Safe sleeping from birth
With World Sleep Day coming up in March, it is a great time to touch on the very important subject of safe sleeping.
Whether you are expecting, or have recently given birth to your baby, it is essential to refresh on the important points of safe sleeping set by Red Nose Australia to help you reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined by Red Nose Australia as the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under the age of 1 year that occurs during sleep and remains unexplained after a thorough investigation. The chance of SIDs occurring is rare, and implementing safe sleeping strategies will reduce your baby’s risk.
As recommended by Red Nose Australia, there are 6 main safe sleeping practices to follow when you put your baby down for sleep during the day and night.
1. Putting your baby to sleep on their back at the bottom of their cot is the first recommendation to reduce the risk of SIDS. Placing your baby to sleep on their back helps keep their airways clear, reducing the risk of choking and suffocation.
2. Keep your baby’s head and face uncovered at all times to reduce the risk of suffocation and overheating. Your baby regulates their temperature more efficiently when their head is uncovered, meaning no hats, beanies or headbands on when sleeping.
3. Having a smoke-free environment. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of SIDS for your baby, so don’t let anyone smoke around your baby.
4. Have your baby’s crib in your room for at least the first 6-12 months after birth
5. Breastfeed your baby if possible. Research shows breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby.
6. Ensure bub is in a safe sleeping environment at all times. A safe sleeping environment includes: a safe cot that meets Australian standards and has breathable sides to provide adequate ventilation; a safe mattress that is firm, flat and the right size for the cot; safe bedding that is firmly tucked into the mattress and not any higher than bubs chest (with their feet touching the bottom of the cot); and a sleeping bag (if you choose to use one) or swaddle relevant to environmental temperature to prevent overheating. An important point to remember is, when your baby is sleeping, remove all toys and pillows from their cot, as well as any mobiles or items hanging above their sleeping space.
You may have heard of the term co-sleeping or bed-sharing. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot or bassinet as discussed above, although parents may choose to sleep with bub in the same bed. If you are going to co-sleep, it is crucial to do so as safely as possible to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. Safe co-sleeping involves moving all bedding and pillows away from your baby, avoiding swaddles, tying up your hair and removing any jewellery, moving your bed away from the wall, having your mattress on the floor,and placing your baby down for sleep between you and the side of the bed.
When you are not in the room with your baby when they are sleeping, it can be useful to invest in a reliable baby monitor, like the CuboAi Smart Baby Monitor, to help you keep an eye on them. Baby monitors are not a medical device and cannot be used to reduce the risk of SIDs, however, they can do wonders for your peace of mind when your baby is in a different room.
Some of CuboAi’s brilliant features that aid in peace of mind:
– Accurate humidity and temperature gauge – this is important to know how to dress your baby overnight or for their naps and choose a sleeping bag with an ideal TOG rating.
– True cry detection that distinguishes your baby’s cries from other noise.
– Super easy to take on-the-go. If you are travelling – simply connect to WiFi
– Connects to any smartphone or device. Unlike traditional monitors, you do not need to be within a certain range to check on your baby (perfect if a parent is at work but wants to check in to see their baby).
– Alerts parents when baby coughs or rolls over.
– Each morning, the app shows you nighttime analytics which is great to see how bub slept during the night.
Tips for helping your newborn fall asleep:
- Create an environment similar to the womb: warm, dark, and loud (you can use white noise to mimic the sound)
- Swaddling or wrapping them snugly can be comforting
- Give your baby a warm bath or massage and a feed before bed
- Maintain a calm environment; try using white noise and blackout blinds
- Follow a similar bedtime routine every night to create healthy sleep habits
- Try cuddling and rocking to lull your newborn to sleep
- Prepare your baby for bed when you recognise tired signs
- If bub is unsettled and you cannot settle them in their cot, try a baby carrier. These can be a lifesaver, especially during those first 6 months
Summary for safe sleeping:
– Snugly swaddle the baby until they start showing signs of rolling. Once they can roll over on their own, ensure their arms remain out of the swaddle or sleeping bag
– No loose blankets in the cot
– Sleep with your baby in the same room, but not in the same bed for at least the first 6 months after birth
– It is not safe to let babies sleep in anything other than their cot or bassinet (eg. bean bags or nests)
– Keep your baby’s cot free of items such as toys or pillows. Bare is best!
– Prevent smoking around your baby and keep the nursery room a non-smoking environment
– Twins should sleep in separate cots
– If you want to co-sleep with your baby, please read Red Nose Australia’s guide to safer co-sleeping. It is crucial that co-sleeping is done as safely as possible to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. We hope you have found this article informative and helpful. Please note this article does not substitute for medical advice.
This article is written by midwife Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub.