Healthwise: Sleep Sack

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

November 23, 2011

Louise Monticello volunteers at Martha Jefferson Hospital, rocking the babies to sleep in the nursery.

“The babies are just precious. I just love them to death and it makes me feel 20 years younger rocking these little babies,” she said.

Over the years, Monticello has cared for many newborns at Martha Jefferson, holding them in her arms, swaddling them in baby blankets and watching them drift off to sleep. But with the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), health care workers want to make sure parents are keeping their babies safe while they sleep at home.

Nurses at Martha Jefferson say the traditional swaddle – wrapping the baby tightly in blankets to mimic the experiences in the womb – may not be the safest option. They say that’s because extra fabric from a blanket can cause suffocation.

To solve the problem, Martha Jefferson will soon begin giving parents a new embroidered sleep sack when they take their bundle of joy home. Nurses say the sleep sack allows the baby to be swaddled without the excess fabric.

“By having the swaddle it prevents the loose blankets. This also gives us an opportunity to give these parents a gift of safe sleep for their babies to come home,” said Paula Pippin, Assistant Nurse Manager of Obstetrics.

Plus, the sleep sack stays tight because Velcro keeps the corners together. While the sack keeps babies from rolling over and possibly suffocating, Pippin says it also makes a different for parents.

“The biggest factor would be the calmness that the baby presents,” she said. “The calmer the baby is the calmer the parents will be.”

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