Choosing a sleeping arrangement for your baby is an important part of getting your home ready for a new member of the family. Check out our tips for making sure your baby is sleeping safely.
Keeping your baby in the room with you for those first few months makes breastfeeding easier. You should have a small crib, pack’n play or bassinet next to your bed so that your baby can be put down to sleep when you are finished feeding.
Finding the right crib
When you are choosing a crib for your baby, be sure that slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, or the size of a soda can. If you can fit a soda can through the slats, they’re too wide! Babies can become trapped between slats, or objects in the crib, so keep the crib empty, and place it away from windows or blinds.
Babies are most comfortable dressed like you for sleep, and should not be overdressed or covered with heavy blankets. Swings, car seats and carriers should not be substitutes for your baby’s sleeping area, as they increase the risk of suffocation.
Co-sleeping can result in suffocation. Your baby needs to sleep in his own bed positioned on his back. His bed should be a firm surface free of pillows, toys, or bumper pads. Only a firm mattress pad and fitted sheet are needed. You can swaddle your baby so that his legs can still bend to keep him warm.
By putting your baby to sleep on his back, you dramatically reduce his risk of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies, ages one month to one year. Most of these deaths occur between one and four months. Infant deaths from SIDS have been dramatically reduced (by 50 perent!) since increased public awareness about the importance of placing babies on their backs to sleep.
Smoking increases the risk of SIDS, so talk with your caregiver about quitting smoking during your pregnancy, and don’t allow anyone else to smoke around your baby.
Breastfeeding also helps prevent SIDS, so you are providing your baby even more protection by choosing to breastfeed.
Babies do enjoy tummy time or lying on their side when awake or being held, but always put them to sleep on their backs!