the 1st few months, it is DEFINATELY money well spent).
A safer alternative for keeping babies together, yet more protected, is to put the babies toe to toe is they insist on being together, so they can still feel eachother’s touch, as this can be important to some baby twins. It’s a secret that was handed to me. This positioning places the least risk to babies, while still keeping one another close and near, or using a crib divider. They won’t be touching, but it keeps them safe from one another, once they are rolling, tugging, and Lord help us..biting, *eek*….which at a month or 2 old, they can’t do much to one another, but as they grow and arms and legs flail, they can harm eachother, and increase the SIDS risk, so keeping them near but more separate, is the best way to go, if you can. We found our twins to wake one another so they have been sleeping seperately since about 2 months old. Before that they slept in sleep positioners, which suck by the way, on the co sleeper.
4- Boys are at greater risk of SIDS. About 60% of all SIDS cases are MALE infants, so two boys would be at greater risk then a girl and boy or two girls, however each child’s risk is individual. Again there is twice the risk because there is twice the baby, but males are more prone to SIDS. We are not exactly sure why, but it is thought, that boys tend to breathe faster then girls, and any toxic fumes in the air would fill the lungs of a male faster then a female. This is why new evidence supports replacing old crib mattresses, because of certain toxic fumes that may be released from them. It’s worth the extra expense in my book, nothing is more precious then your babies.
5- Women who have not received any or proper prenatal care, are at increased risk, and twin pregnancies especially, require ALOT of care and ultrasounds. A lot of times this increase, can be because of monetary issues, making income level a very slight SIDS increase factor. The fact that poorer women may not be able to afford good prenatal care, andmay be more prone to taking a second hand mattress, or re-using a crib mattress or two, especially if she is faced with two babies, would be the primary reasoning and would also be a factor in a singleton pregnancy and birth.
In general, as real as your worries about SIDS are, when taking home, one, or two, even 3 newborns, the facts are, that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is quite a rare occurrence, and babies today, because of all that we do know now, are at their lowest risk EVER, which certainly makes this mom, feel more secure, then I even did a decade ago, but still, no matter how rare, it does happen, and it is a scary thought for any new mom, so be sure and educate yourself, discuss the topic openly with your spouse, and online friends if you wish, for additional support. Do all that you can do, remembering a lot of things are simply out of your hands on this one, and feel secure in knowing most likely your bundles of joy will make it through their 1st 6 months, then their 1st year, and beyond, safe and sound. Odds are completely on your side, for a perfect outcome, but of course, we wouldn’t be parents at all, if we didn’t worry.
Thanks for stopping by. So glad to finally hit that 6 month mark, so I can breath a little easier, HOWEVER, I’ll continue to watch chests rise and stare intently, when my little ones seem too peaceful. Worrying & obsessing is what all good moms do. Don’t beat yourself up ever, for caring TOO much, there is just no such thing, in my book!
PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION(S) OF THE WEEK: SPRING INTO FALL & PICK UP SOME
Bonus, product recommendation: The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. (Both items highly recommended & involved in the delicate subject matter, of this post!)
These sleep sacks, are THE BEST way to keep baby cozy, warm, and safe from SIDS, while sleeping in their cribs. We have used them on our twinkies starting at birth, until the warmer weather came, and now are getting ready to re-sack, if you will ! These give mommy a tremendous amount of peace of mind, when blankets are a big no-no at bed time. You will both rest easy in these sleep sacks that come in a wide array of colors, prints, and different sizes, to suit your newborn, and infant needs. They even come in 2 packs for your twin-pops. Want to buy? Now is the time, just click the link below!
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Take care. Until next time, this is Shelly….Signing off!