I was a new parent once, and I still remember how I felt the first night I took Ethan home from the hospital. I was supposed to be sleeping whenever the baby is sleeping so I can get some rest and try to recuperate from the draining experience of giving birth, but I couldn’t. Even when everyone was sleeping late at night, I would consciously wake up every 20 minutes to check on Ethan to make sure that he was still breathing, the blanket is not on his head, etc. I guess I could blame that on all the articles and books that I read before I deliver on topics relating to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). After talking to other new parents, I realized that I was not the only one. All new parents, or specifically new moms, have the fear that one day she would wake up and find the baby not breathing.
It is still a mystery for everyone what really caused SIDS, but from medical journals to hospitals to doctors, the possible caused are being defined to help parents prevent SIDS. The following is a list of preventions extracted from the American SIDS Institute.
1. Get medical care early in pregnancy, preferably within the first three months, followed by regular checkups at the doctor's office or health clinic. Make every effort to assure good nutrition. These measures can reduce the risk of premature birth, a major risk factor for SIDS.
2. Do not smoke, use cocaine, or use heroin. Tobacco, cocaine, or heroin use during pregnancy increases the infant's risk for SIDS.
3. Take care to prevent becoming pregnant during the teenage years. If you are a teen and already have one infant, take extreme caution not to become pregnant again. The SIDS rate decreases for babies born to older mothers. It is highest for babies born to teenage mothers. The more babies a teen mother has, the greater at risk they are.
4. Wait at least one year between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy. The shorter the interval between pregnancies, the higher the SIDS rate.
1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though infants may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covering, no pillows, no bumper pads and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.
3. Do not over-clothe the infant while he/she sleeps. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.
4. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
5. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.
6. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).
7. Consider using home monitoring systems (apnea/bradycardia monitors) in an attempt to prevent sudden death in high-risk infants.The risk of SIDS in the following groups exceeds that of the general population by as much as 5 to 10 times:
*Infants born weighing less than 3.5 pounds.
*Infants whose sibling died of SIDS.
*Infants exposed to cocaine, heroin, or methadone during the pregnancy.
*The second or succeeding child born to a teenage mother.
*Infants who have had an apparent life-threatening event.
While I was experiencing this constant fear, I tried what I could to following American SIDS Institute’s suggestion to prevent SIDS. One thing I did was not to have loose blankets, pillows, and stuff animals around Ethan. I used a wearable blanket by Carter’s during the first few months, found it very useful. I slept a lot better after using it. But the problem is the one layer of fleece material was not warm enough for winter time, and also the Carter’s one sized sleep sack was getting too small as my son was getting bigger. That’s when I started looking around for a bigger sleep sack. The other popular sleep sack that I could find online is by Halo Innovations, called Halo Sleepsack. But again, this sleepsack is only made of one layer of fleece material, too warm for summer, but not warm enough for winter. Then I found the Grobag, the most popular baby sleeping bag in Europe. I like it very much, but it is only available in Europe, unless I want to pay for expensive international shipping. That’s when I decided to make my own sleep sack because fortunately my mother-in-law can sew. When I was purchasing the material, I used 100% cotton fabric because it is more durable and breathable. I also didn’t like the polyester filling because 1. it is a flammable material, 2. it is not natural, and 3. it is not as soft as I would like, so I can’t imagine my son being comfortable in it. At that time, my creativity came into play. I had a silk comforter that my parents bought for me when they were in China. I decided to use the silk filling for Ethan’s sleep sack.
You may not know what a silk comforter is. It is basically a comforter filled with silk floss instead of polyester filling. The silk comforter is just incredibally soft and comforting. I felt in love with it the first time I used it. But as much as I loved it, I wanted my son to have the best. So I cut out the cotton cover, exposed the silk floss inside the comforter, and my mother-in-law made two sleep sacks for Ethan using the silk floss fillings. Later on I named this silk filled sleep sacks SilkSac. I could see that my son loved the SilkSac because he seems very comfortable in it. It is not thick, but it is very warm. The best part was it was not too warm for summer. I knew because I have used the same silk comforter for both summer and winter.
When I bring this idea to other mothers, they loved the idea too. And they wish I can make more for them. That’s when I started looking into making the SilkSac. SilkSac has since been improved to include a removable cover so the silk batting inside can be preserved. The SilkSac has been so well received that so many parents come back to buy the bigger size for their child, and even buy for their friends who are expecting.
From a new mother’s nightmare, I have created a great product that I hope can help provide every new mothers with a peace of mind and help every new born to sleep safely and comfortably.