With 6 little ones in our family, sleep has been a constant conversation in our house for many years. This week as part of ‘Safer Sleep Week’ we have invited the lovely folk at myHummy to share their advice for Safe Sleeping.
You’ve done it! You've had a baby and now it’s time to bring the little star home. While it is an exciting time, it can also be very overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. Perhaps baby’s nursery was ready for what felt like forever but now that you are home, you are having doubts. It could be due to different stories you have heard, conflicting advice everyone is giving you or even midwife’s tips. All this information can really cause chaos in your head and it can be hard to distinguish the “right” information.
Hearing about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can terrify anyone. However, it can be avoided by following a few simple tips that dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS and allow your baby to sleep soundly:
Clutter free sleep environment: You should start by limiting items in your baby’s cot. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any loose bedding except a blanket that is tucked in at the bottom of the mattress and on the sides. Pillows are not recommended due to potential suffocation risk and although cot bumpers might look cute, they could also pose a danger to your baby. Basically, the emptier the cot / Moses basket, the safer it is for your little one. Take a look at the Lullaby Trust who have made such incredible progress educating new parents to the dangers of a cluttered sleep environment.
Sleeping position: Whilst sleeping position advice has changed a lot over the years, the current research shows that the safest sleeping position for baby is on their back unless medically advised otherwise.
Consider where your baby sleeps: Babies should sleep in a clear sleep space, which is easy to achieve in a cot or Moses basket. However, the Lullaby Trust have recognised that some families make the decision to co-sleep and have issued the following advice for safer co-sleeping:
- Keep pillows, sheets, blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat. A high proportion of infants who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding
- Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
- Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall
It is important for you to know that there are some circumstances in which co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous:
- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
- Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
- You are extremely tired
- Your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less)
- Your baby was born at a low weight (2.5kg or 5½ lbs or less)
- Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby, this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times
Temperature: The most optimal temperature for your baby’s room is between 16-20 Degrees Celsius. If your baby feels too hot and / or sweaty, you should remove some layers of clothing.
Swaddling: Some parents decide to swaddle their baby for sleep. It is important to do it safely and follow the swaddling instructions. It is vital to remember not to put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front and not to swaddle them too tight.
Background noise: When it comes to sleep, unfortunately not every baby sleeps like a baby! The biggest mistake new parents make is assuming that babies will sleep better in complete silence. On the contrary! The environment your baby has just spent 9 months in – your womb - is a very noisy place. Just imagine the sound of blood running through your blood vessels, the movements of your stomach and intestines. Many doctors, like renowned American paediatrician Dr Harvey Karp, recommend recreating conditions similar to those that newborn babies experienced in their prenatal life. Babies feel safe when surrounded by the right amount of white and / or pink noise (think of the sound of the sea!) as they simulate the prenatal environment perfectly. White noise can also have a soothing effect on babies suffering from colic.
For further information from the sleep experts at myHummy, head over to their website.
We hope these tips help baby and you get a restful night's sleep. Sleep tight!