Most new parents worry constantly about their baby's safety and well being, especially during the night. But it may help to ease your mind, and help you get more rest, by getting the facts about how to safely put your newborn to sleep.
- Have a safe, designated spot where your baby will sleep. Some people use the crib early on, while others prefer to use a bassinet or playpen with a bassinet attachment.
- If you prefer to take your baby into your bed so you can get rest and still feed on demand, make sure you follow all of the safety precautions. Also consider purchasing a co-sleeping attachment or some kind of "nest" that will help keep them safe in these surroundings.
- Regardless of where they sleep, make sure to remove all pillows, soft blankets and stuffed animals, as well anything else that could cause a suffocation hazard.
- Recognize the signal that he or she is tired. Some suck on their hands, while others rub their eyes or cry. Pretty quickly you will begin to figure out the cues and be able to respond accordingly.
- Establish a bedtime routine as early as you can, such as bathing, reading a book or rocking together. These activities can help lull them into a calm state that will make it easier to go to sleep.
- Change the diaper before bed, and swaddle him or her in a light receiving blanket. Or if you prefer, opt for a sleep sack or sleeper blanket for warmth. But never use a comforter, which could pose a serious hazard.
- Always put them to sleep on his or her back. Make sure all of your family members and any other daycare providers follow the same rule, which is important in reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You may want to purchase a sleep positioner, which helps them stay in this safe position.
- For babies with reflux or who spit up often, put a wedge positioner under the mattress to lift the head up.
- If they seem particularly fussy, try patting the child on the back for a few minutes or singing to help ease him or her into sleep.
- Keep the room darkened at night and quiet. This can help to distinguish between night and day over time.
- Put them to bed at night while still awake. This gives the baby a chance to fall asleep alone without relying on you. This is a very important skill that will stay with them for life.
Getting baby to sleep at night can be tough, but these tips should help.