How should baby sleep?

On their back, in a crib, in their parent’s room. This will help prevent Sudden Infant Death. 

It is very important to always put baby to sleep on her back. This greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The peak age of SIDS is between 2-4 months. Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep, and one of the largest risk factors is stomach sleeping. Since babies have been put to sleep on their back in the U.S., deaths from SIDS has fallen by over 50%. Once babies can roll over and back on their own, at around 4-7 months, it is OK to let them sleep on their stomach if they roll onto it after you put them to sleep on their back. Other ways to reduce SIDS includes:

  • Put baby to sleep in a crib or bassinet in your room. This also makes breastfeeding much easier during the night. While baby will likely wake more frequently to feed, studies have shown that mothers get at least as much sleep as when babies sleep in their own room. Plus babies who share a room with their parents sleep for a longer total time than solitary sleepers.
  • Ensure baby’s crib/bassinet has a firm flat surface and has no blankets, pillows, toys, stuffed animals or bumper pads. There should be no more than 6cm between slats of crib, and no more than one adult finger between mattress and slats.
  • Don’t overheat baby. Baby should be dressed in pajamas, wrapped in a swaddle or in a sleep sack (wearable blanket). Keep room temperature between 16-20C.
  • Breastfeed if possible as this has been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • If you don’t breastfeed baby to sleep, try putting baby to sleep using a pacifier during the first year of life.
  • Ensure baby is fully immunized and has regular check-ups as this will lower the SIDS risk by 50%.
  • Keep baby away from smoking as exposure to secondhand smoke doubles a baby's risk of SIDS. Also, don’t smoke while pregnant as this triples the SIDS risk.

If you plan on having baby sleep in your bed, it is very important to follow these guidelines to keep baby safe and prevent suffocation. About half of all SIDS deaths happen when a baby shares a bed, sofa or sofa chair with another person.

  • Don’t let anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs sleep in the bed.
  • Don’t let anyone who smokes sleep in the bed, even if they don’t smoke in bed.
  • Don’t let anyone who is too sick or tired to be awakened easily sleep in the bed.
  • Don’t let other children sleep next to the baby in the bed.
  • Put baby to sleep only on a flat and firm mattress. Do not let baby sleep (with or without you) on a waterbed, an egg-crate mattress, a couch, an armchair, or any other surface that's not firm and could interfere with your baby's breathing.
  • Do not leave baby to sleep alone in an adult bed.
  • Ensure sheets are firmly tucked in, don’t use heavy duvets/blankets and keep pillows away from baby’s face.
  • Don’t swaddle baby, instead use a sleep sack and/or footed pajamas. To avoid overheating, dress baby more lightly than you would if he were sleeping alone.
  • Ideally, place your mattress on the floor so if baby rolls off he won’t fall far. If not then place bed against a wall, but check daily to make sure there are no gaps that your baby could slip into and fill any gaps with tightly rolled towels. Don't use a headboard or footboard with slats more than 6cm apart or cutouts as these can entrap a baby's head. Position the bed away from room features that might be a hazard for a baby, such as cords for window blinds, lamps, etc.
Category: Baby & Mother

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