Bringing your newborn home is a milestone you’ve waited 9 months for. You’ve nurtured them and kept them safe as they grew and developed. It is so incredibly exciting to finally have your baby cradled in your arms, but it can also be quite a scary time for some parents.
Babies spend the majority of their newborn lives sleeping and this can cause anxiety for some parents because of the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) but there are steps we can take to create a safer sleep environment that will reduce this risk.
The Lullaby Trust is a fantastic resource of guidance on safe sleep. They have a wealth of information and knowledge based on the latest research.
Where should my baby sleep?
The guidance is for your baby to share a room with you until they’re 6 months old. This could be done in a cot if you have the space available or a Moses basket if you’re limited for space.
Remember, your baby will take naps during the day too. These could be taken in a Moses basket which can be moved around the house to wherever you are, or continued in your bedroom and you could use that time to have a nap yourself or relax in the room with them.
Parenting can be exhausting, it’s important that you give yourself enough time to rest and recover too.
What position should my baby sleep in?
Babies should be placed to sleep on their back with their feet at the bottom of the cot (called the top to toe position). This is to limit the risk of your baby wriggling down the cot.
If you’re using a blanket, this should be tucked under the baby’s arms and tucked down the sides of the cot. This reduces the chances of your baby getting caught in the blanket if they wriggle.
What is a safe temperature for my baby to sleep in?
The room should be kept at an appropriate temperature to avoid your baby from overheating. The ideal temperature is 16-20 degrees Celsius. The right temperature is important for babies to fall asleep as they can’t regulate their temperature yet so they need parental help to stay comfortable.
You can purchase room thermometers to monitor the temperature but lots of baby monitors have a built-in thermometer.
Dress your baby for sleep in clothing and bedding which is appropriate for the time of year and temperature. Sleeping bags come in a variety of togs in the UK to accommodate the varying temperatures throughout the year.
If it’s particularly hot, it’s okay for babies to sleep in just a vest or nappy.
I have another article with more detail regarding managing heat at night.
Here are a few further precautions you can take to keep your baby safe whilst sleeping:
- Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.
- Never sleep on the sofa or in an armchair with your baby.
- Avoid pillows and duvets until your baby is at least 12 months.
- Keep your baby’s hands free and do not cover their head or face
For more help on creating a safe sleep environment for your little one please get in touch.