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8 Safe Sleep Practices For Newborns: Tips to Prevent SIDS


Teddy Bear In A Crib
Teddy Bear In A Crib

One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is planning your baby’s new room. You can have fun with the wall color, carpet, and dolls, but when it comes to the crib, it’s better to avoid aesthetics and focus on making a safe place for your baby to rest.


A majority of infant deaths are caused by unsafe sleep practices and SIDS, which is why it's important to know what to do, and more importantly, what not to do when it comes to your baby's crib.



Why does SIDS Happen?


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexplained death of an infant younger than the age of one. Some suspect that infections can cause SIDS. It has no warning signs or symptoms, which can cause many parents to worry.


Taking care of your child during the first month can be challenging, but it's also an incredibly rewarding experience. To ensure your child's safety, it's important to learn and adopt best practices that can help prevent SIDS. By taking the following precautions, you'll be well-equipped to provide the best possible care for your little one.


8 Safe Sleep Practices For Newborns

Here are 8 safe sleep practices for newborns.


1. Sleeping Position


One of the biggest reasons behind SIDS is putting babies to sleep on their stomachs or sides, which can lead to suffocation or crush their lungs. Make sure you place your child on their back when you put them to bed.


Keeping them in this position can decrease the chances of SIDS. After a few months, they will begin to move around in their sleep. This is natural so don’t fret too much. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they aren’t sleeping in a position that can cause suffocation.



2. Temperature And Clothing


Covering your baby in too many layers, socks and blankets can overheat their body temperature. Stick with a simple sleeper and then wrap them in a loose swaddle.


Swaddling can stop them from fidgeting, and it also makes them feel warm and cosy, which helps them fall asleep. You should swaddle only for the first few months or so, after which your child will begin to move around more.


When checking your baby’s temperature, remember to not be fooled by their cold hands and feet. Babies have less blood circulation, so their hands and feet (and sometimes legs) are cold to the touch.


Just keep in mind that if you are feeling cold, then your baby is most likely feeling cold as well. However, preparing your child for the first winter is a different matter altogether.


A Newborn's Foot Showing While It Is Wrapped In A Blanket
A Newborn Wrapped in a Blanket

3. Establish A Schedule


There will never be a perfect time at which you should start building your baby's sleep routine. The more you delay it, the harder it will be for you and your child to get a good night's sleep.


It’s recommended to start a routine about two months after your baby is born. Around this time, their internal clock and development will be fairly steady.


Waking them up in the morning and letting them nap during the day is a good way to get them started. That way, they will be tired by the time it is night. This will allow you to hopefully get some rest too.


Teaching your baby the difference between day and night can take time. You should aim to have an established schedule when your baby is around five to six months. If your baby is still having trouble sleeping, try consulting a doctor.



4. Crib Or Bassinet? Which is Preferred?


When choosing a bed for your child, you can go with either a Crib or Bassinet. A bassinet can only be used for the first few months after your baby is born. It’s dangerous to continue using it after the initial months, after which your child will be too heavy, which may cause them to fall over.


A bassinet is a good option if you want to keep your baby in the same room as you for the first few months because it takes up less space than a crib. It is also higher up, which makes it easier to put your child to bed, especially post-pregnancy when your body is still recovering.


On the other hand, cribs can be used in the long term, and don’t have the risk of tipping over like a bassinet. On the downside, they are lower, which may not be suitable for your back. They also take up space, which means you might not be able to keep the crib in the same room as you.


Precautions for Using either a Crib or Bassinet


Whichever you choose, make sure it is approved and safe for your child. It should have a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Soft bedding can lead to SIDS.


Do not use cribs with drop-side rails or bassinets with an open side. Avoid those special add-ons such as a rocking feature, lacy trim, or other styles that can be harmful. If you are using an old crib or bassinet, make sure it is in good condition.


Don’t substitute a crib or bassinet with car seats, couches, adult beds, and so on. Your child should have their own safe place to rest. Some safety guidelines and additional information on baby products can be found here!


Baby Bassinet
Baby Bassinet

5. Don’t Sleep With Your Baby


There is a difference of opinion on whether or not sleeping in the same room as your child can reduce the chance of SIDS. Some parents say that having your infant sleep in the same room as you can make you restless and prevent you from getting sleep.


Other parents prefer keeping them in the same room because it’s easier to feed their children and watch over them. If you choose to do this, to be on the safe side, keep your child in the same room as you only for the first few months. You should then shift them to their room when they are around a year old.


Whether you decide to do so or not, one thing you need to avoid is sleeping in the same bed with them. Make sure your baby has its own crib or cot to prevent suffocation.



6. Breastfeed


Breastfeeding can reduce the chances of SIDS by up to 50%. If you can, you should at least breastfeed your baby for a few months after they are born.


“Experts recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively (without formula, water, juice, non–breast milk, or food) for the first 6 months. Then, breastfeeding can continue until 12 months (and beyond) if it's working for you and your baby.” (Kids Health)


Breast milk contains antibodies that can prevent infections such as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), which is thought to be the leading infection that causes SIDS.


Giving your baby a pacifier can also help reduce the chances of SIDS. Don’t force them to take it though. If it falls out then you don’t need to put it back in. Make sure not to pin it to their clothing or anywhere else. This can be dangerous.


Baby Laying In Crib
A Baby Laying In A Crib

7. Don’t Use Those Baby Products


If you are spending your well-deserved rest time during pregnancy surfing the web, feel free to binge-shop for cute stuffed animals, baby clothing, and other baby products. However, resist the urge to buy things for your baby’s crib.


Avoid stuffing it with toys, bumpers, positioners, and other baby gadgets. These can cause suffocation or strangulation. There is a common misconception that baby monitors prevent SIDS. However, this has not been proven, so avoid relying on them.



8. Don’t Smoke


Keep your child away from smoke exposure during pregnancy and afterwards.

According to CDC: “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke".


Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”


Takeaway


Although SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the leading cause of infant death, it can be easily avoided by taking the right precautions. Avoid smoking and doing things that will make it harder for your baby to breathe. Make sure they have plenty of space and room. By ensuring your baby has safe sleeping practices for your baby, you can prevent harmful infections and problems that can lead to SIDS.


If you're a parent and reading this, comment below and tell us about your baby's safe sleep practice and we'll be happy to add them.





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