New parents would do almost anything to keep their baby safe. While experts don’t know the exact cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), some steps can decrease babies’ risks, according to Melissa Woodbury, nursing professional development educator with Mission Hospital. Woodbury advises taking these steps for your baby’s safe sleep:
1 – Create a safe sleep environment.
Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress, in a safety-approved crib covered by a fitted sheet. Avoid soft bedding like bumper pads, soft toys, blankets or pillows. Dress your baby in sleep clothing such as a one piece sleeper or wearable blanket (also known as a sleep sack). Do not use loose blankets. Since second-hand smoke increases babies’ risks of SIDS, create a smoke-free home to round out the safe sleep space.
2 – Room share; do not bed share.
Place your baby’s crib next to your bed. Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair alone, with you or with anyone else. Pillows, blankets or rolling over can put your baby at risk for harm.
3 – Back to sleep!
Whether nap time or night time, place baby on her back for sleep. This is the safest position.
4 – Breastfeed your baby.
Breastfeeding has health benefits for moms and babies. Babies who are breastfed or only fed breast milk are at a lower risk for SIDS than babies who are never fed breast milk. Benefits increase the longer babies receive breast milk.
5 – Teach your care team.
Pass on safe sleep tips to anyone who will be caring for your baby such as grandparents, sitters, family and friends.
Signs Your Baby is Ready for the Crib
- Age – Most babies are ready to move between 3 to 6 months.
- Weight – Check bassinette manufacturer’s weight limits to find when a move is recommended.
- Length – If baby looks cramped, it may be time to move to a crib.
- Rolling Over – Most bassinettes are not stable enough for babies who roll or sit up.
Melissa Woodbury, MSN, RNC-MNN, CMSRN, is a nursing professional development educator with Mission Hospital.