Several times a week, we find ourselves sitting in meetings discussing the best way to keep babies safe while sleeping. At Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin one of our initiatives focuses on injury prevention and death review. Additionally, we provide grief and bereavement services for families who have experienced the unexpected death of an infant. Our work keeps us motivated to find ways to keep babies safe and parents well rested!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents follow the ABC’s of safe sleep.
Sometimes, babies can’t fall asleep on their own or wake up frequently at night, which can make parents very tired and cranky. Parents can try the following tips to help baby fall and stay asleep.
Keep bedtime and naptime routines the same every day.
- Keep things quiet for 1 hour before bedtime.
- Soft lighting helps baby get sleepy.
- Babies like to hear a quiet story or song before bedtime.
- Cuddle and rock baby gently before bedtime.
- Most babies sleep well after a feeding and/or a bath.
- Gently rub baby’s arms and legs.
Consider using a pacifier when you place baby on his/her back for sleep. If baby is breastfed, wait until she is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier. If baby spits out the pacifier after falling asleep, you do not need to put it back in her mouth.
If baby is only fussing wait a minute to make sure baby is actually awake. Some babies fuss a bit during sleep but will quickly settle down.
If baby wakes up and cries, go to him or her as quickly as possible. Calming the baby down quickly should help the baby go back to sleep. Try not to play with baby during the night when s/he wakes up. Keep play time during daytime hours.
Hold and feed baby if s/he is hungry, and comfort him or her before placing on their back to sleep in their own crib or bassinet. In the early weeks and months of life, babies need to be fed often. The time between night feedings should increase as babies grow bigger and begin to sleep for longer periods of time at night.
For more information about safe sleep visit Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.
~Abby Collier, MS, project manager, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin
I have some exciting news to share with you. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is one of six hospitals to win $5,000 worth of breastfeeding products in an online contest.
The contest was sponsored by Medela, a leading maker of breastfeeding and breast pumping products. It was held to recognize national Prematurity Awareness Month in November. In the contest, people were asked to visit the Medela website and vote for their favorite Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Children’s Hospital was one of the top six vote-getters with 4,750 votes.
We’ll be splitting our prize between the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee and at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Neenah, Wis.
Thank you to all the patient families, friends of the hospitals and our employees who voted for us.
This generous prize is going to be put to great use. Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies. Time and again, studies have shown breast milk gives babies a boost in health, growth, fighting illness and development. The babies in our NICUs are among the most fragile in the region and they really benefit from the advantages breast milk offers.
Thank you again for your support.
~ Lisa Jentsch, director of Newborn and Fetal Care Services
In more than two decades of working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, I have seen firsthand how devastating it can be when a baby is born prematurely.
Today, 1 in 8 babies in the U.S. is born too early and it’s the No. 1 cause of infant death. Prematurity also can lead to lifelong disability.
Children’s Hospital has two NICUs. Our Milwaukee hospital cares for more than 700 newborns a year, and our Fox Valley hospital cares for more than 300 a year. Many of these babies are struggling with the consequences of prematurity.
You can help us care for these babies by voting in an online contest sponsored by Medela, a leading maker of breastfeeding and breast pumping products. During November, go to www.MedelaPreemieAwareness.com, register on the site and vote for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin or Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. You only are allowed to vote once. The six hospitals with the most votes will win $5,000 worth of breastfeeding products.
Learn more about prematurity and what you can do to help by visiting marchofdimes.com.
~ Lisa Jentsch, director of Newborn and Fetal Care Services
October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month
Having a healthy baby means making sure you’re healthy, too. One of the most important things a woman can do to prevent serious birth defects is to get enough folic acid. It’s important to take folic acid before you get pregnant and during early pregnancy. Studies show women who get at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy reduce the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects (serious birth defects involving the incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70 percent. These defects happen during the first 28 days of pregnancy, usually before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Only half of all pregnancies are planned – so any woman who could become pregnant should make sure she is taking enough folic acid every day.
What is folic acid? How much do you need?
