Sleep is your first separation from your baby and can be the cause of great anxiety. This is especially so when you hear stories of cot deaths. Although there is a very low risk of your baby dying in her sleep, making sure your baby sleeps safely is a priority.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) also known as Cot/Crib death can be more likely if your baby sleeps on her tummy or if you co-sleep unsafely. This amongst other advice will ensure you are prepared-ish to prevent cot death:
- Safe covering - Do not use blankets, loose bedding or soft objects in your baby’s crib. Soft materials or objects such as pillows, quilts, comforters, or sheepskins should not be placed under or over your baby whilst sleeping. It is better to use baby sleeping bags, which are designed to keep your baby warm without the possible hazard of smothering.
- Sleep position - Place your baby on her back or side to sleep. If you place your baby on her side, use a wedge to ensure she cannot roll onto her tummy. Sleeping on the tummy is the biggest single factor associated with cot deaths.
- Co-Sleeping - A separate but close sleeping environment is recommended. The risk of SIDS decreases when your baby sleeps in a separate cot/crib, in the same room as you to allow for more convenient breastfeeding and contact. The risk of co-sleeping increases significantly if you co-sleep on a sofa or after drinking alcohol.
- Room temperature - Avoid overheating your baby by keeping the bedroom temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. 21° Celcuis is the perfect temperature for your baby’s room.
- Swaddling and sucking - Swaddle your young baby for sleeps to help her sleep well whilst on her back and let your baby suck a dummy/ pacifier whilst sleeping.
Becoming a parent means that forever you will feel responsible for another human being. But feeling responsible does not mean that you should be overwhelmed with anxiety. Do the best you can by following safe sleep advice and then try to relax and enjoy being a parent.