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This week Laura Casey shares some newborn sleeping tips with us. I know as a new mom I was always worried about my baby’s sleep schedule and safety. So these tips for safe sleep for newborns are a great reminder for anyone with a new baby especially as a new mom!
Find out everything you need to ensure that your bundle of joy is sleeping safely!
One of the most important things when it comes to baby care is to make sure that a baby is sleeping safely! But what does that mean in practice and how to develop safe sleeping habits is a question that bothers a plenty of new parents. If you are one of them, you would be interested to read about safe sleep for newborns and how to make sure you are doing things correctly!
There is no greater joy for new parents than bringing their newborn home. But after the initial excitement, a lot of people realize that they are left with a lot of questions, and they have no clue where to look for answers. This understanding then leads to a lot of parents having various worries and fears.
Common worries and fears
For example, many parents worry about their little one’s sleeping patterns. People know, even before they become parents, that babies spend a lot of time sleeping. But, they are exposed to a lot of unreliable information, which leads them to believe that there are specific moments when changes in a baby’s sleeping habits should occur. Thus, they believe that all babies start sleeping through the night when they are about six months old. It is, however, a total misconception since each baby is different.
Another fear that plenty of parents experience is related to the risk of their newborn dying while sleeping. If you find yourself hovering over your little one while she or he is sleeping or shaking them because you are not sure they are breathing, you are not the only one. In recent years we are receiving a lot of information about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
As if that is not enough, scientists introduced another term, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS). It is an umbrella term for all unexpected infant deaths, including preventable ones. Grim statistics show that 3600 infants died due to SUID only in 2017. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1400 of these deaths are due to SIDS, 1300 due to unknown causes, and 900 due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in the bed. Various researches can freak us out and make us obsessively check on our babies.
However, instead of obsessing about these things, experts advise parents that it is better to focus on creating a safe environment for safe sleep for newborns. Besides learning about safe positions for newborns to sleep and safe ways for newborns to sleep, parents should get informed about the best crib mattress. Experts say that besides that, parents need to make sure to take care of their mental health, and in part, it means that they need to shift their attention toward getting informed and providing safe places for newborns to sleep and away from SIDS and other problems. We asked pediatricians how to make sure we provide a place for safe sleep for newborns, and we are sharing with you seven tips they gave us.
Related read: How Can I Help My Baby Sleep?
Tips for Safe Sleep for Newborns
Babies Should Sleep On the Back
It is a rule without an exception. From the moment they are born to their first birthday, babies should sleep exclusively flat on their back. It is proven that babies who sleep on their back have a much lower risk of dying of SIDS than those who are sleeping on the side or on the stomach. You might be wondering if side sleeping is safe for newborns. The problem with side sleeping is that there is no guarantee they will stay on the side, as they can easily roll on the stomach. Some people worry about the risk of choking when babies sleep on the back, but the risk is so negligible that even babies who have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) can safely sleep on the back.
Always Use a Firm Sleeping Surface
Another important rule is that the mattress your baby will sleep on has to be firm. Some people worry that the baby won’t be comfortable sleeping on such a hard surface. However, this is a total misconception. Additionally, regardless of whether you chose a bassinet, crib, or a portable crib for your child, you have to make sure that it meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Besides that, you have to use only fitted bedding and ensure that there isn’t anything like toys, pillows, or blankets in the crib. It is safe to start using blankets only when the baby reaches toddlerhood. In case you are worried that the little one might be cold, you can use a sleeping bag for babies. You might have heard about some products for safe sleep for newborns that reduce the risk of SIDS. Keep in mind that there isn’t evidence that can corroborate these claims and that you should use only products approved by CPSC.
Don’t Bring Baby to Your Bed
Plenty of people believe that a baby is safest if she or he is sleeping with them in the bed. They think that by putting the baby in bed, they can keep an eye on the child and thus make sure everything is okay. It is essential to point out that it is never safe to sleep with a newborn in bed. It is also not safe to sleep with a newborn on the chest. Some of you might wonder, is co-sleeping safe for newborns at all! We can say that if by co-sleeping you mean that you sleep in the same room but separate beds, then yes it is safe. Any other way of co-sleeping can be dangerous for the little one. You can bring your baby only to feed or comfort. The moment you wake up, move the baby back to her bed. We remind you once again that this is something to be avoided. However, as we do understand that this can happen since most new parents are continually exhausted, we feel that it is worth mentioning.
It Shouldn’t Be Too Hot in Baby’s Room
Because covers are not allowed, plenty of parents worry about their precious baby being cold during the night. So they increase the heating. A temperature of about 70℉ or 20℃ is perfect for your baby’s bedroom. If you are worried that the baby will be cold, put her in a sleeping bag for babies (sleep sack).
Sleeping with a Pacifier
Another thing parents wonder about is whether it is safe for newborns to sleep with a pacifier. Yes, it is even recommended to give them a pacifier before a nap or bedtime. Sleeping with a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS, even if it falls out of the baby’s mouth. In case you are breastfeeding, it is best to wait for it to start to go well. It usually takes two or three weeks for children and mothers to get used to breastfeeding. If your baby is formula-fed you can start using a pacifier whenever you want.
Related read: 6 Ways to Get Dad More Involved with Your New Baby
Make Sure Baby’s Bedroom is a Smoke-Free Zone
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t smoke in the place where your child is sleeping. You should designate only one room in your home for smoking and avoid going with your baby there. Also, try to make sure that you keep the baby away from smokers under any circumstances.
We covered the most important tips for safe sleep for newborns. It is an important topic, and every parent needs to take it seriously but without fear. In the end, we want to tell you that in those moments your baby is awake, you are free to offer some tummy time. It can be useful for strengthening your baby’s shoulders, arms, and neck. But you need to be able to monitor the baby the entire time!
What are your experiences with the baby’s safe sleep? Do you have some tips to share with us?
Author’s bio: Laura Casey is a blogger, mother, and housewife who shares her vast experience in parenting, motherhood, and pregnancy. Her articles have already helped a lot of people who deal with parenting. She draws inspiration from raising kids, Motherhood itself and blogging. She believes that Parenthood connects people all over the world.