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Safe Sleep for Babies Under 12 Months: A Sleep Consultant's Guide

safe sleep: A Sleep Consultant's Guide

As a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and a mom, I understand the importance of a good night's sleep for infants and their overall well-being. Ensuring that parents and caregivers have a clear understanding of sleep safety for babies under 12 months is crucial to create a safe sleeping environment. In this blog, we will explore essential guidelines and best practices to promote healthy sleep and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

One can simplify safe sleep to the ABC's:

Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib, but here are more details:

Back to Sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing infants on their backs to sleep for every sleep period, including naps and nighttime sleep. This sleep position has been associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. Always lay the baby down on a firm, flat surface, such as a crib or bassinet, to maintain a clear airway.

Use a Firm Sleep Surface

Ensure that your baby's sleep surface is firm and free from soft bedding, pillows, comforters, or stuffed animals. This means: no blankets, no bumpers, no pillows, no stuffed animals and no lovies. A fitted crib sheet should be the only thing covering the mattress to prevent suffocation hazards.

Room-Sharing, Not Bed-Sharing

While room-sharing is recommended in the early months, bed-sharing is highly discouraged due to an increased risk of accidental suffocation or entrapment. Keep your baby's sleep space separate from the adult bed to reduce potential hazards.

Optimal Sleep Temperature

Maintain a comfortable room temperature between 68°F to 72°F (20°C to 22°C) to prevent overheating or chilling. Dress your baby in light, breathable sleepwear appropriate for the room temperature.

Avoid Overheating

Resist the urge to overdress your baby. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS. Here is a guide on how you may want to dress your baby for sleep, based off of the temperature in the house:

how to dress a baby and toddler for sleep

No Smoking or Secondhand Smoke

Exposure to smoke, whether through direct smoking or secondhand smoke, is linked to an increased risk of SIDS. Always keep the baby's environment smoke-free.

Breastfeeding and Pacifier Use

Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. Encourage breastfeeding whenever possible. Additionally, consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime, in the early months, but don't force the baby to use it if they resist.

The pacifier can become a sleep crutch, so when you are ready to work with your child on sleep, this would be a good opportunity to consider getting rid of the paci.

Regular Checkups

Ensure that your baby receives regular checkups as recommended by your pediatrician. regular check-ups for infants are a crucial part of maintaining their health, ensuring proper growth and development, and providing parents with the information and support they need to give their baby the best possible start in life.

Tummy Time

While back sleeping is essential for sleep safety, providing supervised tummy time during awake periods supports healthy development and prevents flat spots on the baby's head. Tummy time also allows your baby to gain the strength to be able to roll from belly to back. This is an important skill to learn!

Safe Swaddling Practices

If you choose to swaddle your baby, ensure it is done correctly to prevent overheating or loose blankets around the baby's face. Once the baby shows signs of rolling, stop swaddling to avoid potential risks.

It is vital to provide a safe sleeping environment for babies of any age, but especially those under 12 months of age. By following these sleep safety guidelines, along with those of the AAP, you can help reduce the risk of SIDS and create a conducive environment for your baby's healthy sleep. Remember, promoting safe sleep practices contributes to a well-rested and happy baby, providing a strong foundation for their growth and development.

Wishing you rest,

Jennie Clarke Certified Child Sleep Consultant

Jennie Clarke

Certified Child Sleep Consultant

Smart Night Sleep

**Based in Orlando, Florida but works with families worldwide.

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