The Good Grandparent Guide to Safe Newborn Baby Sleep

It’s lovely to be entrusted with the care of our newborn Grandchildren, but it’s also a huge responsibility and only slightly scarier then when we bought home our own children.

Fortunately, there is a lot of advice now about how to keep littlies safe nowadays based on tons of up-to-date scientific research.

It’s probably different from when your own were young, so have a read and reassure both yourself and the kids that the best safe sleep practises for new-borns are being followed!

Co-sleep:  It’s advised that for the first twelve-months (and absolutely the first six months) baby sleeps in the same room as you, including for naps.

This doesn’t mean in bed, but in a cot or crib near to wear you are.

Lie her flat on her back: Babies should always sleep flat on their back to help prevent SIDS. Because most babies can’t fully lift their heads, this ensures their air passages aren’t blocked. Some cribs can tilt now, claiming to help with reflux.  These are not advised by safe sleep associations.

Never sleep on a sofa: It’s lovely to cuddle up and snooze with a snuggly, sleepy baby.  It’s terribly, TERRIBLY dangerous to nap on a soft surface, especially a sofa.  If you feel yourself drifting off, get up and get some air, or water, or help but don’t sleep on sofas with babies.

Use a firm mattress. Babies need a firm mattress. Babies who sleep on soft surfaces are more like to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other sleep-related causes of infant death.

Don’t let baby sleep in car seats: Obviously you can’t stop this on journeys, but naps and longer sleeps should not happen in car seats.  Babies slump when in the wrong angle, which obstructs breathing and can lead to death.

Use only a fitted sheet: Only use fitted sheets in your baby’s cot.  Never put blankets, pillows, toys or crib bumpers in your baby’s sleep space.

Don’t get baby too warm: Babies don’t need hats indoors, or in cars.  They don’t need heavy snowsuits unless it’s snowing. They don’t need quilts and lots of layers.  Most babies need a light vest, sleepsuit and blanket or light sleeping bag.  Keep the heating down.  A cold baby will wake up and tell you.  An overheated baby can fall into a dangerously deep sleep and won’t.

Don’t let them fall asleep feeding: (or fall asleep yourself) This can lead to baby inhaling her make and causing problems breathing.

Don’t smoke or drink around baby:  Even if you smoke outside the molecules will come in on your clothes and it increases the SIDs risk. It’s not worth it.  Don’t. And certainly, don’t ever smoke around baby.

Remember ‘feet to foot’: Position your baby at the end of the cot, with her feet touching it.

Let baby have a dummy: Old fashioned rules tell us sleep pacifiers are bad, but in fact letting baby fall asleep with one reduces the risk of SIDS.

Follow all of these tips for naps and nighttime and you can rest easy and get some sleep yourself—or at least try to!

Graphic created by Baby Centre

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