Babies are incredible little miracles. At the same time, it is important to understand that they are also very vulnerable during the first years of their lives. Since many of their brain and body functions haven’t fully developed, there are safety concerns surrounding newborns while they sleep.
Infants between one and six months old are at risk of a phenomenon known as SIDs https://www.livescience.com/46782-sids-risk-factors-babies-age.html. While the risk does sharply drop off at six months, you do still have to remain alert until your baby is a year old.
Now, while all this can seem like rather scary news, there is a silver lining. There is actually quite a bit you can do to ensure that your little one is safe and healthy. If you are eager to learn what these strategies are, here is what you need to know:
Get Your Baby a Crib
It can be tempting to share a bed with your baby, especially if he or she seems to sleep better this way. However, this is incredibly dangerous. For one thing, there have been cases of sleepy parents rolling on top of their newborns! For another thing, adult mattresses aren’t suitable for infants.
It is important that you get your little one their own crib and put them in there whenever they need to sleep. The crib should meet all the necessary safety standards. It should be strong and made from materials that are safe for your little one. Also, the slats should be spaced closely together so that your infant can get their head or limbs stuck in between them.
Then, you have to think about the mattress. You should always shop for the crib first as the mattress needs to fit the bed perfectly. There should be no gaps in between at all. To make the right choice for your baby, always look at guides such as https://littleonemag.com/best-crib-mattresses/.
Look for firm padding – infants need a lot more support than adults do. Although it may seem uncomfortable to you, it is actually what babies require for healthy sleep. Also, make sure that it is made from a natural fiber that is safe for your little one.
Keep the Crib Bare
There are plenty of ways you may want to “decorate” your baby’s crib. You may want to set up lots of toys around the perimeter or even place bumpers to prevent your little one from colliding with the wooden slats. Regardless, you shouldn’t do any of this.
All these items can actually increase the risk of suffocation in infants. So, make sure that your crib is completely bare when you put your baby down to sleep. In fact, the bed should only have a fitted mattress on it – nothing else.
This means that you should avoid using a pillow or blanket as well. Once again, these can cause suffocation while your baby is sleeping. Babies don’t need pillows – a firm mattress will do the trick. If you want to make sure that your baby stays warm during the night, invest in a sleep sack and avoid blankets. These can get tangled up around your little one.
Put Your Baby to Sleep on Their Back
All experts strongly recommend parents to put their little ones to sleep on their back. Now, it can be tempting to allow your baby to fall asleep on his or her stomach. This is because many babies sleep more soundly in this position. However, if you want to reduce the risk of SIDs, then you should always keep them on their back.
Doctors aren’t entirely certain why this is the best sleeping position, although they believe it has something to do with keeping the airways clear. Nevertheless, babies who sleep in this position are much less likely to suffer from certain health issues.
On a similar note, you shouldn’t allow your baby to sleep on their side either. This is because they can easily roll onto her tummy in this position. And, as you are aware, very young babies aren’t capable of rolling onto their back on their own.
Opt for Room Sharing
You may want to wait until your baby is a year old before you place them in their own nursery. Until then, consider setting up your little one in your room. While you should never share a bed with them, keep the crib in your bedroom until they are well into their first year.
When your baby is in your room, you are more alert about what is going on. So, if they do happen to roll onto their tummy, for instance, you can always reposition them. Or, if they are experiencing any kind of distress, you will be able to tend to them immediately.
As an added bonus, having your baby in your room will make it easier to handle those late-night feedings and changes. Not to mention, your child won’t be able to work themselves up into a tantrum as you can reach them fairly quickly.
Beware of Hyped-Up Products
There are numerous products that will all claim to reduce the risk of SIDs. These may be specific baby monitors, heart and breathing monitors, and other gadgets. However, none of these claims have been verified by experts. In fact, there is no guarantee of results.
Thus, it is a much better idea to save your money and stick to more renowned methods. If you do want to invest in a particular product, make sure to do your research. Determine if pediatricians or other experts have backed up the science. If this isn’t the case, there is really no need for you to add these gadgets to your shopping list.
These are the top sleeping safety guidelines that you need to know. So, if you have a newborn on the way, you know exactly what you need to do. Take these precautions and you will be able to ensure that your baby is healthy and happy during their sleep time. You will be a more satisfied parent as well.