Babies sleep a lot as infants. It’s essential that parents understand the dangers and how they can prevent their children from harm while sleeping. As a nurse and baby sleep expert, I’ve been helping families get the rest they need for years. Here are some tips on baby sleep safety.
1. Put Baby on Their Back
Make sure that you always place baby on his/her back when you are putting your little one down for the night or for a daytime nap. This is the best sleep position for babies because babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs are at a higher risk for SIDS. The reason for this is uncertain but there have been findings that suggest that infants who sleep on their stomachs get less oxygen or re-breathe their own carbon monoxide, or “bad air”. It is important to keep putting baby down on his back throughout the first year of life.
2. Monitor Your Baby
Having a baby monitor in the room with your baby allows parents to keep an eye or ear on their baby from another room. Monitors give you the ability to listen to your baby and check on them without disturbing their sleep. They help you to identify whether or not baby needs your attention and can provide parents with reassurance that baby is sleeping safe and sound.
3. Keep Crib Empty
It’s important to keep cribs empty of all items such as pillows, blankets, bumper pads and stuffed animals. All of these items pose suffocation hazards to babies. Any loose fabric or soft cushions can unravel and block baby’s nose and mouth. Fighting for air or becoming overheated from too many blankets may be linked to SIDS.
4. Safe Swaddling
Swaddling can be very beneficial for baby as it mimics touch and recreates the confinement felt in the womb. It also helps maintain the “back is best” sleep position and promotes good sleeping patterns. However, traditional swaddling blankets pose the risk of wrapping babies too tightly and reducing necessary movement in the hips causing hip dysplasia. Thick blankets or too many layers can cause overheating, and strong babies can break out of traditional swaddling blankets which can unravel and cover baby’s face.
Choose a safer option like the Woombie, a baby swaddle that requires no wrapping and is designed to gently hug baby while allowing for natural movement. The Woombie Air is a breathable swaddle that allows for excess body heat to escape making it the first ventilated swaddle.
5. Safe Co-sleeping
There is a debate over whether co-sleeping is beneficial to babies, and there are pros and cons for each side. The argument for co-sleeping is that children who sleep next to their parents tend to have better emotional health later on in life. They tend to be happier, less anxious, and have higher self-esteem. Some parents believe that leaving baby alone to cry itself to sleep results in stress, which can make baby more prone to illness. Parents who believe in co-sleeping find that baby falls asleep faster and sleeps better overall.
On the other side of the debate, parents argue that co-sleeping is risky for babies as there is an increased chance of overheating and a risk of suffocation if a parent accidentally rolls onto the baby. They believe that an infant sleeps better on his own as constant bed movement can disturb a baby who is co-sleeping. They also argue that co-sleeping does not leave parents with sufficient time to themselves to wind down for the night and does not allow for intimate alone time for parents.
For parents who do decide to take the co-sleeping route, make sure your mattress is firm with tightly fitted sheets and keep your pillow away from the baby. Keep the bed away from side tables and make sure there is no gaps baby can fall into. The best position for baby is on the side of mom instead of in the center of the bed. Consider buying a larger size bed so everyone has more space and can get a better night’s sleep.
Guest Blog by Karen Barski, BSN, RN, Mother of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, & Inventor of the Woombie Baby Swaddle
Karen has been an RN for 18 years, and has worked in many different nursing roles. As a Certified Infant Care Specialist, Karen counsels thousands of families yearly on a multitude of issues relating to pregnancy and infancy. Also, as a mother of five, she has invaluable experience and tips to share.
Since 2007, Karen’s company, KB Designs, has invented a line of signature baby swaddle products that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. There are multiple designs and sizes so that babies can enjoy the comfort and security of the Woombie up until the time they begin to roll.
Each product has been created and designed by Karen because of a need she identified in her life with her five children. With convenience, safety, and fashion in mind, KB Designs has helped over a half million babies and counting!
For more information, visit www.woombie.com.
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