Ten tips for safe sleeping Dr Sarah J. These apply to all babies under one. Put your baby on their back to sleep Babies are more at risk of sudden infant death syndrome SIDS when they sleep prone; that is, face down. Both factors can contribute to overheating, a risk factor for SIDS.
If you are breastfeeding and bed-sharing, your baby may spend time in the side position during and following nursing. Although this position is recognized as a risk factor for SIDS, we do not know if this also applies to breastfeeding, bed-sharing babies, who are much less likely to roll into the prone position see page in Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering.
Ready for a bed? Can I put my twin babies in the same cot to sleep?
It may be safer to turn your baby onto his or her back 2. Loose bedding can cover and suffocate. Babies in a cot are safest tucked in firmly with their feet at the bottom of the cot. Co-sleeping babies also need to be kept from slipping under the bedding. Waterbeds and beanbags are not safe places for sleeping babies, who can slip into a soft pocket of bedding. Firm mattresses are recommended wherever your baby sleeps. If one parent is very heavy, use a very firm mattress to ensure that the baby cannot roll into a depression in the mattress..
If bed sharing with another adult as well as your baby, it is probably safer to sleep your baby on the outside edge, rather than between two adults 3. Avoid entrapment hazards A small baby can become wedged in a gap and suffocate.
An adult mattress for bed sharing may be safer on the floor well away from walls, but you should always ensure that a baby who rolls off is safe from entrapment and injury. This also applies to mobiles hung over cribs cots. It is recommended that bed sharing adults prevent entanglement or strangulation by tying up their hair if it is longer than waist-length.
Again, crib cot bumpers with or without ties are not recommended. Dress your baby appropriately for the room temperature It is important to avoid both over- and under-heating.
In winter, your baby does not need both very warm clothing and very warm bedding. A bed-sharing baby will be kept warm by body contact and also does not need more than one layer of clothing. A cotton singlet or T-shirt, long or short sleeved according to the climate, and a diaper nappy is usually sufficient.
Natural fibre cotton, wool, hemp, silk clothing and bedding is recommended. Also ensure that the room is not over-heated or too cool. Consider whether the heating, bedding and clothing would add up to a comfortable sleeping temperature for you.
Keep your baby smoke and drug free This means avoiding smoking during pregnancy as well as after birth. Studies show that babies born to mothers who smoked in pregnancy have an increased risk of SIDS, and it is recommended that these mothers do not bed-share with their babies. After birth, keep cigarette smoke away from your baby at all times. For mothers who cannot quit, cutting down will reduce the risk to some extent.
If either parent smokes, they can still safely sleep their baby on a separate surface close by.
It is also important that bed sharing parents are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription tranquillizers and sleeping pills. Do not leave your baby to sleep alone in an adult bed Adult beds have entrapment hazards, as noted, as well as the danger of suffocation from soft bedding. Your baby is safer sleeping alone in a crib cot or in a safe place on a mattress on the floor, away from pets.
It is also unsafe to sleep a baby next to a sibling or young child who might roll onto them. Cultures with low SIDS rates incorporate baby sleep-time into family life, for example having babies sleep in a family room, rather than isolating them at sleep-time, which may increase SIDS vulnerability. Most babies will sleep happily with a large amount of noise and activity around them. Consider how noisy and active it was in your belly!
Ensure that older babies in cots cannot climb or fall out Once your baby can sit, lower the mattress if adjustable. Once the baby can stand, put the mattress at the lowest level and ensure that there are no aids to escape — that is, items the baby can stand on or pull down into the crib cot. A child who is taller than 35 inches 90cm has outgrown the crib cot. Do not put your baby to sleep on a sofa or chair Not only is this dangerous in terms of falling off, but babies can become entrapped in the gaps of a sofa or chair, which are much more hazardous than a bed, crib or cot.
Babies can become entrapped or suffocated while sleeping in these, which are not designed for unsupervised sleep. Breastfeed your baby In some studies, breastfeeding has been shown to give added protection against SIDS, which may be greater with more frequent breastfeeding..
Breastfed babies arouse more readily from deep sleep, which may help protect from SIDS. This extra breastfeeding provides more nourishment for the baby and benefits the mother by delaying the return of her fertility, acting as a natural family spacing.
If you are formula feeding, bed sharing may be less safe: Mothering no , Sept—Oct , especially the following articles.
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