Your most important job as a new parent is to keep your little one safe. One of the most critical periods to do this is during their sleep. Infant sleep safety has become a hot topic with the increasing number of Sudden Infant Death (or SIDS) cases. I would like to offer a few tips parents can use to keep their sleeping babies safe.
1. Choose a safe sleep environment: a safe sleep environment for an infant is a bed that is specifically designed for an infant to sleep in. This can be anything from a bassinet, to a baby sleeper to an actual crib. Avoid placing your baby on the couch, the floor, or an adult-sized bed. This can lead to potential dangers especially if someone else doesn’t see them there.
2. Clear the clutter: keep your infants’ sleep environment clear of clutter. Avoid placing bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows and toys in their sleep zone. These items can often lead to suffocation if your child becomes wedged next to one. If you must use a bumper, a nice alternative are the mesh bumpers that allow air circulation.
3. Use Co-sleeping Common Sense: co-sleeping can be an awesome experience for both you and your baby if done in a safe way. This basically means your baby shouldn’t be wedged between you and your partner. There is awesome co-sleeping gear on the market that allows you the same closeness to your baby.
4. A remedy for reflux: some infants have more serious cases of reflux than others. Positioning the baby at an incline can reduce reflux and prevent aspiration of any spit-up into the lungs. Avoid using a pillow or blankets to achieve the incline. I would encourage you to purchase a baby sleeper or even a car seat to achieve a similar effect.
5. Don’t rock yourself to sleep: sleep deprivation during the weeks following birth is a very real thing. If you find yourself rocking your baby to sleep and you start to fall asleep it’s probably a good idea to place your infant in their safe sleep environment. When we are sleep we have a tendency to relax our muscles. The arm that is holding your baby may very well relax as well. It’s okay for you put your infant down and retreat to your rest area to take a nap. You deserve it.
Nikki Hunter Greenaway
Nikki Hunter Greenaway is the proud mother of an awesome little man named Joseph. She is married to her best friend of 13 years, Jason. A native of Dallas, Nikki has a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Northwestern University Chicago, a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago and a Master’s in Nursing from LSU. In addition to being a mom and wife, she is the proud owner of Nurse Nikki LLC. She provides postpartum home visits to new moms and their babies during the first week, 2 weeks and 2 months after delivery. She also teaches private and public CPR classes to families, schools and businesses. She is currently completing her studies to become a certified lactation consultant. If you are interested in services visit her website.
Thanks for sharing! Number five was a big fear of mine. I used to freak myself out rocking my firstborn in the middle of the night.
Thank you for recommending co-sleeping and using common sense. I had a nurse recently scold my recommendation to a friend to co-sleep but to do so with common sense. I can assure you my 2yo is alive and kicking, in her own crib at this point, happy and healthy. I realize it doesn’t work for everyone, but the nurse was uninformed and rude.