Doctors still need to tell parents about safe infant sleep practices


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No joke, my sister in law puts her baby to sleep face down on a body pillow to sleep. Literally her baby sleeps with its face directly in a giant pillow.

I told her it wasn't the best idea but she said 'I've never had a problem before!' and laughed.

Bed sharing can be safe as long as you have a large not too soft bed, the baby has no bedding near it, no pillows or heavy blankets and you place them on their back. We have a king sized bed and I shared with my daughter for her first two years. Granted she slept no where near me in the bed, and had no blankets or pillows, and also wore a breathing sensor attached to her diaper. When she napped alone I put a movement sensor underneath her and used a baby monitor.

Then again I definitely have anxiety problems. Maybe don't follow my advice lol

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'I've never had a problem before!'

That seems to be too common unfortunately. One woman I know who moved to Hawaii then back to Japan said she was shocked that so many people don't buckle their child seats down with a seat belt so kids going through windows in a crash is more common...

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What are the stats for SIDS in Japan? Co-sleeping used to be common - is that still the case?

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What are the stats for SIDS in Japan? Co-sleeping used to be common - is that still the case?

"...the highest SIDS rates (0.5 in 1000 live births) were in New Zealand and the United States. The lowest rates ( 0.2 in 1000) were in Japan and the Netherlands. "

So it would appear that co-sleeping is not an issue at all, as Japan has among the lowest SIDS rates in the world. It's not popular to say this, but these cases are often associated with mothers who have substance or alcohol abuse issues.

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In Britain we are told to put the baby to sleep on one side in case they vomit while sleeping. 70 years later I still can't sleep on my back which my J-wife does every night.

Had a very close friend who lost several children to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and back then the authorities didn't understand that and usually blame the parents for deaths.

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Not so much. Has a lot more to do, also unfortunately, with overtired mothers, and single motherhood. If you go to work 8-10 hours a day and have to take care of a child (or children) alone all night it's easier to fall asleep with them in dangerous situations.

I was a researcher on global infant mortality rates for my friend who is the head of nursing at a university in Tokyo. The longer maternity leave and the more familial help you have with a newborn in the first year, the less likely a child is to die of SIDS. Also, the longer you are in the hospital after giving birth seems to be correlated.

In the US most women go back to work between 6 and 8 weeks after birth which is when the rate of SIDS skyrockets. Also, C-sections are much more common in western countries which leads to women having to go through intense healing for several months afterward which can add stress and exhaustion on already strained new mothers. Not to mention single parent households being much more common in the 'west' than in Japan.

There's a dozen other factors which, no, don't imply that westerners are just drugged up and accidentally killing their babies. Thanks.

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Has a baby ever died of SIDS while being held. Or did they always wait for isolation before giving up.

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Thanks for your answer. So substance abuse is an issue, but you are saying the greater issue is single motherhood. I'll defer to your expertise on that. But so much single motherhood doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of the US lifestyle either. Either way, the US is one of he most likely countries for SIDS while Japan is one of the least likely. So there is a lesson to be learned.

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Not single motherhood in general, mother exhaustion, whatever the cause, seems to be the main cause.

Your claim that substance abuse is an issue in SIDs simply means that you don't understand what qualifies SIDS as SIDS. If a child dies because a mother is using narcotics or is drunk, it's classified as neglect resulting in accidental death, or manslaughter. There's not a test for SIDS, it's diagnosed by ruling out other possibilities. If a child dies because it suffocates on a teddy bear, the child died by suffocation, not SIDS.

Some of the higher rates of SIDS in the west can be attributed to a wider classification of what SIDS actually is. From what I've seen through personal research in Japan, a SIDS death is only assigned when absolutely no other cause can be identified (as it should be classified). A child with an unobstructed airway dying (seemingly) inexplicably during sleep. In the US they are far more likely to classify a child falling asleep on an exhausted mother on the sofa, suffocating and dying as SIDS than as accidental suffocation. An over-exhausted mother is more likely to put a baby to bed in a way that is quickest to get the infant to sleep (on its back, its side, in a swing, with a blanket, etc.) which is more likely to result in a SIDS classified death.

Probably the biggest improvement the Anglosphere could make is to expand maternity leave, extend hospital stays and encourage familial help, or the help of government funded post-natal doulas, perhaps, in the absence of such familial bonds. Also, because breastfeeding rates are also correlated, the US and UK in particular could stop their pushing of formula over breastmilk and stop demonizing mothers who choose to breastfeed in public.

Not to mention baby-wearing. While visiting the US when my daughter was 3 months old, I wore her in a carrier. Literally every time we left the house I had some comment from strangers about how back in their day they carried their babies in their arms, not like the lazy women today (or something similar). Baby wearing, babies napping (correctly!) in a proper baby carrier are FAR less likely to die of SIDS. A baby being as close to (a rested) Mom as they can for as long as they can is probably the best way to prevent SIDS. In the US there are stigmas against all of these things... breastfeeding, baby-wearing, stay at home mothers, etc... so if you're going to argue against anything, let it be these things. Don't blame poor mothers who lost their babies and call them drug users, substance abusers, etc. It's just factually wrong and quite cruel, actually.

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