Sold Does Not Mean Safe | Rock n' Plays and Safe Sleep

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper is ubiquitous on baby registries and social media parenting forums.

Countless parents and mommy blogs rave about it and other products with a cult following, such as Dock-a-Tot and SnuggleMe, as their saving grace for baby sleep. There’s a picture of a sleeping baby on the box. It helped your friend’s baby. It’s sold in stores, so it has to be safe, right? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO.

Just because a product is sold is stores, does NOT mean that it is safe for your baby.

Take aftermarket car seat products, for example. While they may pass certain materials standards for flammability, etc, they are not tested by the car seat manufacturers to verify their safety. Aftermarket strap covers have been known to cause babies to be ejected from vehicles.

Sold does not mean safe.

Sold does not mean safe.

Sold. Does. Not. Mean. Safe.

The car seat safety community unanimously agrees that these types of products are unsafe, but there is often a huge cognitive dissonance that occurs when the same principles are applied to infant sleep products. Instead, calls to action to keep babies safe are labeled as “mom/parent shaming.”

Nobody likes to be told that what they are doing is unsafe, especially upon learning that other babies have died or been injured doing the same thing. It’s hard to hear that those loose straps or inclined sleeping device could have cost your baby their life.

It’s normal to feel twinges of guilt or even shame, particularly when met with even the most loving correction. It happened to me when my first baby was 6 months old and someone finally told me about the danger of my loose car seat straps. I brushed it off when confronted because I felt so much guilt, but that guilt and shame I felt, although nobody placed it on me, led me to immediately change my behavior.

A newborn baby awake in a Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a recall of these sleepers, which are unsafe for infant sleep.

A newborn baby awake in a Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a recall of these sleepers, which are unsafe for infant sleep.

In light of both past and recent deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a call for the CPSC to immediately recall the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is the leading authority and highest body of evidence available when it comes to safe infant sleep. In 2016 they issued updated Guidelines for Safe Infant Sleep. The full text of the guidelines can be found here, but the message boils down to something as simple as ABCs: Alone, Back, Crib.

Alone: Babies should be placed in their own sleep environment, free of blankets, toys, and loose items. The only exception to this is a pacifier, which is known to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Back: Babies should be placed to sleep on their backs. Once your baby can roll over on their own, it is safe to leave them there.

Crib: Babies should sleep on a FIRM, FLAT surface such as a crib, bassinet, or playard. Adult beds are not recommended for children under age 2.

The only three terms that are federally regulated and pass all of the ATSM standards for safe infant sleep are crib, bassinet, and playard.

There are many, many products on the market today that claim to help your baby sleep better, and companies prey on the fears of exhausted parents with clever, deceptive marketing terms.

If the product manual doesn’t call it a crib, bassinet, or playard, then it is not safe for your baby to sleep in. If your baby falls asleep in a swing, bouncer, or other inclined device, move them to a safe sleep location right away.

If your baby falls asleep in a properly installed car seat or travel system while you are away from home, move them to their safe space as soon as you arrive back home.

This adorable newborn baby is following the ABCs of safe sleep. Swaddling should be stopped by 8 weeks or when baby is showing signs of attempting to roll.

This adorable newborn baby is following the ABCs of safe sleep. Swaddling should be stopped by 8 weeks or when baby is showing signs of attempting to roll.

Doulas of Memphis takes safe sleep seriously, and we follow the highest safety standards available when working with our clients.

When clients trust us with their precious babies, we don’t take that trust lightly. It is our policy to follow the AAP Guidelines for Safe Sleep whenever we are caring for clients’ babies. You can read more about our Practice Standards here.

If you are outside of the Memphis area and are looking for a postpartum doula or other caregiver for your baby, make sure to ask what their policy is surrounding safe sleep.

New and veteran parents alike are inundated with misleading information every day. It can be hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t when it comes to infant sleep.

In addition to referring clients to resources provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, we have created this handy reference guide for parents and caregivers to download and print for personal use.

This graphic is for personal use only and is the property of Doulas of Memphis. Be a good internet citizen and please don’t use this for commercial or business use without express written permission. Thanks!

This graphic is for personal use only and is the property of Doulas of Memphis. Be a good internet citizen and please don’t use this for commercial or business use without express written permission. Thanks!

Making sure your baby is sleeping safely isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. Safe sleep is possible!

In addition to relying on your support system, the biggest part of making sure you are practicing safe sleep for every sleep is to make a commitment. Educate the people around you, and make sure that anyone caring for your baby knows how to follow the ABCs.

If you have been practicing unsafe sleep with your baby, it’s never too late to start putting your baby to sleep in a safe environment. While the short term may bring a few rough nights of sleep, you will never regret taking steps to keeping your baby safe. 

