Whoever coined the term “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” obviously doesn’t remember what it’s like to parent a newborn.
We know how it really is. Those first few nights at home with your infant come and you are exhausted. The baby finally falls asleep in their bassinet, and as tired as you are, sleep can just feel like a challenge. Your parental instincts kick in and instead of catching ZZZs, you're checking to make sure that baby is OK every 5 minutes. You want your infant to sleep quietly, but then when they do, you worry that something is wrong.
Don't worry, we’ve been there before too.
The good news is that there are sleep consultants out there to help! To kick off Baby Safety Month, we asked Gentle Sleep Expert Rebecca Michi to weigh in with her top tips. If you take Rebecca’s tips to heart and follow them, she tells us that baby will sleep safe and sound.
1. The American Academy of Pediatrics, The Australian Health Service, and the NHS suggest sharing a bedroom with your child for at least the first 6 months.
Room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
2. Always lay your child on their back when sleeping.
If your child can roll over, they are okay to sleep on their tummy.
3. If your child falls asleep whilst sleeping in the car seat, remove them from the seat and lay them in their bed when you get back home.
I know it's tempting to let them remain sleeping in the bucket seat, but they are safer in their bed.
4. If your child falls asleep in the carrier, make sure they remain close enough to kiss, and your child's chin is off their chest.
You may find that they get great naps in the carrier.
5. When your child is sleeping in a bassinet or crib, we don't want to have anything apart from a mattress, a well-fitting sheet, and baby in there.
Anything else, bumpers, loose blankets, etc., can be suffocation risks.
6. Don't keep the bedroom too warm. The ideal temperature is between 65F and 70F.
If you want to check your child's temperature to see if they are feeling warm or cool, check their chest or back. Infants circulation isn't great, and their hands and head can feel quite cool. Don't worry; they're comfortable.
7. It's safer to bring your child into bed with you during the night for a feed than a chair or couch.
If you do accidentally fall asleep whilst feeding your child will be safer in your bed. Make sure you keep your bed as safe as possible, even if you are not planning on bedsharing.
8. Don't use sleep positioners in the sleep space.
You may think that they keep your child safe and in one position, but they are a risk. Remember, nothing extra in the bed.
9. Always keep your child's head and face uncovered whilst they are sleeping in their bed.
10. Attach furniture to the wall.
As your child begins to climb, we want to make sure they are in a room where they can be alone and safe. That way, if they decide to climb a piece of furniture, it won't topple on them.
If you have any questions about safe sleep, please check with your child's doctor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Michi is a British born and trained Children's Sleep Consultant and author based in Seattle, WA, USA. She works with families all over the globe. Rebecca is passionate about helping children and their parents build healthy habits so they can finally get some sleep. By transforming drama into dreamland, her mission is to help your children—and you—get a good night's sleep all without ever having to leave your child to cry-it-out.