28 January 2010

HOPE Network

HOPE Network offers these services free to all single mothers (pregnant, unmarried, separated, divorced) who have the need:

  • Friendship and encouragement
  • Free Second Saturday/support group (meets Sept-June)
  • South Side Trading Post, co-sponsored by Ascension Lutheran Church
  • Northwest Trading Post, co-sponsored by Holy Cross Church
  • Free clothing (and occasionally diapers, etc.) at several area clothing banks (clothing stocked by HOPE Network) - we mail mothers a flier listing all locations, hours of operation, etc.
  • Help to find other community resources
  • Children always welcome

Call 1-262-251-7333 (weekdays) to be added to mailing list or for Membership Benefits & Membership Application. (If you are dialing from Milwaukee, you will need to dial a "1" before the area code. It is NOT a long distance call.)

Annual membership dues are $5.00

27 January 2010

Not just a problem in Milwaukee


The Angels for Whom this Blog is Dedicated

These are the babies who lost lives were attributed to poor co-sleeping practices for 2009 and up to this point in 2010. There may be more, but these are the names I found. May their lives not be sacrificed in vain and may there be no more names to add to this list.

6 month baby boy, Kenosha - January 26, 2010
6 week-old Colton Pollard, Paddock Lake - January 15, 2010
4 months, 6 days Jizelle Rivera, Milwaukee - January 11, 2010
5 month Megan Bochart, Milwaukee - January 11, 2010
6 week-old Nevaeh McIntosh, Milwaukee - December 25, 2009
2 month Lailanni S. Amkha, Milwaukee - August 6, 2009
2 month Meekal McCleave, Milwaukee - May 17, 2009
6 week-old Demetrius Kimble, Milwaukee - April 25, 2009
2 month Tyler Winston, Milwaukee - April 19, 2009
3 month old Kymarius Hunt, Milwaukee - April 5, 2009
6 day-old Cieanna Buchanan, Milwaukee - March 8, 2009
Brianna Buchanan-Prescott, Milwaukee - April 17, 2008
Cierra Buchanan, Milwaukee - 1993


Did you know we have a Facebook fan page?? Simply search "Pleasant Dreams, Sleep Tight" and you will find us. You can also follow us on Twitter - pd_sleeptight. Help us get the word out and prevent any more tragic infant deaths!

26 January 2010

Can't Afford a Crib?

Parents unable to afford a crib a can obtain a Pack'n Play bassinet from such programs as the Milwaukee Nurse-Family Partnership. For information, call the city Health Department at (414) 286-8620.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department became an official Cribs for Kids® site in May 2009. Our Cribs for Kids® program provides Milwaukee families with Pack ‘n Plays® to help reduce deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and unsafe sleep. Pack ‘n Plays® are provided to families who are unable to purchase one and who are referred by a community professional such as a case worker or nurse.

Pack ‘n Plays® are used because they are portable and can be taken wherever the baby needs to be cared for. Before a family is given a Pack ‘n Play®, Cribs for Kids® provides education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment for the baby.

As part of a safe sleeping campaign, the City of Milwaukee has released this ad -
It is disturbing, but if it makes one parent take a look and make sure that they are providing their child with a safe sleeping environment, I am okay with people being uncomfortable.

Dr. Sears' Safe Co-sleeping checklist

Here are some ways to educate parents on how to sleep safely with their baby:

  • Use an Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper® Bassinet. An alternative to sleeping with baby in your bed is the Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper®. This crib-like bed fits safely and snuggly adjacent to parent's bed. The co-sleeper® arrangement gives parents and baby their own separate sleeping spaces yet, keeps baby within arm's reach for easy nighttime care. To learn more about the Arm's Reach® Co-Sleeper® Bassinet visit www.armsreach.com.

  • Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother. Like heat-seeking missiles, babies automatically gravitate toward a warm body. Yet, to be safe, place baby between mother and a guardrail or push the mattress flush against the wall and position baby between mother and the wall. Guardrails enclosed with plastic mesh are safer than those with slats, which can entrap baby's limbs or head. Be sure the guardrail is flush against the mattress so there is no crevice that baby could sink into.

  • Place baby adjacent to mother, rather than between mother and father. Mothers we have interviewed on the subject of sharing sleep feel they are so physically and mentally aware of their baby's presence even while sleeping, that it's extremely unlikely they would roll over onto their baby. Some fathers, on the other hand, may not enjoy the same sensitivity of baby's presence while asleep; so it is possible they might roll over on or throw out an arm onto baby. After a few months of sleep-sharing, most dads seem to develop a keen awareness of their baby's presence.

  • Place baby to sleep on his back.

  • Use a large bed, preferably a queen-size or king-size. A king-size bed may wind up being your most useful piece of "baby furniture." If you only have a cozy double bed, use the money that you would ordinarily spend on a fancy crib and other less necessary baby furniture and treat yourselves to a safe and comfortable king-size bed.

