Seeing my granddaughter for the first time is one of the most heart-melting moments of my life. To add onto that, the chance to take care of my granddaughter is the most joyous responsibility I have taken up. I embraced it with unsurmountable joy, passion and zeal.
I mean, I had been a mother and I had experience in taking care of young children, and so this was not going to be a challenge. It didn’t take long to realize that I needed help.Funny enough, I started worrying about where and how I would lay down the baby, yes, of all the challenges you would expect.
However, looking at it, this is a legitimate worry and one that resonates with most primary caregivers, more so for grandparents since as times changed, so did the methods of laying down newborns.
As far back as in the 1950s, debates on the right position and place to lay a newborn have been rife. Frequent and sudden deaths of infants triggered research.
Pathologists discovered that the leading cause of the deaths was maternal overlying and accidental suffocation in a condition currently referred to as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
However, pediatricians differed on the causes as well as the best solutions to avoid the deaths. This has contributed to the back and forth movement on the sleeping position of choice.
In the 1950s to 1988, the front position was most preferred although the back and the side were also mildly advocated. This period was also marked with parents preferring to sleep with their newborns because of convenience although this later shifted in the 1980s to having cribs, boxes and bassinettes.
Discussions on the effect of sleep positions on ease of breathing, the shape of the head and eventuality of vomiting dominated the decisions on which position was favored. The recommendations changed as from the 1990s with very few people recommending the front position.
In contrast, more studies and pediatricians recommended the side position. The back position was also mildly advocated until 1995 when it started regaining popularity. Being fairly advanced in age, I have witnessed most of these changes.
Although I cannot remember what my mother said about laying me down, I remember laying a nephew of mine on his stomach which then changed to the preference of the back position. By the time I had my youngest child, the back position was then more preferred.
With these frequent changes, it is therefore understandable for a grandparent taking care of a young one to be caught up in deciding how and where to lay down the baby.
The key to making this decision is ultimately to talk to your pediatrician and get their expert advice which may even be the best fit in regards to the mannerisms and movements of the baby while asleep. However, it is important to note that a baby may feel more secure in a bassinet or a box than a crib.
Additionally, the sleeping surface should be firm and consistent with safety standards. It is also advisable to lay the baby in the same room you sleep for the first weeks then adjust later according to preference. Current studies and reports recommend that the baby should be on her back during sleep to reduce cases of SIDS.
In conclusion, my personal advice and what I recommend to other grandparents in a similar position is to reach out to parents and more importantly, to experts on child care. After all, raising a grandchild is joy and not a worry.
New in the Grand parenting game? Get valuable insights. Read through my next article, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: You Are Not Alone.