No matter how you try and pull yourself together, there will always be a few tell-tale signs that you’re the parent of a newborn. You’re probably wearing a baseball cap because you haven’t had time to wash your hair. Cute clothes? You’re probably wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt since everything else is in the laundry. And of course, there’s the unmistakable dazed, sleep-deprived expression.
Let’s face it – sleep becomes a luxurious indulgence when you have a newborn. Sure, trying to nap when your baby naps is one of the best ideas, but that’s usually the time when laundry needs to be done or dinner needs to be made. One of the first questions everyone asks is “Is she sleeping through the night?” The answer is almost certainly no because – and here it is – babies aren’t supposed to be sleeping through the night yet. Most babies won’t begin sleeping through the night until 4 – 6 months of age.
While it’s completely understandable that you’re willing to try anything to get your baby to sleep, it’s important to be sure that you are placing your baby in a safe sleep environment. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics by following their updated safe sleep guidelines you can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) by 50%.
What Parents Need to Know About Safe Sleep:
Room Share But Don’t Bed Share – For the first 6 months to one year keep your baby in the same room as you. Place your baby’s crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed. Not only does this make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby but will dramatically decrease the risk of SIDS.
When you have your baby in bed with you to nurse or feed it’s easy to doze off. Be sure make sure there are no pillows, sheets, blankets, or any other items that could cover your baby’s face, head, and neck, or overheat your baby. As soon as you wake up, be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed. Bed sharing is especially dangerous if:
- Your baby is younger than 4 months old.
- Your baby was born prematurely or with low birth weight.
- You or any other person in the bed is a smoker (even if you do not smoke in bed).
- You have taken any medicines or drugs that might make it harder for you to wake up.
- You drank any alcohol.
- The surface is soft, such as a waterbed, old mattress, sofa, couch, or armchair.
- There is soft bedding like pillows or blankets on the bed.
Use a Firm Sleep Surface and Remove ALL Items from the Sleep Space. You should only use a bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) along with a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet designed for that particular product. A firm surface is a hard surface; it should not indent when the baby is lying on it.
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. These include pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, blankets, toys, bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides. Use a wearable blanket to keep your baby warm but you should only have one layer on her.
Additionally, wedges, positioners, special mattresses and specialized sleep surfaces have not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, according to the AAP.
When you’re exhausted and trying to get some sleep, you’re probably willing to do anything to soothe your baby, but plan ahead and have your safe sleep area set up and it will make it easier. For more information about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and SUID, visit CJ First Candle.