Babies need a lot of sleep in their first few months, although sadly their sleeping schedule doesn’t always match your own. For this reason, you can find that they sleep in the most unusual places, like in the car seat, or in a rocker or just in your arms. These are not the safest places for your baby to sleep, and although it can feel like such a relief when they do eventually nod off, safe sleeping spaces for your baby trumps convenience every time. Because of the devastating consequences of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), safe sleeping is of paramount importance to parents, so read on for more advice on safe sleeping for babies so you can be well prepared for what lies ahead.
Where should babies sleep?
It is recommended that you put babies down to sleep in their cot or Moses basket on their backs. This helps to prevent any breathing obstructions and keeps airways clear. Babies should also be placed with their feet at the bottom of the crib with their head uncovered and their blanket no higher than their tummy.
You should not let your baby sleep in their rocker, in a car seat, in your arms or on their Babocush comfort cushion. It can be dangerous for your baby to be slumped over in their car seat, and even more so if you are holding your baby when they nod off in case you do the same. The Babocush is designed to hold babies safely on their tummies to keep airways open, help relieve wind and gas and for them to relax and settle on – but it should never be used as an alternative to their proper crib, cot or Moses basket.
How long should babies sleep for?
Babies can sleep up to 15 hours a day for their first three months, in sleeping patterns that differ from individual to individual. Some babies will quickly develop a night time routine and sleep for 8 hours straight, and others will take frequent naps for a few hours at a time. Until you get your baby established into a routine, it will feel like sleep is pretty scattered, so you will need to work around your baby for the first few months to ensure they get all the rest they need.
How do you keep babies at a safe temperature when they sleep?
Many parents are worried about keeping their baby a comfortable temperature when they sleep – after all, if you get too warm or cold during the night you can throw off covers or add more layers as appropriate, but your baby cannot. The risk of SIDS is also higher for babies who get too hot when they sleep.
For the first 6 months, your baby will probably sleep in your room with you, but when they move into their own room there are a few things to be aware of. First, check the temperature of the bedroom – many baby monitors now come with a built-in thermometer which can alert you when the room gets too hot. Never use a duvet, quilt or pillow for a baby under one year old, to reduce risk of suffocation.
When it comes to clothing for your baby to sleep in, fitted is best, so that nothing can ride up around your baby’s nose or mouth while they sleep, and cotton fabrics are ideal because they are breathable and will help your baby maintain their temperature while they sleep.
As babies will spend so much of their time sleeping in their first few months, you’ll want to make sure this time is spent as safely as possible to reduce the risk of SIDS. These tips and pointers will help you, but if you want even more useful information on how to reduce the risk of SIDS, these guidelines will steer you in the right direction.
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