Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sleeping Safely

I talk a lot about how I LOVE sleeping with my baby!  I very often hear people talk about how unsafe it is, or how they are afraid they are going to roll over on the baby.

Here is a list of things to do to SAFELY sleep with your baby!

Notice this list is mostly about preventing suffocation risks.  Not SIDS!  They are often confused but are in fact two completely seperate things.  

  • Don't swaddle the baby!  This prevents the baby from being able to use their hands defensively if needed!
  • Breastfeed!  Mothers that formula feed do not have the same sleep awareness nor sleep cycle regulation with their baby as breastfeeding mothers do.  Also, formula fed babies don't wake up as easily to stimulation if something is wrong. 
  • Skip the pacifier.  They were invented as a replacement for nursing.  The baby arousing often to nurse is a GOOD thing and is a natural prevention from sleeping too deeply, which is associated with SIDS.
  • Don't sleep in the same bed with someone that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol whether street or prescription if it can impair alertness.
  • Don't sleep with anyone who smokes, whether they smoke in bed or not.  Second and even third hand smoke is still toxic.
  • Don't sleep with anyone who is too exhausted or sick to arouse to normal consciousness quickly.
  • Don't sleep with your baby on a soft, saggy mattress, waterbed, couch, recliner or armchair.
  • Don't use heavy blankets that could suffocate the baby.  Light layers are fine.  
  • Make sure that the blankets aren't covering the baby's head when you cover yourself up.  
  • Don't use pillows for the baby.  Nestled into your arm is a perfect spot for your baby!
  • Make sure sheets are snug fitting and not loose causing an entanglement issue.
  • Keep pets and older children off the bed or away from the baby by having them sleep on the other side of you or another adult.
  • Make sure there are no spaces or gaps between the mattress and frame or the bed and wall to prevent entrapment.
  • Don't leave your baby alone.
  • Don't overdress the baby.  Only dress them as warm as you yourself would need to be dressed.
Sleeping with your baby has many benefits!  Research has proven that being close to mom can help prevent baby sleep apnea, regulate body temperature, and that baby's sleep better with less crying and stress.  The "cuddle curl" actually acts as a protection to the baby as you curl your body around them.  

SIDS is more common in babies who sleep alone and without waking during the night.  Even Dr. Richard Ferber has altered his position on "crying it out" at night in light of new research that suggests so.  Encouraging your baby to sleep for long stretches at night is also a risk to your milk supply.  Co-sleeping is a wonderful way for everyone in the family to get that much needed sleep.  Just do it safely!

Patience and I sleeping soundly in the "cuddle curl" position.

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