It’s no secret, babies need to sleep A LOT. However, it is rare that a baby’s sleep schedule will match up with their parents which can cause a parent to do just about anything to get their baby to sleep. We’ve all seen or heard stories of the lengths parents will go, such as driving around the block or trying out various sound machines to put their baby to sleep. We’ve all known babies who would only sleep in their car seat or when being held. When it comes to infant sleep, no matter how desperate parents get, it’s important to remember a few safety concepts to ensure your baby is sleeping safe and sound.
Planning Before Baby
Once you find out you’re expecting, it’s easy to go overboard and purchase many nursery items you think you might need. However, despite what is intuitive, having blankets and soft pillows or stuffed animals in a baby’s crib is actually very dangerous. Let your friends and family know that when it comes to gifts, you would rather not have any bedding that includes bumper pads or big puffy blankets. This article from the CDC discusses the ABCs of safe sleep for infants, on their (A)lone, on their (B)ack, and in a (C)rib https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/safesleep/index.html. Following these simple guidelines can help decrease your baby’s risk of sleep-related infant death as well as SIDS.
Bed Sharing, Room Sharing, and Sleeping on the Couch
At CSP, we recognize that there are many options to consider when it comes to where your new baby will sleep. While some parents may feel like it is important to maintain their own space by having their baby in a separate room or nursery, other parents may want to keep their baby alongside their bed in a bedside bassinet. Regardless of what you choose, you should weigh the pros and cons of each before your baby arrives, and perhaps reassess once your baby is born to decide what you are most comfortable with. In this article from The Atlantic, the author presents recent research in sleep-related infant death and discusses the risks of sleeping with your infant on a couch or chair. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/10/new-sids- prevention-recommendations/505289/
Parent Sleep Deprivation
While most research around sleep and newborns is on the infant, we know that when it comes to sleep deprivation, new parents are the ones who experience a less than ideal sleep schedule. While most people will casually say “just sleep when the baby sleeps”, we know that is often easier said than done. In this article from Today’s Parent, the author shares tricks and tips on how to get some extra rest when you have a newborn at home. For example, even if the mother is breastfeeding, see if the partner parent will take the middle of the night feeding shift by having the mother pump before bed. Deciding this before bedtime can help the mother get a few extra hours and may give a bonding opportunity for the other parent. For more tips, check out this article: https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/how-to-survive-new-parent-sleep-deprivation/