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Sleep Safety Secrets for Baby

Always keep sleep safety in mind. Do not place anything in the crib or bassinet that may interfere with your baby's breathing; this includes plush toys, pillows, and blankets.  


(ARA) – You adore your new baby. If you’re like millions of sleep-deprived new parents, you love him even more when he’s sound asleep. But even when their little one is in dreamland, there’s no resting easy for vigilant parents – sleep safety needs to be a round-the-clock priority.

Infants spend most of their first months asleep. Statistics show newborns and very young babies are most vulnerable to injury and death when they sleep. Despite a decline in the number of cases over the past 10 years, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is still the leading cause of infant deaths in the country, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics.

“The comforting news for parents is that we now know more than ever before about safer sleeping arrangements for babies,” says Dr. Bill Sears, a pediatric sleep expert. “Parents can give their babies as safe a sleeping environment as possible by following a few simple guidelines.”

* Always put your baby to sleep on her back. The “Back to Sleep Initiative,” which aimed to teach parents that babies were safest sleeping on their backs, is widely credited with reducing SIDS deaths by half over the past 10 years. Yet in 2006, nearly a quarter of all parents still put their babies to sleep on their stomachs or sides, according to a study by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

* Co-sleep safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against bringing your baby into your bed, citing concerns that the baby may smother in soft bedding materials or be rolled on by an adult. In its SIDS prevention guidelines, the AAP advises parents that babies 6 months and younger are safer in a crib or co-sleeping attachment in parents’ rooms than in their own separate room.

Co-sleeping is commonly practiced in eastern cultures and some sleep experts believe it can actually reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related problems. “Co-sleeping infants nurse more often, sleep more lightly and have practice responding to maternal arousals,” says Dr. James J. McKenna of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory.

To co-sleep safely, place your baby in a Co-Sleeper R Bassinet, a small, separate bed with one open side that attaches securely to the side of your bed. Arms Reach ( produces a number of co-sleeping products that give mothers easy access to their babies, while keeping the infant safely in his or her own space, eliminating the risk of an adult rolling over on the baby.

* Don’t add risk to the baby’s bed. That means ensure there are no sharp edges, sheets fit snugly on the mattress and the mattress fits snugly in the bed. Never place anything in the bed with the baby, not even blankets or bumpers. Newborns can suffocate on soft objects if the items fall over or press up against the baby’s face and head. Instead of putting baby down with a blanket, consider a sleep sack – a blanket that the baby wears, which zips up the front and leaves her head and arms free.

* Improve breastfeeding comfort with a Co-Sleeper Bassinet. “Extensive research shows that babies should be breastfed exclusively for approximately the first six months of life, and continue to be breastfed as solids are added to the baby’s diet,” says lactation consultant Chele Marmet, B.S., M.A., director of the Lactation Institute, and a leading pioneer in the field of infant nutrition. “A co-sleeper bassinet contributes to breastfeeding comfort. Co-sleeping helps mom keep to this feeding plan which keeps baby healthy, keeps mommy healthier and reduces the incidence of SIDs."

For breastfeeding information and a list of lactation consultants in your local area, consult the ILCA and La Leche League International.

* Finally, parents should practice their own safe sleeping habits, Dr. Sears says. “Don’t drink, do drugs or use any medications that might hinder your ability to care for your baby.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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