When most of us were babies, the accepted wisdom was to put babies to sleep on their stomach. But in 1994, the American Association of Pediatrics launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign, urging all parents to ensure that their baby slept on their back, not their tummy. This campaign and awareness lowered the rates of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by over 50%. Lesson learned: back is best.
Don’t let baby get too hot. Keep their room at a comfortable temperature. Don’t overdress the baby- they are usually comfortable in whatever you are wearing plus one layer. For example- a footed pajama and a swaddle is perfect in a room with a temperature of about 20 degrees.
NO SMOKING around the baby, and never in the baby’s room. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to insist that no one smokes in your home.
Make sure that the only thing in your baby's crib or sleep space is a tight, fitted sheet. Crib bumpers are no longer recommended. Ensure that there are no stray toys or blankets in the crib. Babies should be swaddled or in a sleep bag, and never covered with a blanket.
SWADDLES: Almost every mom swears by swaddling. Swaddling keeps your baby snug and tight, repressing their startle reflex and therefore allowing them to sleep better.
SLEEP BAGS: Once you’ve graduated from swaddles (or in case you decide not to swaddle) set a sleep routine for your baby that includes dressing them in a sleep sack. Never place your baby to sleep with a blanket- it is a suffocation risk and highly discouraged by pediatricians and the American Association of Pediatrics. A sleep sack acts as a blanket, but without the risk of baby getting tangled.
LOVEY: Another essential part of baby’s sleep routine! Start by finding the perfect lovely. Then you start sleeping with it, wearing it in your clothes, and making sure that it smells like you. Once baby is 4 months old, start putting them to sleep with the lovey. They will start to build an attachment to the toy, and it will help them gently self soothe.
WHITE NOISE: The perfect way to lull baby to sleep- a white noise machine. In the womb, babies are constantly surrounded by noises. White noise machines replicate those sounds, giving babies a sense of familiarity and security, and helping them drift off to a blissful slumber.
SLEEP SPACE: Cribs are sometimes too large and don’t provide a sense of snugness for baby. Make sure that your baby has a safe, established place to sleep. Don't let baby play or feed in this space: baby should associate this space with sleep, and sleep only. After a few weeks, baby should automatically start getting sleepy once they are in their sleep space. We recommend a crib or bassinet for at least the first six months. Bonus tip- keep the bassinet in your room or try a co-sleeper to safely sleep next to your baby without any risk.