Safe Sleep Tips for Infants
Are you worried about not being able to get your new baby to sleep? Are you struggling in setting up a sleep routine for your little one?
There are various reasons as to why a baby may have disrupted sleep at night. Some reasons include medical issues such as acid reflux or ear infections, over stimulation in the environment and putting your baby down at the wrong time. See this list for more possible causes of poor sleep.
Managing sleep often requires parents making decisions about strategies that work best for their baby. Here are some ideas that may help:
- Start a routine early. Go through a similiar process before each sleep time. Remember, this is a routine, not a schedule. A young baby may have his days and nights confused at first, as he might sleep up to 16 hours a day. This may take a him a few weeks to figure out. Be patient and responsive to his needs and before long he will establish a schedule that works with the routine you set.
- Establish a wind down time. This time can consist of feeding (It is safest to feed your baby holding her in your arms and before laying her down to sleep, which will prevent tooth decay from the milk staying in her mouth while she sleeps, also known as bottle mouth), bath time, changing into pajamas and either reading a story or singing a lullaby. This should be a quiet, relaxing time for you and your baby!
- Safe Sleep Practice. The back sleep position is the safest and reduces the risk of infant death. This is important for every sleep time—naps and overnight. Never place your baby to sleep on a sofa, pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces. Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding (bumper pads or quilts) out of your baby's sleep area. A safe alternative to a crib blanket can be using a sleep sack to swaddle the baby. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with sleeping adults.
- Use a crib that is approved by Consumer Product Safety Commission Guidelines. Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Never place a crib near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords. For more information go here.
- Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you sleep. Your baby can sleep in the same room with you or in another room close to where you sleep. It is recommended if you bring her into bed with you for feeding, put her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet or a bedside infant bed that attaches to an adult bed. There is new research on co-sleeping with your baby. Should you decide to consider this strategy, take time to review the research and determine the pros and cons for your family that result from your baby sharing a bedroom with you.
- Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on the back of your baby's head. Give your baby "Tummy Time" when he is awake and someone is watching. This strengthens his head, neck and shoulder muscles. Avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.