Sleeping Safely with Your New Baby

As Professional doulas, we regularly get questions like:

How should I organize my nursery?”

What should I put on my baby registry?”

What do I REALLY need to buy for my newborn?”

But the most asked question is “How do I put my baby to sleep?”

Sometimes this question is about how to get baby to sleep through the night before clients need to return to work. Sleeping through the night is not always the only thing they are asking about though. Safety is very important to our clients. Bonding is very important to our clients. Healthy, happy babies are important to our clients, and questions often come up about how, when, and where baby should sleep.

At Colorado Mountain Doulas we always use the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) guidelines for safe sleep when advising our clients, but we also know that every baby and every family is unique and will find creative solutions that work for them.

We were very happy to see the newly released Safe Sleep Recommendations from the AAP which have been revised to better acknowledge how sleep deprivation in parents can affect sleep safety and how parents’ instinct to sleep closely to their babies can be reconciled with their desire to follow safety guidelines. Highlights follow:

— Bedside sleepers are recommended. In bed sleepers are not.

— Evidence supports skin-to-skin care for newborns no matter the delivery or feeding method for at least one hour after birth.

— The use of a pacifier at night and during naps has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, even in breastfed infants.

— The use of monitors, positioners and wedges advertised to reduce the risk of SIDS are not recommended.

— Vaccinating is recommended

— Tummy time while the baby is awake and supervised is recommended daily

Specific recommendations for a safe sleep environment, tiredness in caregivers and acknowledgement of the breastfeeding relationship were also mentioned. Watch the full press conference below.

AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

  • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.”………………………..

Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS. After feeding, the AAP encourages parents to move the baby to his or her separate sleeping space, preferably a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom.

“If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” said Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, FAAP, member of the Task Force on SIDS and co-author of the report.

“If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed,” she said.

“There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant’s breathing or cause overheating.”……………………..

If you have questions about any of these recommendations and how they fit into your family philosophy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We understand that your parenting choices are yours to make and we are here to support you in those choices.

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Jenn Leonard
Owner, Educator, Professional Labor & Postpartum Doula at Colorado Mountain Doulas LLC

Educator, Labor, Sibling, Postpartum Doula, Owner

Jenn moved to Colorado as a teen where she met her best friend and future husband in middle school. They lived in the Pacific Northwest for fifteen years, but always considered Colorado home; returning often for vacations, and to get married in the shadow of Pikes Peak. In 2011, they returned to Colorado for good with their three sons.

Jenn, known as the #bohodoula, enjoys homesteading, developing recipes and networking with other entrepreneurs. She is a wanna-be foodie and coffee enthusiast who spends most weekends hiking and camping with her family and two English Mastiffs.

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