Accidents and/or sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) results in the annual deaths of thousands of babies in the United States while they are asleep. Babies, especially newborns, sleep for approximately 16 hours on a daily basis, waking for an hour or two after every 3 to 4 hours whenever they need to eat.
Considering that babies sleep so much, parents should be extra-careful to ensure the safety of their sleeping infant and minimize the risk of sleep-related death. If you are wondering how to keep your sleeping baby tips, here are some things you should keep in mind.
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Babies Should Always Sleep On Their Backs Until They Are 1 Year Old.
Ensuring that babies sleep on their backs can significantly reduce the likelihood of SIDS. Babies sleeping on their sides can easily roll onto their stomach. Parents have no need to worry that their baby might choke while asleep on its back. In fact, babies who have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) should also sleep on their backs too.
Skin-To-Skin Contact With The Mother After Birth Is Necessary
After giving birth, a mother should always place her newborn baby skin-to-skin, at least for an hour or so after birth. While skin-to-skin contact with the mother is also important beyond that, whenever not possible, the baby should be placed on its back in a bassinet or cradle. In an NICU, premature babies are often placed on their stomachs because of their breathing problems. However, once those problems subside, they should immediately be switched to lying on their backs so they may get accustomed to it.
Babies Should Always Sleep Over A Firm Surface
Bassinets, cribs, play yards and portable cribs are ideal places for babies to sleep, as long as they fulfill the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s safety standards. Of course, there should always be a firm and tight-fitting mattress with a fitted sheet. Apart from the baby, there should not be anything else in the bassinet or crib. The firm surface, i.e. the mattress, should be hard enough that it does not indent once the baby is laid down on it.
The Sleep Area Of Babies Should Be In Their Parents’ Room
At least for the first 6 months, or even for a year after birth, babies should sleep in the same room as their parents. The bassinet, crib, play yard or portable crib should be placed in the parents’ bedroom, near their bed. The risk of SIDS can be cut down by half if babies share the bedroom with their parents. Additionally, parents can comfort, feed and watch their baby if they are in the same room together. However, keep in mind that room sharing is not the same as bed sharing, which should be avoided.
A Baby Should Never Share The Parents’ Bed
A baby should only be on the parents’ bed when it is being comforted or fed. Once the parents are ready to fall asleep, they should always first place the baby its back in its sleep area in the same room. Parents should also make sure there are no blankets, pillows, sheets or any such objects around when their baby is on the bed, in case they end up falling asleep with the baby still on the bed. Babies who are under the age of 4 months, were born premature or had a low birth weight should particularly not be sharing the bed with the parents.
A Baby’s Sleep Area Should Be As Empty As Possible
A baby’s sleep area should not contain any loose bedding or soft objects as the infant could get entrapped, strangulated and/or suffocated. So, there should be no products like blankets, bumper pads, comforters, pillows, quilts, sheepskins and/or toys present inside the baby’s sleep area, and/or attached to its sides. Infant sleep clothing like wearable blankets are specifically designed to ensure that a baby can be kept warm without having to use something like an individual, loose blanket. Furthermore, parents simply need to dress their baby in just a layer more than what they are wearing.
Babies Should Be Given A Pacifier Before Going To Bed
Babies should be given a pacifier at both bedtime and nap time. It does not matter if the pacifier eventually slips out of the baby’s mouth because it will still effectively lower the risk of SIDS. However, a pacifier should only be offered after the baby has gotten used to breastfeeding, i.e. after 2 to 3 weeks following birth.
By implementing all of the above, parents can ensure that their baby sleeps safely and that the risk of SIDS is minimal.