 

Loving her doesn't mean I love him less | Pregnancy after loss

Loving her doesn’t mean I love him less.

I find myself saying and/or thinking that regularly.

Having a baby after a loss is hard.

Rory Isaiah Hanna was born March 13, 2017. That day started out so very happily. We were going to see our baby via ultrasound for our much-anticipated anatomy scan. We even argued on the drive to the OB/GYN’s office about whether or not we should find out the sex of our baby. The sonographer was oddly quiet, then she stepped out of the room. When she returned she had my doctor with her, and at that moment I knew something was wrong.

“We can’t find a heartbeat, Lindsey.”

It’s crazy how fast a great day can derail. What began as a routine checkup turned into my worst nightmare. I wasn’t supposed to meet him so soon, but there I was, and after his birth came empty arms and details and plans I’d never wanted to think about. A tiny crocheted cap, beautiful photos of a sad day, a little box, and finally, a tree that is growing and thriving in my front yard.

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Fast-forward around six months.

I have never before been more terrified to see those two pink lines.

I held my breath with each test and ultrasound. Grief mixed with anticipation, a business partner on maternity leave with her own new baby, the day-in, day-out responsibilities of motherhood, and the normal exhaustion of early pregnancy.

The first sigh of relief came with the results of the genetic screen blood test.

“Your daughter is healthy.

Daughter?!? But we just made boys! I never thought I would actually have a little girl. And she’s going to be okay!

The second sigh of relief came with the anatomy scan. I kept telling myself I had to get through this day, and then I could breathe a little more, I could enjoy it a little more. There she was, moving all around- healthy, wiggling, and perfect.

“She looks perfect, Lindsey.” We’d officially made it longer than we had with Rory.

The third sigh of relief came with those first kicks and wiggles. Aww, I love feeling her, I thought. I wish I’d been able to feel Rory wiggle around…

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“Happy Birthday, Baby!” my doctor said as she was born.

Then came her first cries. She’s finally here! She already looks like all three of her brothers. I wonder how Rory would have looked…

Each and every first is like that, happy and sad. Often when I celebrate her wins I also think about what it would be like to see Rory do those things.

Although I’m no therapist, I really think that it's both natural and normal to have those conflicting emotions. I’m not ashamed to say it took me going to some therapy sessions to get to this point.

If you’ve also experienced the joy and pain of pregnancy after a loss, please know that you are not alone. It’s wise to talk to someone if you need a safe place to unpack the messy reality of grief…

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…and if you need to remind yourself daily that loving one child doesn’t negate or lessen the love you have for the baby you lost, that’s okay too.

Happy Birthday, Rory. We miss you.

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3 Questions to Ask When Your Birth Plan Changes

Whether or not you write it down, you probably have some sort of a birth plan or general idea of how you hope your birth will go.

…and you’ve probably also realized from talking with friends and coworkers, reading things online, and hearing birth stories of others that you can’t always count on those plans and preferences coming to fruition. Birth can be unpredictable, and while it’s important to learn about the process and think through your preferences for different scenarios outside of your ideal, it’s also important to be able to adjust in the moment.

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Doulas and childbirth educators often use the acronym BRAIN to help with decision making, encouraging clients to weigh their options based on the following:

Benefits
Risks
Alternatives
Intuition
Nothing (what happens if we do nothing?)

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this tool, especially when used in the context of a trusting relationship and honest dialogue with your care team, but it can feel cumbersome and overwhelming in the moment.

What happens when your plans need to change?

Maybe you were dreaming of waking up in labor close to your due date, sitting on the ball at home and relaxing through early labor, heading to the hospital when things got more intense, and having a smooth delivery…but instead you find yourself wanting or needing to have an induction. Or maybe you were hoping to skip the epidural, but labor takes much longer and you’re much more tired than you anticipated.

As our situations change and expectations shift, sometimes we find ourselves needing to alter our plans. Here are 3 Questions you can ask yourself, your partner, and your care team to help you make the right decision in the moment:

1. Is it safe?

Throughout pregnancy, you trust your doctor to help keep you and your baby safe. During labor, you may find yourself in a position where your care teams suggests an intervention or change in position because they want to ensure your baby’s safety. There is often more than one safe choice and your care team will help you continue with whatever you choose.

2. Is everyone healthy?

In the hospital, your doctor and nurses will monitor you and watch out for any complications that may occur during your labor. Once your care team has determined that what you’d like to do is safe, they are also making sure that everyone is healthy. If you and your baby aren’t showing any signs of infection or distress, there is often more than one safe, healthy choice and your care team will help you with whatever you choose.

