It has been long accepted that mothers need to put infants to sleep on their backs. Research has proved this time and time again; but new research also seems to prove that mothers are not doing it this way as often or frequently as they should be.
According to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, only about 44 percent of mothers put their baby to sleep on their backs, as the experts recommend. This contradicts, however, what mothers say verbally: three in four report that they usually put their child to sleep on their backs.
For this new study, the researchers looked at survey data that had been collected from 3,297 mothers with infants between 2 and 6 months old. Sure enough, more than 75 percent of these women said they usually put their babies to sleep on their backs; about 14 percent said they put their babies to sleep on their sides and another 8 percent said they put their babies to sleep on their stomachs.
Also, the study showed that African-American mothers and those mothers who did not complete high school were more likely to put their babies to sleep on their stomachs.
In addition, while 58% of the mothers said they intended to put infants down on their backs all the time, only 44% said they followed through each time their baby went to sleep. Interestingly, though, when doctors explained the safety benefits for babies sleeping on their backs, the same women were 40 percent less likely to report stomach sleeping and 50 percent less likely to report side sleeping.
This is a somewhat odd and upsetting bit of information to hear since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first made this announcement In 1992, in an effort to reduce risks—and incidences—of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Since that time, of course, we have seen a decline in the frequency of SIDS, but it still remains the leading cause of infant mortality. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that SIDS claims about four out of every 10,000 live births every year in the United States. Sure, this is down from 130 out of 10,000 in 1990, but it is still probably too many since the remedy should be as simple as laying an infant in a bed/crib properly.
Another way to cut down on SIDS, though, the CDC also recommends mothers to breastfeed, using a pacifier rim (to prevent choking) and using a firm crib mattress; they advise against using blankets, pillows, and sharing beds.