Keeping your newborn baby safe while sleeping is a very important topic to educate yourself on as a new parent. Practicing sleeping safety can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, called SIDS, or other fatal and dangerous situations like choking or breathing trouble.
So what is the best way to help protect your baby while they sleep?
In this article, we will help you learn the 5 best safe sleeping tips for newborns!
Tip #1: Sleeping on Their Back in a Proper Surface and Crib
When you put your baby to bed, make sure that they are laying on their back. This can help prevent your baby from having breathing problems or suffocating in their sleep.
In addition to keeping them on their back, make sure that the crib’s mattress material is firm and flat. A mattress that is too soft can cause suffocation. Keep a mattress cover on that stays on the mattress tightly and snugly to prevent your baby from pulling it off and either chocking or suffocating themselves.
Make sure that the crib you buy has no gaping holes between the mattress and the bars or walls of the crib that your baby could get stuck in during the night and harm themselves.
Tip #2: Do NOT Co-Sleep
Co-sleeping, where the parent of the baby and the newborn sleep in the same bed together, is one of the most common causes of death in infants. Bed-sharing is the most common reason for death in babies 3 months or younger, making it a very important issue.
What you should do instead of bed-sharing or co-sleeping is keeping your newborns crib or sleeper in the same room as you and close by to your bed. This way, you have quick and easy access to your child, but you are preventing them from harm.
It is recommended that you and your newborn sleep in the same room, (not the same bed,) for about a year. Make sure that you have your baby sleeping in the same room as you for the first 6 months of life.
Tip #3: Avoid Putting Things into the Crib
Although it might seem like a nice idea to have teddy bears and fluffy blankets in the crib with your baby to help comfort them, they can harm or kill your baby.
Keep things like plushie toys, cot bumpers, sheepskin blankets, lamb’s wool blankets, and any other items that could suffocate or overheat your baby out of the crib.
The crib should be essentially empty at all times until the child is old enough to have stuffed animals in the bed with them, usually around 6 or 7 years old.
Tip #4: Do NOT Use Sleep Positioners
Sleep positioners are mats or pillow wedges designed to keep your baby on their back throughout the night so that they do not roll onto their stomachs and suffocate.
However, as well-intentioned as these types of products are, they can contribute to the death of your newborn. Instead of keeping them on their backs all night, the sleep positioners can end up blocking the nose and mouth of your baby if they move, causing them to suffocate.
Tip #5: Use a Pacifier
Using a pacifier when your baby is ready can help prevent SIDS. After about 3 or 4 weeks of breastfeeding, your baby should be able to sleep with a pacifier. If your baby does not like it, do not force it to use one.
It is okay if the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth as they sleep. One important thing is that you do not attach the pacifier to your baby on a string around its neck, connected to its clothes, or connected to a stuffed animal, as all these items could become a choking hazard or strangle your baby.
Make sure that you are following all the instructions that your doctor or child’s pediatrician gave to you, and that you are keeping up to date on any new information on safe sleeping.
If you have questions, contact your pediatrician and ask. They know how confusing all the instructions can be and want to help protect your baby just like you do. Don’t forget to have a look at Sleepstandards.com for more sleep tips and information. Good luck and happy napping!