Well, in Pakistan not everyone knows about or has information on SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It’s also called cot death or crib death. It usually happens to the babies under 12 months of age.
When I was expecting my son, I used to read a lot about pregnancy, giving birth and baby care related stuff. It was then when I first read about SIDS. To be honest it drove me nuts. Because when I research about the topic, I got to know that there are no known reasons of SIDS. Even after detailed research and autopsies doctors could not find any specifics issues that caused it. However, the researchers have reasons to believe that certain situations such as premature births, smoker or alcoholic mothers or respiratory issues in infants can cause SIDS in the first year of a baby’s life.
However, there are certain do and don’ts that can reduce the risk of SIDS for a baby. When I read the list, I was shocked to see that most of what the medical practitioners and researchers ask us not to do, is normally what is recommended by Desi families to new mothers. I am going to list them all down.
1)- Putting baby on his side to sleep/ Karwat Litana
It is strictly forbidden by doctors. In desi families, it is said that put baby to sleep on his side. And usually, there are two reasons given for this.
a). Baby may be choked.
b). Baby might wake up suddenly, scared and crying and would sleep for lesser hours
For (a) above, doctors say that healthy babies cough up the fluids automatically and choking is very rare like this. Just don’t forget to burp the baby before putting him to sleep
For (b) above, Doctors say that putting babies to sleep on their side can cause them breathing difficulty. So, I would say that we can always sooth the baby and we can also bear with less long sleep hours for the baby than putting him on the risk of SIDS.
So, whenever you put your baby to sleep, put them to sleep on their back. And do not make exceptions for this. Tell everyone around whoever takes part in baby care for those early days. Because baby who is always put to sleep on his back, if suddenly put to sleep on his side might have higher risk of SIDS. So, no exceptions.
It’s not specifically mentioned because usually everyone knows it. But still I am clearly mentioning it here. Do not ever put your baby to sleep on his stomach. NEVER.
2)- Putting baby to sleep in your bed or with other kids – (Sath litao ziada dair soey ga)
We have a trend in our desi homes for saying no to baby’s separate sleeping space like crib or cot. Some people put baby to sleep in their own beds or with other kids. My baby’s doctor said a big ‘NO’ to this.
Because if mothers are too tired or under effect of medicine and are not well. They might tend to be deep in sleep and roll over and baby can suffocate. Even only the weight of your hand can also cause breathing problems for a baby. So carefully choose a safe sleeping space for your precious little.
To be honest, in-between for some time, I used to put my son with me to sleep but for those days, either I used to be up all the night, or I used to get up even on slightest of his movements because I am a light sleeper. However, for the days when I used to feel very tired, I always put him in his crib to sleep then. So, I believe that it’s a mother’s call. You know yourself best and your baby too. Decide wisely. But make it a point to buy a cot for your baby. Don’t compromise on this.
3)- Giving Honey to babies under 1 year of age – (Shehed Chataya karo)
It’s a tradition in our desi homes to give honey. I also gave it to my son and there was no problem. However, doctors say that giving honey to children under one year of age can cause some bacterial infections and those infections can increase the risk of SIDS. So, don’t give honey because other have done it. Because others might be very lucky with this. But not everyone is very lucky.
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Moreover, know that you know less than your baby’s doctor. So, trust him and listen to him.
4)- Not giving baby pacifiers – (Choosni na lagana bachay ko)
In our desi homes, pacifiers are always discouraged. However, Pacifiers are proven to be helpful in SIDS prevention. SIDS and Pacifiers have a strong connection and one must understand it.
If your baby does not take pacifier that’s fine, otherwise there is no harm giving a pacifier to the baby till he falls asleep. Once baby is asleep take out the pacifier. You can read all about the best use of pacifier in my this post.
It also includes the best possible ways and situations to use pacifiers. Don’t miss on it.
5)- Layering the baby too much – (Kambal lapait kar sulao warna thand lag jaey gi)
New mothers are always said to keep the baby covered. Well, covered is fine and you should do that. But over-covering the baby can cause over-heating. And over-heating can trigger SIDS.
Don’t cover baby in blankets and woolen cloths while sleeping. Keep the clothing light. Keep the baby in cotton clothing and the room temperature at a level that’s comfortable for you. It shall be comfortable and okay for the baby too.
6)- Blankets, quilts and pillows in the cot or on the bed
Do not cover the baby with blankets. Doctors say that there should absolutely be nothing in your baby cot when a baby is sleeping. No blanket, quilt or pillow. Because baby may be tangled and suffocated if he rolls over.
Also, do not share your blanket or quilt with baby if you are co-sleeping. They can easily get suffocated between you and your quilt/blanket.
Moreover, if you are co-sleeping with your baby remove any handsfree or charger cable from your bed before you put your baby to sleep. Because babies older than 6 months can roll over. They can get tangled with these cables and this can be fatal.
7)- Stuffed toys – A big NO
I know how cute they are. But keep them away from your baby reach. Because they can cause suffocation. If baby happens to fall on them face down, he cannot pull himself up. It’s dangerous.
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8)- Skipping vaccinations (Rehney do-Hamaray bachon ki itni lambi vaccinations tou nhi hui)
Vaccinations are necessary and if someone says that their babies did well without all the vaccination 20 or 30 years back. Don’t listen to them. Vaccinations help protect babies from infections they cannot fight and lower the risk of SIDS. Follow through the vaccination schedule and make it a point to be on time with it. I believe that it’s our duty as parents to provide our babies with timely vaccinations.
In the nutshell, make your baby’s sleeping environment as safe as possible. Make them wear light, comfortable clothes, put them to sleep in a clean cot without pillows and blankets. Put them to sleep on their backs and keep their cot close to you. Check on them regularly and make dua for them. Because this is what you can do.
That’s all I could contribute to this topic. I hope that it helps you. Don’t fall for Myth, know the facts for the well-being of your baby.
I also suggest this to parents that ask your pediatrician about SIDS and listen to their instructions.
Do let me know of your feedback on this article. Leave me a comment below if it helped you. Did you know about SIDS and what was your methodology to reduce its risk? Let me know you your way of preventing it.