Ten Tips For Keeping Your Baby Sleeping Safely
Ensuring your baby is sleeping safely, means the whole family can have peace of mind when little one is sleeping. We spoke to sleep consultant and expert, Jo Tantum, about how to keep your baby safe when they snoozing.
When you become a new parent you worry about anything and everything. And one of the biggest worries is when your little one is sleeping. How many of you have poked or woken your baby to see if they are okay? I'm going to help you to alleviate some of the worries and give you some guidelines on safe sleeping.
Tip 1: Make sure the mattress your baby is sleeping on is breathable and if possible, made from natural materials. Make sure it's not too soft but also not too firm as baby won't settle well. Having a good mattress is an investment, especially in a cot bed as it will be what your baby is sleeping on for a few years. Make sure every baby has a new mattress, or one that isn't damaged and has only been used with a waterproof protector on, as products that have deteriorated over the years are unsafe.
Tip 2: Always put your baby to sleep on their back. This is the safest sleep position for your baby. Since the back to Sleep campaign in the 1990's SIDS has decreased by 80%. If your baby has a medical condition like reflux your paediatrician may tell you to have baby slightly on their left side to help with symptoms, especially very sickly babies. Your baby will start moving onto their side or tummy to sleep around 6-7 months old. This is safe as long as they have strong head control, can lift their head and shoulders off their mattress and can roll over.
Tip 3: When dressing your baby for bed always use natural materials like organic cotton and bamboo as then your baby won't sweat and overheat. It also ensures that they will be more comfortable and their skin won't feel irritated.
Tip 4: Swaddling is an age-old method that helps babies to sleep for longer and feel more settled. It's also a great way to keep babies sleeping on their back through the night. Always use a light, stretchy, breathable material, and ensure the legs and hips aren't wrapped up too tightly. Babies have their startle or 'Moro' reflex until they are around 4 months old. At this age they have a developmental leap and start to be able to control their arms and hands. So once they reach 4 months, you can begin to stop swaddling baby.
Tip 5: A clear cot is a safe cot. Do not use a sleep positioner to hold your baby in one position. No cuddly toys should be in the cot either - they may look cute, but it is not worth the risk. Avoid cot bumpers too, as they can cause danger of entanglement.
Tip 6: If you want to give your baby a comforter, a small muslins square knotted in the middle is a great choice. It's breathable, which means it is much safer than the fleecy type.
Tip 7: Make sure your baby shares your room for up to 6 months old. If you feel you are disturbing each other, which is common once your baby reaches around 4 months old, you can try having some soothing sounds like waves playing all night to prevent this.
Tip 8: After your baby is out of the swaddle, rather than using a blanket, you can use a sleeping bag as they are much safer. By tucking the bottom of the sleeping bag into the bottom of the cot, it can help to prevent wriggly babies from moving around the cot too much.
Tip 9: If you do decide to use a blanket, always make sure it's firmly tucked in and no higher than their chest. Use a natural and breathable material rather than something that is synthetic.
Tip 10: Never put your baby to sleep on a sofa or armchair, and never fall asleep with your baby on your chest whilst on the sofa or chair. Make sure you also don't fall asleep with a quilt or pillow as this can cause suffocation.
For more advice about safe sleeping please go to the charity The Lullaby Trust. You can find more information about Jo Tantum and her services over on her website.
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