Parents of newborns are often nervous about every aspect of baby care. The hours for sleep are particularly important to the whole family. The parents need to relax and recover from the stress of pregnancy and childbirth, and the little one will use the time for growth and development.
Following are a few tips which will make those precious hours of sleep an almost worry-free period for Mom and Dad.
1. Be sure baby’s crib meets current safety standards. Check the manufacturer’s web page to ensure that the model you are using has not been recalled for safety reasons.
The mattress should be firm and fit snugly against the sides and ends of the crib leaving no gaps. The surface should have no rips or tears.
Remove the bumper pad, pillow, quilt, and stuffed toys from the crib. Use a fitted bottom sheet and be sure it is tucked snugly under all sides of the mattress. It is vital that the baby’s head and breathing passages remain free of obstructions.
Never place the baby on a pillow, soft mattress, water bed or sofa to sleep.
2. Dress the baby in a sleeper or loose-fitting sleeping bag rather than covering him with a blanket. Do not let him get too warm. Keep the room at a setting that is comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult.
3. Always place the baby on his back to sleep. Tummy sleeping is dangerous because he might move his face into a position where his breathing passages would be blocked, and the result could be tragic. Side sleeping makes it possible for the baby to accidentally roll onto his stomach and suffocate.
4. The crib should be in smoke-free room, and out of the way or direct draughts from open windows. For the first few months it is advisable to have the crib in the mother’s room near her bed.
5. SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is the leading cause of death in babies under twelve months old. Infants should never sleep in the same bed as an adult or older child who might unintentionally roll on them during the night.
Even more alarming, research shows that the risk of SIDS is higher if the person sharing a bed with an infant is a smoker, very tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
6. Insist that everyone who cares for your baby, babysitters, grandparents, and others, know and follow the sleep rules that you have established.
Parents’ guidelines for ensuring the safest possible sleep practices for their newborn are few, simple but very important. Once everyone gets into the routine, these safety rules will become habits, and everyone will benefit from more secure and relaxed hours of beneficial rest.
In summation, the safest way for a newborn to sleep is always on his back, on a firm mattress, in an approved crib which contains no other items, and is situated near his parents’ bed.
A Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep
Accessed March 4, 2011
Web site: http://www.healthychildcare.org/pdf/SIDSparentsafesleep.pdf