I'm sure I'm not alone in how I feel, I'm sure that there are many other parents who have lost children to SIDS that feel the same way about the prevention campaigns. They are not what they seem. Nor are they what they intend to be.
Since the beginning of the "back to sleep" campaign, many counties have done away with using "SIDS" as a cause of death. For a while, this really bothered me. I realize now, it didn't bother me because of it not being used, it bothered me because it skews what the "back to sleep" campaign has really accomplished.
For me, SIDS is not a cause of death. How could the cause of death be Sudden Infant Death? How does that even make sense? The cause of death cannot be death. It just can't be. And no matter how desperately I search and search for answers to find a cause, I am slowly coming to terms that sometimes, no matter how much we want something, or how much we love something, or what we would do for something, we don't get to keep it. We could have done everything right (and in my opinion we did and then some) and Matthew could have still died. He would still be gone.
Back to sleep? Check. Breastfeed? Check. No smoking? Check. Circulating fan? Check. No over bundling? Check. Sleep close to parents? Check. Make it to 39 weeks. Sorry, we didn't get that one. :( But, babies are born earlier than 33 weeks all the time and survive past a year and live long, fun filled lives.
How can we both preach that there are all these things that we can do to prevent SIDS and also be told there is nothing we can do to stop it? What if we reduce all the risks and our risks are 0 and our baby still dies? Then what. What was the point?
I think instead of being called SIDS prevention tips, it should be tips for a healthy baby. Keeping lots of stuffed animals out of the bed won't prevent SIDS, but it will prevent suffocation. Same with those who say they know someone whose baby died from SIDS after they rolled over on them in their sleep. Again, that is not SIDS, it is suffocation. Not smoking around a baby equals a healthier baby. One with stronger lungs, fewer respiratory infections and therefore fewer risks of death in general.
I think it's important for parents to be given guidelines on basic newborn safety and ways to prevent suffocation, I just hate that it is marketed as SIDS prevention. SIDS does not equal suffocation. SIDS does not have any rhyme or reason. SIDS is the complete shutdown of all systems, an infant cannot be resuscitated from SIDS.
The simple, painful truth is, sometimes, very loved, wanted and well cared for babies die suddenly, without a reason and leave behind a forever grieving family.