Now that you are a new mother, you suddenly see that safe sleep for your baby is vitally important. Go ahead and add that to all the other dangers that have cropped up since you brought your little one home from the hospital. Creating the right environment for snoozing ensures safe sleep for your baby and more restful nights for you…when you actually get to sleep.
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Back to Sleep
No matter what you’ve heard from Mom and Grandma, safe sleep for your baby absolutely requires back sleeping. When your little angel sleeps on her stomach or side, the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, goes up dramatically. This is because she can get her face pressed against the bed and be unable to move it. Always put your baby to sleep on her back and carefully instruct any other caregivers to do the same.
Buy a Firm Mattress
The only safe mattress is a crib mattress. They’re designed to be safe for your baby and are typically firm rather than being extra soft. I know that doesn’t sound too comfortable, but a squishy mattress ups the risk of SIDS because your baby can get so nestled in there that he has difficulty breathing.
Don’t Share the Bed
Yes, it’s a form of attachment parenting, but it’s not recommended by most pediatricians. When you snuggle your baby into your bed, the chances of getting blankets over her face or getting wedged against you goes up. Let’s face it – new moms are tired and you might not realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. Instead, place your baby’s crib or cradle in your bedroom so she’s close by, but safe at the same time.
Skip the Fancy Bedding
All that fluffy bedding for the crib is really tempting. It brings together the nursery and makes it fun for your baby to look at and play in. However, that fluff translates to an increased risk of SIDS. Babies can’t move around that well, especially newborns, so if he gets his face pressed against the crib bumper or decorative pillow, he could stop breathing. All you need in the crib is a securely fitting crib sheet.
You’re probably wondering why you’d ever refrain from covering your little one with a blanket. The truth is that blankets on your baby’s face can restrict breathing. Instead, buy an adorable sleep sack. It’s like a sleeping bag with arms. Your baby will be warm and snug, but you can rest easy that she’s not getting tangled in her blanket. If you must have a beloved blankie in the crib, choose one that’s loosely knitted or crocheted so there are holes for breathing.
Don’t Let Your Baby Sleep Just Anywhere
It can be awfully tempting to just let your baby sleep in his car seat if he won’t sleep without being rocked. I’ve been there. But, this isn’t safe. Your baby could slump down, which can interfere with breathing, or he could roll out of the car seat and hit the ground, causing him to be injured. The best place for your baby to sleep is in his crib or cradle at all times. Unless he’s dozing in your arms as you pace the living room praying for a couple of minutes of silence. I’ve been there too.
Call the Doctor
When my kids were tiny, I had the doctor on speed dial. I’m pretty sure he got sick of hearing my voice. While you probably don’t need to call about every little thing, make sure to notify your baby’s pediatrician right away if she ever seems to have trouble breathing despite following these tips. If your baby has health problems, such as acid reflux, talk to the doctor about special safe sleep habits to try.
Don’t you love watching your baby sleep? These tips will make it enjoyable and safe at the same time.
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