Safe Sleeping for Your Newborn

Written by Cathy Hale on March 27th, 2017

There's something wonderfully mesmerizing about watching your sweet little angel sleep. I remember gazing at my babies while they were sleeping - wondering if they were dreaming or what they were possibly dreaming about since their whole world was totally new and undiscovered. I remember studying their perfect features and wondering, "How did I get so lucky?"

On the flip side, I checked on my sleeping baby constantly when we first brought him home from the hospital. Motherhood was a brand new adventure and a very quiet sleeping baby made me anxious. I quickly realized I wasn't alone when I shared my story with my mom friends. We all had "safety first" hardwired into our mommy brains.

We laughed about the irony of life with a newborn because we all spent so much time and effort soothing our babies to sleep and when they'd finally go to sleep, we were still stressed out. We were tiptoe experts who could turn doorknobs - even the squeaky ones - without making a sound.

Back to Sleep

While it may feel unnatural to place your newborn on her back in her crib or bassinet, it's the safest position for her. You may worry if she spits up, that putting her on her back could make her choke, but that's not the case. Babies, even newborns, have a reflex so they either swallow their fluid or spit it up.

To make sure your baby is in a safe environment, follow the guidelines from the Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC]:

• To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in a baby's sleep environment.

• Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.

• Proper assembly of your crib is critical. Follow the instructions provided, and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.

• Do not use cribs older than 10 years, or that are broken or modified. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.

• Never place a crib near a window with cords from blinds, curtains or baby monitors; babies can strangle on cords.

Curious Pets

Since lots of young families also have furry babies, it's best to keep your pets out of your baby's nursery. While some dogs like to snuggle, cats are curious creatures who will find that a baby crib is their new favorite place to snooze. I had two cats when I was pregnant and as soon as we assembled the crib, it was their new cozy spot. A friend of mine told me to put aluminum wrap across the mattress to deter the cat. By the time my son was born, the cats were no longer interested in the crib.

What surprised you about life with a newborn? Let us know in the comments section of Facebook!