Infant Reflux at the Center of Safe Sleep Guidelines (Spoiler Alert: They Are The Same For Everyone)
The Rock n' Play recall of 2019 is only the beginning. In the Washington Post article, "Fisher-Price invented a popular baby sleeper without medical safety tests and kept selling it, even as babies died," writer Todd C. Frankel shares, "...Many parents — and a few doctors — still contend an incline helps babies who have reflux, which often causes them to spit up. But medical studies have shown little support for this..."
And in this new Romper.com article, "Why Smart Parents Make Bad Sleep Decisions," where an interviewee shares, “My daughter slept overnight in the Rock n’ Play next to our bed, because she had reflux and we felt more comfortable with her sleeping propped up...”
The long and short of it is that the long-time advice of putting your reflux baby in an inclined position is not only being communicated as ineffective, but clearly stated as a huge danger to all babies. As stated in the Washington Post article, "In 2009, the same year the Rock ‘n Play debuted, two leading groups of pediatric gastroenterologists, building on accumulating evidence, released international consensus guidelines on managing stomach problems in babies, finding that elevating an infant’s head actually worsens gastric reflux."
View the full policy on HealthyChildren.org.
As more education and awareness gets out there, who knows the amount of families out there experiencing the guilt of having used these types of products, or turned to car seats or other sleep-deprivation-driven "lifesavers" to learn they are anything but that, and especially for the families who have faced unimaginable tragedies.
Armed with more knowledge today than I had five years ago, I am on a new and focused journey to learn how reflux families can employ the safest sleep conditions for their children, and share in any way I can. It's not lost on me how impossible it can be to help a reflux baby achieve rest (and forget about the parents in charge). It felt like an eternity of short and restless naps for near 18 months.
While I didn't have a Rock n' Play, I was recommended to use a crib wedge under the mattress as my son got older, and my reliance on the car seat haunts me to this day, captured in my post The Tipping Point. I didn't think once, not to mention twice, for the six months before this event happened (where my son actually tipped his car seat) when his airway could've been easily compromised due to poor head control and dangerous positions.
I get it. I have been there. This is not easy. I am relearning all I knew and humbly walking down this path.
Watch for more from Down With Spit Up as I work through my site to update and inject the most recent and research-based guidelines regarding safe sleep. I am not, and have never been, a medical professional. That's who I've relied on when it comes to these serious sides of reflux and other tummy troubles. While it doesn't solve the answers of how to manage the reflux, those like me, now on the other side, might sleep better trying to get the right information, in the right hands.
Check out the following infographic from First Year Cleveland - Safe Sleep Heroes:
Spit Up Support Blog
Yea, I went there. Nearly half of all babies spit up, regularly. Some more, some less, and for many it's just plain scary.
I'm not a doctor. This website is for informational and entertainment purposes ONLY. Read our full disclaimer here.
Down With Spit Up® 2020. All rights reserved.