But everyone’s safe and healthy, and I still feel conflicted about my options. How do I know that I’m doing the right thing?!

If you’re in a situation with more than one safe, healthy option, asking yourself this final question will help put things into perspective:

3. Does this make sense for me, for the labor I’m having right now?

Sometimes, staying on your current path is safe, healthy, AND makes sense. There are also times where a particular choice made sense during one part of your labor, but your circumstances have changed and a different option (perhaps one you originally thought you’d never choose) winds up making the most sense and preserves the most of your ideals and preferences.

Cultivating flexibility in your decision making can help bridge the gap between expectations and current reality.

It can be hard to shift expectations, particularly if your current situation is far from anything you planned or envisioned. You can cultivate flexibility during pregnancy by talking through your preferences for scenarios outside of your ideal. For example, if you’re planning for an unmedicated birth, it’s also a good idea to talk through your options during an induction, or what your choices are in the event of a cesarean delivery.

Your doctor and the rest of your medical team wants you to have a safe, healthy delivery and a positive birth experience.

Making sure your doctor is on board with your preferences and asking questions prenatally about their practice style and policies can help eliminate conflict or confusion during your labor and delivery. If your plans need to change, know that your medical team will do what they can to keep you safe and help you achieve an outcome that is as close to your original plan as possible.

At the end of the day, keeping lines of communication open and remaining flexible will help you with confident, logical decision-making.

What nobody tells you about sex after baby

You've had your six week checkup and gotten the green light to have sex again after birth. Okay, well...now what?

Aside from the occasional jokes about over-eager husbands (hey, women have sex drives too) and horror stories about how bad it's going to hurt, you don't really hear much about what it's really like to have sex after baby. We're going to have a pretty frank discussion about sex and the things nobody tells you about how that works post-baby, so feel free to skip this one if that's not your thing.

sex after baby
sex after baby

Just because your OB clears you for sexual activity doesn't mean you have to jump in before you're ready.

As always when it comes to intimacy with your partner, communication is important. When you are ready, it's okay to feel a little apprehensive. While it might be a little uncomfortable the first time or two, sex after baby doesn't have to hurt, and if it hurts for more than two weeks after you've started back, talk with your doctor. That pain isn't normal and you may need pelvic physiotherapy to help address the underlying problem.

Lube is your friend.

No, really. #allthelube. Those first few times, don't be afraid to lubricate with abandon, even if that wasn't your norm before. Breastfeeding and other hormone changes can cause vaginal dryness, which can in turn cause discomfort during intercourse. If you're using condoms, remember to choose a water-based condom-safe lube to be on the safe side.

Don't skip the foreplay.

Your body has been through a lot, and pregnancy changes things down there even if you didn't deliver vaginally. Going slow with lots of massage (remember, lube is your new BFF), especially in the perineal area, will help you relax and enjoy yourself more. Even if you aren't quite ready to jump back into sex with penetration yet, massage and taking the time to connect with your partner is never a bad call.

If you're a partner reading this, some new turn-ons to add to your repertoire are helping make sure mom is rested, has had a chance to shower, and putting in some extra help with household tasks. Real talk: it's hard to get in the mood when you're exhausted, covered in spit-up, and thinking about all the things that need to get done around the house.

Your boobs might leak.

If you're breastfeeding, you might experience some leaking during sex or orgasm.  That's normal, and throwing down a towel before things really get going is a good idea. If it's close to your baby's next feeding, you might be a little engorged and any position that puts pressure against your breasts might feel uncomfortable. Your nipples will probably feel sensitive and it could be awhile before they have another purpose besides feeding your baby. They'll adjust to their dual-purpose life soon enough.

You're going to get interrupted.

Nothing kills the mood quite like a screaming baby.

It's going to happen, and nobody really talks about how strange that can be for first-time parents. It's hard to flip the switch from "sexy time" to "oh wait, I have to parent now" and back again. You may have to stop in the middle, tend to your baby, and get back to things, or your baby might thwart that plan entirely. Be patient with yourself if you find that switch difficult and have trouble getting back into the mood.

You will get used to it as your adorable interrupter gets bigger and keeps interrupting (That's a thing now, btw. They will keep doing that- ask a fellow parent). Chalk it up to the joys of parenting, laugh it off, and try again soon. If you haven't already, this might be a good time to start helping your baby get used to sleeping in their crib. Even if you aren't ready to transition full-time, having the option to start there is handy.

Get creative!

The end of a long day of momming might not be the best time for you to have sex right now. Morning or afternoon may be better for you if your partner is available. Baby asleep in your room? Get creative with other locations. Intimacy is important, and sometimes as a parent you have to get it when you can and where you can. Don't worry, you'll figure it out. Have fun!