Guest Blogger: Susan Huebner
When the word gets out about an upcoming birth, expectant parents can plan on solicited or unsolicited advice and sharing about infant sleep. People mean well, they truly do. But all this sharing can be overwhelming to the newbies. And, wondering about keeping baby safe while sleeping adds to the anxiety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has an updated policy statement that discusses safe sleep for infants. New evidence supports skin-to-skin care for newborns, discusses the use of bedside and in-bed sleepers, and adds recommendations on how to create a safe sleep environment. Many of these updated policies are discussed here in this excellent article.
Here are some important things to remember:
- Until their first birthday, babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times—for naps and at night.
- Use a firm sleep surface.
- Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort.
- Bed-sharing is not recommended for any babies.
- Room share—keep baby's sleep area in the same room where you sleep for the first 6 months or, ideally, for the first year.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the baby's sleep area.
- Do not let your child fall asleep on nursing pillows or pillow-like lounging pads.
- Never put your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair.
- It is fine to swaddle your baby.
- Try giving a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
I have been working with families of newborns for over 15 years. I have trained, consulted, soothed, laughed, and cried with parents of babies who will not sleep. Not surprisingly, these babies are also fussy. And parents of infants who will not sleep are also fussy. It’s a rough combo. Having knowledge of how to keep your baby safe while sleeping may provide some peace of mind and a dose of calm.
Susan Huebner is the Program Manager and Lead Home Visitor at Fussy Baby Network Colorado (fussybabynetworkcolorado.org) and the Owner/Operator of Nurturing Newborns, LLC (nurturingnewborns.com)