Folic acid is a water soluble B vitamin found in green vegetables like spinach and asparagus as well as in orange juice and enriched cereals and breads. Water soluble means it does not stay in your body for very long, so it needs to be taken every day. For most women, eating the right foods isn’t enough. To get the recommended level, you probably need to take a vitamin.
During pregnancy you require more of all the vitamins and nutrients than you did before you became pregnant. Most nonprescription prenatal vitamins contain 500 to 800 mcg of folic acid. A prenatal vitamin shouldn’t replace eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, but it does ensure you’re getting the recommended amount of folic acid every day.
If you’ve already had a pregnancy that was affected by a neural tube defect, make sure you talk about it with your health care provider. You may need to increase your daily intake of folic acid before getting pregnant again to lower your risk of having another baby with the same defect.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has a long history of caring for children with neural tube defects. There are programs available for your child with Spina Bifida and other special needs. For more information on these programs, visit chw.org.
Deb Walbergh, RN, BSN, is a graduate student in Nursing in the Spina Bifida Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in any woman’s life. So many fun, new changes happen when we have a baby. There are so many decisions to make, especially about what to feed this new little wonder. Most people have heard that breast milk is best, but often they don’t know why. Being a nurse and a lactation consultant, I have learned so much about breast milk and why it’s so fantastic. I have a few insights that may help you in making your decision about whether to breastfeed. …Continue reading →
Children's Corporate Center illuminated in purple.
When expecting a baby, new parents usually plan for the baby to be born near the due date. But, each year more than 12.9 million babies around the world are born too soon – before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit staff at Children’s Hospital cared for more than 300 infants diagnosed with prematurity last year.
Before I started my work with the March of Dimes, my only experience with prematurity was my cousin, who was born weighing less than four pounds and now is a healthy young adult who is more than 6 feet tall. Unfortunately, not all premature babies are so lucky. Prematurity can lead to lifelong health issues such as cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, vision and hearing loss and mental retardation. In fact, prematurity is the No. 1 cause of infant death.
Despite all of the research and medical advances of the past few decades, the rate of prematurity is rising. Children’s Corporate Center and the Children’s Clinics Building entrance is lighted in purple – the March of Dimes’ signature color – through all of November to help raise awareness in our community. Check out the March of Dimes Web site to find out more about what you can do to make sure every baby has a healthy start.
~ Melissa Hages, March of Dimes NICU Family Support specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
October is SIDS Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to review safe sleep practice for babies. Babies need to sleep safely and develop a healthy bond with their mothers. These two essential newborn needs must occur in the first months of an infant’s life, but they do not occur simultaneously.
How can a loving parent provide the safest possible sleep environment for that beautiful little infant? The most important advice has been repeated since 1992: Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. This has cut the number of infant deaths from sudden infant death syndrome in half.
Unfortunately, 50 percent of babies still are dying. A close look at the deaths has revealed that many of these babies who died were sleeping in unsafe places. We don’t know all of the answers to the question of why these babies die. But we do know the chance of death would have been reduced if those babies were placed to sleep in the way recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
…Continue reading →
When I explain the work of the Fetal Concerns Program to friends and colleagues, it’s hard to convey the emotion behind what we do. That’s one reason Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has made a new video, called “Molly’s story.” In this video, the Pechan family from Barneveld, Wis., shares their experience with the Fetal Concerns Program in Milwaukee.
The Fetal Concerns Program coordinates care for women whose pregnancies are complicated by health issues, especially …Continue reading this post
Dave, Jules, Brodie (3 1/2) and Marlie (1 1/2).
Today we are writing a “guest blog” to share with you our story. Six years ago, we got a lesson on what true love and dedication really mean. With the arrival of our first daughter, Lilie, we experienced a true miracle. The staff at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin not only cared for Lilie, they cared for us as well. Some people will read this and say, “Of course, that’s their job.” I would strongly disagree. For many of the doctors and nurses, this is their calling.
…Continue reading →
At the Infant Death Center of Wisconsin, a significant part of our job is to educate families about the importance of a safe sleep environment and what exactly that means: Infants should be placed alone, on their backs in a crib, bassinet or portable crib for every sleep time. If these safe sleep measures were practiced, the number of preventable infant deaths in our community would be greatly reduced.
…Continue reading →