  • Some parents and babies sleep better if baby is still in touching and hearing distance, but not in the same bed. For them, a bedside co-sleeper is a safe option.

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Do not sleep with your baby if:

    1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.

    2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger of pendulous breasts and large fat rolls.

    3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.

    4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.

    5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.

  • Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

  • Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.

  • Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.

  • Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.

  • Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.

  • Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.

Parents should use common sense when sharing sleep. Anything that could cause you to sleep more soundly than usual or that alters your sleep patterns can affect your baby's safety. Nearly all the highly suspected (but seldom proven) cases of fatal "overlying" I could find in the literature could have been avoided if parents had observed common sense sleeping practices.


AAP Revises SIDS Prevention Guidelines ~ Christina Elston

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revised its guidelines and recommendations for the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the nation’s leading cause of infant deaths beyond the newborn period.

The pediatric organization announced the revision Oct. 10 at its national conference in Washington, D.C. Previous AAP recommendations on SIDS have included avoiding soft bedding, pillows and fluffy crib toys; keeping babies away from cigarette smoke; and dressing infants lightly for sleep. The newly updated guidelines suggest three new practices:

Avoid side sleeping. Put infants down to sleep only on their backs. The organization previously recommended putting infants to sleep on their backs or sides, because research has shown that stomach sleeping is associated with increased SIDS risk. However, subsequent studies have found that infants placed on their sides often roll onto their stomachs. “A lot of babies that start on their sides end up in a different position,” says AAP spokesperson Rachel Moon, M.D., who adds that propping infants with wedges or pillows also isn’t recommended because of the danger of suffocation.

Keep infants in close proximity to, but not in the same bed as, caregivers. Babies who share a bed with an adult are in danger of falling off the bed, or having the adult roll onto them, according to Moon. And adult bedding is just the type of soft stuff that increases SIDS risk. “You put your hand on a baby mattress and you can’t dent it,” she says. Sharing a room, on the other hand, decreases risk of SIDS by up to 20 percent, possibly because it keeps the baby from sleeping too soundly. “If you’re in the same room with the baby, neither one of you sleep quite as deeply,” Moon notes.

Offer a pacifier. Given the continuing debate about whether pacifier use leads to such health problems as ear infections, this recommendation might take parents by surprise. “It surprised us, too,” says Moon, but she adds that some studies found pacifier use decreases SIDS risk by up to 90 percent. Though researchers don’t yet know why, Moon says, “just about every study that has looked at it – that’s what we find.” The AAP recommends that caregivers offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime, but not force it if the infant refuses.

SIDS and the Heart

Sleeping habits aren’t the only factor in recent SIDS studies. Researchers reporting at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual meeting in September found that as many as one in 10 cases of SIDS could be prevented by early screening for a heart condition called long Q-T syndrome. The syndrome is a hereditary disorder of the heart’s electrical rhythm that can lead to an abnormally rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It usually affects children and young adults.

Researchers found that up to 8.4 percent of SIDS victims carry genetic mutations associated with the treatable condition, which has long been suspected as a cause of some SIDS cases.

Christina Elston is the contributing health editor for United Parenting Publications.



This blog is my first step in what I call a "put up or shut-up" effort. I seem to be on my soapbox in regards to the infant mortality rate in Milwaukee quite frequently, (which in and of itself, is a statement) but not actually DOING anything. So, please be patient while I get this site in order, sifting through the research, statistics and help available for tired parents.

So, who I am I? I am a high school history teacher by day and mom of 4 by night. I am very well aware of what it means to be sooo tired you just want to will the baby to sleep. I was lucky, my kids were always very good sleepers. Even my youngest who was a 29 weeker, slept through the night by the time she had been home for 6 weeks. I also feel I must state that all of mine slept in their own crib. We did not feel comfortable co-sleeping. But, I realize that babies are not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

So, here is what my research has found so far:
  • United States Infant mortality rate:
  1. total: 6.26 deaths/1,000 live births
  2. country comparison to the world: 180
  3. male: 6.94 deaths/1,000 live births
  4. female: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
  • There were 501 infant deaths in Wisconsin in 2008.
  • There were 72,002 babies born in Wisconsin in 2008.
  • While information for 2009 is not yet available, data from the state Department of Health and Family Services showing that the total number of infants who died in Milwaukee increased from 111 in 2007 to 120 in 2008. Milwaukee's infant mortality rate increased from 9.8 per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 10.7 in 2008.
  • The number of deaths related to unsafe sleep environments dropped, from 31 in 2007 to 16 in 2008. On average, 23 infants a year have been killed in sleep-related incidents since 2001.
  • There were 3 co-sleeping deaths in Milwaukee County since Christmas Day 2009 until January 11, 2010 and 5 co-sleeping deaths in Southeastern Wisconsin as of today. This follows a rash of co-sleeping related deaths in 2009.
  • My Livy was one of 898 babies born with a birthweight under 1500 grams in the state of Wisconsin in 2008.