Sleep is very important for the new family and as expected, we miss it in the first weeks after the birth of the baby. However, sleeping conditions for both your newborn baby and the baby growing up carry some serious risks.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of these risks. Although in recent years this phenomenon has diminished, it still occurs. At least 200 infants in Great Britain die from SIDS each year and unfortunately this has a significant correlation with unsafe sleeping conditions.
What are the instructions?
Large organisations such as UNICEF with the Baby Friendly initiative have created the Lullaby Trust that gives instructions for safe sleep and prevention of sudden infant / neonatal death as follows:
- Sleep on the back
- On a clean mattress without duvets, pillows, toys and sheets
- Away from smoke day and night
Practically this means that it is not advisable for babies to sleep on their fronts or their side. They must be in a smoke free environment and they should not have anything in their beds/cots that could inhibit their breathing.
It is also recommended that you do not fall asleep with your baby sleeping on you. This is an easy way for your baby both to fall off you or even potentially to fall in between yourself and a sofa cushion for example, thus obstructing the baby’s breathing.
Although international guidelines discourage co-sleeping it is understood by health professionals that it is something that happens. That’s why the Lullaby Trust suggests some guidelines so you can sleep with your baby safely.
It is worth noting, however, that there is no absolute safety even if all instructions are followed.
Instructions for safe co-sleeping include:
- Make sure there are no extra pillows, toys, sheets, blankets on the bed that could block breathing or lead to suffocation
- Make sure your baby can’t fall out of bed
- If you are using a sleeping bag for your baby, you don’t need any extra sheets
- Make sure that the baby cannot be trapped between the mattress and the wall.
- Never leave your baby unattended on the bed, even newborn babies can move and be put at risk
(Lullaby Trust, Guidance for professionals)
Come to our baby care classes or our specific safe sleeping workshop or follow our online safe sleeping mini course at Hera Family Care so we can go through all things “Safe Sleeping”.