Unlike you, your baby will spend most of his time sleeping. On average, newborns sleep for 16 to 20 hours a day and may only wake to eat. Since newborns spend most of their day sleeping, making sure that they are sleeping safely is very important.
Unfortunately, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation, and/or strangulation are all potential sleeping hazards. Here are tips to keep your new baby safe and sound while sleeping:
- Back to sleep is the safest way for a baby to sleep. Side sleeping is not safe and not advised since a baby sleeping on her side can easily roll on her tummy during sleep.
- Do not use pillows, blankets, sleep wedges, sleep positioners, bumper pads, toys, plastic bags, balloons, and other objects in the crib when your baby is sleeping.
- The crib mattress should be firm and fit the crib. You should not be able to insert more than 2 fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- Crib sheets should fit the mattress snugly.
- If using a blanket, make sure to tuck the blanket firmly to secure it, keep your baby's arms outside of the blanket, and ensure that the blanket does not come higher than your baby's chest. Sleep sacks are a great alternative to blankets.
- Do not place baby to sleep on a bed, couch, chair or other soft-sleep surfaces. Car seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers, and infant slings, are not recommended for routine sleep.
- Do not elevate the head of your baby’s bed unless specifically instructed by your baby’s healthcare provider.
- Keep your baby’s sleep environment away from hazardous objects such as cords, wires, or window covering cords.
- Do not overheat your baby while she sleeps. Dress your baby in one additional layer of clothing as you have on to feel comfortable. The bedroom temperature should be kept at a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Touch your baby’s skin and feel her temperature.
- Remove hats while sleeping.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a separate, but proximate sleep environment. The AAP advises against sleeping with your baby, especially if your baby is younger than three months of age.
- Do not co-sleep twins or allow for infants younger than one year of age to sleep with siblings.
To learn more about SIDS and Safe Sleep, read our article Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST
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