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NORMAL - Nikita Ndorongo got an early Mother's Day present when her son, Noah, was born May 4. She received a few more gifts Saturday at a Safe Sleep for Baby shower.

One of them was a "This Side Up" baby T-shirt to remind moms that babies should sleep on their backs, not on their stomachs.

Ndorongo was one of about 20 expectant or new moms attending the event at The Baby Fold training center. It was sponsored by the Baby Fold's Healthy Start program.

"This is my fourth baby, so I didn't have a baby shower," said Ndorongo, who learned something as each was born.

Ashley Doage of Normal, who attended with her 3-month-old daughter, Asha'liyah Doage, has been told she has another Mother's Day present coming.

"My son told me not to look in his backpack until Mother's Day," said Doage, who has four children.

The baby shower provides an opportunity for new and future moms to learn more about sleep safety, to socialize with other new parents, and to focus on the new baby and themselves, said family support supervisor Dara Williamson.

The moms learned about swaddling babies, tips about products that can be unsafe if used improperly, and what some of the newer research about baby care means to them.

The shower is a new program. It was the first in Normal and only the fifth statewide offered by Nancy Maruyama and Pam Borchardt, community educators with Sudden Infant Death Services of Illinois.

The Naperville-based educators told the moms that more infant deaths are caused by accidents - sometimes with bedding or sleeping in the family bed - than by SIDS.

A few dads, friends, grandmothers and a grandpa attended along with the moms. "We're very pleased," Borchardt said of the turnout.

It's easy to get caregivers and children support staff to attend informational events, but not always the parents themselves, she said. The new program is a fun way for families to learn. Parents played games, including "pass the pacifier," and won prizes including pacifiers and baby toys. They also received a gift bag of information and baby gifts.

"SIDS scares me. I just wanted to know more facts," said Lauren Coughlin of Normal, who is expecting her first child in August.

She attended the shower with her mom, Karen Coughlin, also of Normal.

"I learned a lot, too," Karen Coughlin said. "Things I did aren't usual anymore."

Baby sleeping tips

- If you are given a baby gift of a support so baby can sleep on its side, take it back to the store and buy a pizza instead. Babies should sleep on their backs, not sides.

- Don't put a pillow into the baby's crib; it is a suffocation hazard.

- Baby shouldn't be sleeping in your bed with you. There is real "roll over danger."

- Some of the "coach sleepers," a separate baby bed to lie in your bed, or to attach to the bedside, can be OK. It is still important to make sure adult bedding doesn't flop over onto sleeping baby causing a suffocation danger.

- As part of "tummy time," for babies 1 to 2 months old, play games like peek-a-boo when the baby is on your belly. The more you play and engage with them on their tummies, the more they will associate this with fun time with mommy and daddy.

SOURCES: Nancy Maruyama, Pam Borchardt, Educators for Sudden Infant Death Services of Illinois Inc.

Compiled by Phyllis Coulter


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