I remember when I had my first baby I was so anxious to make sure her sleeping environment was comfortable but also safe.
Like most babies, all three of mine spent the majority of their early months sleeping. Although their comfort was always extremely important to me, I was also very focussed on eliminating those factors that are known to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also commonly known as Cot Death.
The great thing was that once I bought a few basic bits of equipment and set them up, that was their sleep environment pretty much sorted. In fact it became very easy and just another routine.
For the first six months of a baby’s life the safest place for them to sleep is ideally in the same room as you, even during the day.
We used a bedside crib as I was recovering from a caesarean section and it made transferring Ellie in and out of her crib much more comfortable.
Now she is six months old we have a cot and she sleeps in her own bedroom.
Feet to foot
The best way to lay a baby down to sleep is with their feet at the foot (bottom) of the bed. This is because if baby is covered with a sheet to keep her warm, it is less likely she will wriggle down underneath it.
Ellie now rolls and twists about freely so will rarely be found in the same spot that I placed her in and that’s fine, but nonetheless (and out of habit!) she still gets put down with her feet to the bottom of the cot.
Sleeping on her back
The safest way to sleep for a baby is on their back. This is known to reduce the risk of Cot Death. Ellie is always placed to sleep on her back and as a newborn she would remain that way.
As they get older and begin to roll you might find that you cannot control the position that they sleep in but nonetheless it is best to always start them off on their backs.
Keeping the room cool
Overheating can increase the risk of Cot Death.
The ideal room temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees celsius and so we have a thermometer in her bedroom incorporated in the baby monitor and will dress her accordingly. Often she wears a vest and a baby grow.
She never wears hats inside the home and certainly never in bed as this would increase the risk of her overheating.
Empty cot with a firm mattress
Despite what many think – babies don’t need to be bundled up in blankets or surrounded by cushions, cuddly toys or cot bumpers in order to be comfortable.
All three of mine slept happily on a flat firm mattress in a well fitting sleeping bag. This can help prevent your baby from wriggling down inside their sleeping bag during the night.
Ellie still sleeps in a sleeping bag! This way I know she won’t tangle herself in blankets or disappear underneath sheets. It also means she won’t kick a sheet off and wake because of it.
Ellie’s cot mobile is still there for now, but it will be removed as soon as she is showing signs of being able to sit herself up as it will no longer be safe once she is able to reach it.
From six months, Ellie liked to use a small muslin as a comforter when she slept. I made sure that it was small and not long enough to wrap around her neck.
Many little ones want to take comforters to bed with them and that is ok, provided that they are over six months old, and that the comforter does not pose a risk of strangulation or suffocation.
For example, cuddly toys should regularly be checked to make sure no eyes/tails etc. are coming off and avoid any comforters with features that could be a choking hazard if they fell off.
By following these steps I’m more confident that Ellie is sleeping safely and soundly. Read this BabyCentre article for more information about SIDS and how to reduce the risks.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Asda