SIDS is, thankfully, pretty rare: There are 7 simple must-dos below , almost all of them related to how and where your baby sleeps, that will help reduce your baby's SIDS risk. What are the safe-sleep rules? And they are particularly important to follow if: Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back Back in the day, mums were told to lie babies down to sleep on their front — as it was thought this might help stop babies choking if they were sick.
But now we know, from substantial worldwide research, that it's much, much safer to put babies down on their back. That's because your baby's SIDS risk rises 6-fold if she's sleeping on her front, rather than her back.
And, for babies who sleep on their back, there has been no rise in choking. So, make sure you place your baby down on her back for every day and nighttime sleep from day 1 unless your doctor explicitly advises otherwise. And keep doing it: If your baby rolls onto her tummy, gently turn her back again.
Keep your baby's bed clear Don't put any soft toys in your baby's cot, crib, Moses basket or baby box. Duvets, quilts, cot bumpers, pillows and other loose, soft or bulky bedding are a no-no, too. It's particularly important to avoid using pillows: If you're worried about your baby getting a 'flat head' from sleeping on her back so much, and are tempted to buy a special pillow, do seek medical advice or talk to a helpline adviser at The Lullaby Trust on first.
To make sure you're arranging your baby's bedding as safely as possible, you can either: Firmly tuck in sheets and blankets — not above shoulder height. And place your baby with his feet at the foot of his bed so he can't wriggle down and get the sheets over his head Is it safe to swaddle my baby? Yes, as long as you use thin materials, do not swaddle too tightly or above the shoulders, and follow all the 7 safe-sleep rules. You could stop swaddling once your baby is able to roll that's roughly about 4 months.
Make sure your baby's bed is firm, flat and has a waterproof cover Whether you're putting your baby down in a Moses basket, cot, crib, baby box or sleep pod — or some combination of any of these throughout the day and night — you should ensure the mattress is firm and flat, and protected by a waterproof cover that will help keep the mattress clean and dry.
The mattress should fit the bed and, be new with each child. The danger with a secondhand mattress is that it can lose its shape and may contain hidden bacteria and dust mites. It will also probably be less comfortable. Yes, twins can co-bed by sharing a cot but not the smaller-sized bed space of a Moses basket, crib or singleton baby box for the first few weeks — as long as you follow all 7 safe-sleep rules.
It's safest to position them at either end of the cot so that each twin can sleep in the 'feet to foot' position, with his or her own bedding properly tucked in. Once one of your twins has learn to roll roughly about 4 months the Lullaby Trust recommends moving your twins to separate beds.
Don't let your baby get too hot Your instincts tell you to wrap your baby up warm but, actually, being too hot can increase the risk of SIDS. This is especially important to remember when it's cold outside.
As well as keeping an eye on the room temperature, you should check your baby to ensure she's not overheating. How many blankets and sheets do I need to keep my baby warm but not too hot? Keep your baby smoke-free This safe-sleeping advice starts in pregnancy — because, say The Lullaby Trust experts, there is a clear link between parents who smoke and SIDS.
They advise that you: Being a smoker greatly increases the chance of SIDS if you bed-share — even if you do not smoke in the bedroom. That's because your baby can slip into the gap between the cushions, or between the cushions and the sofa back, or you may roll or slip down on top of your baby.
If you're sitting with your baby on the sofa and feel tired, put him in his cot, crib, Moses basket or baby box. While room-sharing is a safe-sleep must-do, taking your baby into the same bed as you is not. For more on this, see Can I bedshare with my baby? Is it OK to breastfeed my baby in bed? Other steps that may help your baby sleep safer In addition to the 7 safe sleep rules, above, there are a couple of other measures that can help — if you're able to do them we know not everyone can or will want to.
Breastfeed your baby Numerous studies over the past 50 years have shown a link between breastfeeding and a lower risk of SIDS — even if you only breastfeed for a short time, or end up combining breast and formula-feeding. What's key to remember here, though, is, while breastfeeding can undoubtedly reduce your child's SIDS risk, if you choose to formula-feed for whatever reason but follow all the other 7 safe sleep rules, above, your baby's SIDS risk will still be extremely low.
Give your baby a dummy for sleeping or napping There is some research suggesting that giving your baby a dummy when you put her down to sleep could reduce the risk of SIDS.
If you're breastfeeding, it's generally advised that it's best to wait till your baby's about 4 weeks old by which time breastfeeding is usually well established before introducing the dummy. And it's also recommended that you then stop offering a dummy when your baby's 6 months to 1 year old. It's important to choose a dummy with an orthodontic teat and to only use it for sleeping or napping — to avoid any damage to those baby teeth.
Can I bedshare with my baby?
In , according to the Department of Education, babies lost their lives in cases where 'co-sleeping was a factor'. And we do know, from talking to mums up and down the country , that many people do end up sharing a bed with their baby — either just occasionally or more often.
If you are considering bedsharing, you should know that there are some scenarios when it is particularly risky and should be avoided. You should also take steps to make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or get trapped between the bed or mattress and the wall.
Another option might be to try using high quality co-sleeper or bedside cot.
Work from the forehead to the top of the head, moving in gentle strokes. You have to be careful not to move too soon to put the baby in the crib, or you may find yourself starting over. Fitted sheets that come loose could cover baby's face.
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