Sleeping On The Couch With A Newborn In Your Arms Is Really Dangerous
We get it, falling asleep on the sofa with an infant curled up on your chest is one of the best feelings in the world. Many an exhausted new mom has nodded off for a bit while her sleeping baby is sprawled across her lap or nestled up all warm and cozy on a breastfeeding pillow. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics , this kind of co-sleepingon a couch or armchairis a serious newborn sleep mistake. Its way more dangerous than co-sleeping in a bed, due to the risk of dropping or smothering the baby. If youre going to nap or sleep with your infant, opt for bed-sharing. And if youre going to co-sleep or bed-share, watch this video to make sure youre doing it safely.
Is It Safer To Swaddle My Baby For Sleep
Many parents are told to swaddle their newborns for sleeping. Although swaddling is safer than using a blanket , if a baby is swaddled at an older age than what is recommended, there is still a danger the swaddled baby will roll onto their stomach and be trapped face-down. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies always sleep face-up. Swaddling can also lead to overheating if it is combined with dressing the baby in several layers.
If you do choose to swaddle your baby, always place them on their back and leave room in the swaddle for their hips and knees to move. You should stop swaddling your baby before they start trying to roll over, which happens around the 3-month mark at the earliest.
Will A Sleep Positioner Help Keep My Baby On Their Back To Sleep And Therefore Lower The Risk Of Sids
There is no need to use any type of equipment or rolled up blankets to keep your baby in one position unless you have been advised by a health professional for a specific medical condition.
It is much safer for your baby to be in their cot with just the sheets or blankets, and no extras which could be pulled over their face or cause an accident. As babies grow stronger they learn to move and roll and this is fine. For more information, please read our clear cot advice.
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Settling A Baby Aged 6 To 12 Months
As with younger babies, it helps to talk quietly and cuddle your baby to help keep them calm.
Try the ‘hands-on settling technique’ and, as your baby calms or falls asleep, move away from the cot or leave the room. If your baby starts to become distressed, return and continue to comfort your baby using patting and calming sounds before moving away or leaving the room again. Some babies may need you to stay in the room until they are asleep.
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
Check out the Tresillian website for more tips on how you can help your baby learn to settle and fall asleep at different ages.
What Are The Sleep States Of A Newborn
Babies, like adults, have various stages and depths of sleep. Depending on the stage, the baby may actively move or lie very still. Infant sleep patterns begin forming during the last months of pregnancy?active sleep first, then quiet sleep by about the eighth month. There are two types of sleep:
REM . This is a light sleep when dreams occur and the eyes move rapidly back and forth. Although babies spend about 16 hours each day sleeping, about half of this is in REM sleep. Older children and adults sleep fewer hours and spend much less time in REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep. Non-REM has 4 stages:
Stage 1: drowsiness, eyes droop, may open and close, dozing
Stage 2: light sleep, the baby moves and may startle or jump with sounds
Stage 3: deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
Stage 4: very deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
A baby enters stage 1 at the beginning of the sleep cycle, then moves into stage 2, then 3, then 4, then back to 3, then 2, then to REM. These cycles may occur several times during sleep. Babies may awaken as they pass from deep sleep to light sleep and may have difficulty going back to sleep in the first few months.
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Do Babies Need To Sleep Every 2 Hours
At this age, most babies sleep for 12-15 hours every 24 hours. Babies might start moving towards a pattern of 2-3 daytime sleeps of up to two hours each. And night-time sleeps get longer at this age. For example, some babies might be having long sleeps of six hours at night by the time theyre six months old.
At Night: Newborn Sleep And Waking
In the first few months, newborns usually wake several times a night for feeds.
Between one and three months, your baby might start waking less often and have a longer period of sleep at night.
By the time your baby is around three months old, they might regularly be having a longer sleep at night for example, around 4-5 hours. But you can expect that your baby will still wake at least once each night.
If your baby is premature or low birth weight, your paediatrician or child and family health nurse might recommend that you let your baby sleep for only a certain amount of time at night before you wake them for a feed.
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What To Do If A Newborn Is Sleeping Too Much
Usually, a newborn who appears to be sleeping too much is just sleeping on an irregular schedule.
Nevertheless, health issues such as respiratory infections that are minor annoyances in older babies can be much more dangerous in newborns. So, anyone who is concerned about a babys sleeping schedule should consult a pediatrician.
Some strategies to try before calling the doctor include:
- feeding the baby every time they show hunger cues
- offering the baby the breast, the chest, or a bottle every 12 hours to ensure adequate food intake
- making sure that the baby is not too cold or too hot
- keeping a log of the babys sleep schedule for 12 days
Q Is A Reclining Sleeper Ever Safe To Use
A. Any of the products like the Rock n Play Sleeper are safe to hold a baby under the observation of a parent or caregiver who can respond to their needs. They are not designed for safe infant sleep when no one is watching them.
Its all right to use these kind of products to soothe your baby and help her to fall asleep, but only if a caregiver is watching and only if the child is then moved to a crib or other safe sleep space.
In general, though, I think its one of those devices thats not necessary. Most people dont want to move a baby after shes fallen asleep, so its not realistic to expect people to move an infant from a reclined sleeper to a crib.
A lot of these devices are still available through the second-hand market, such as resale stores or garage sales. Parents need to be very aware of the risks and dangers when they make these purchases for their babies.
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Why Inclined Sleepers Can Be Dangerous For Your Baby
Many parents love putting their babies in inclined sleepers, those slanted kind of hammocks made of soft material that hang from a frame. Many of these products can vibrate, blow air or play music, and provide parents the promise of helping a baby fall and stay asleep.
But these products can be dangerous. In April, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock n Play infant sleepers following reports of babies who died while in them. Some of the infants rolled from their back to their stomach while unrestrained.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says inclined sleepers like the Rock n Play increase the likelihood of airway compression and suffocation.
Babies should be put to bed on their back alone, unrestrained and on a firm, flat surface without bumpers and other soft bedding, says the AAP and other organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
In this Q and A, we talked with pediatrician Erin Frank, MD, Associate Division Chief, Pediatric Hospital Medicine at UH Rainbow Babies & Childrens Hospital, about reclining sleepers and why they present a danger to infants. Here is what she had to say:
Dont Let Your Newborn Sleep In The Car Seat
This is a contentious one, because weve all been there: Your baby conks out in the car seat while youre driving home or running errands, and the beauty of the bucket seat is that you can pop it out and transfer your sleeping infant inside for the remainder of her nap. But according to the AAP, allowing an infant to sleep in a bucket car seat thats been placed on the floor or clicked into a stroller is a safety hazard, as the babys head can fall forward and cause something called positional asphyxiation. Due to the angle of the seat design, its much safer to let your newborn nap in the car seat while its attached to the base and installed in the car. Letting your baby sleep in a car seat overnight when youre not awake enough to check on her is a serious baby sleep mistake. In fact, experts actually recommend limiting the time your baby spends in a car seat, bouncer or swing to 30 minutes, mostly for developmental reasons and the risk of developing positional plagiocephaly . However, wed like to acknowledge that this 30-minute maximum is downright impossible on road trips, for parents who have long work or daycare commutes, or when the swing is truly the only place you can get your infant to nap. Wed love to see some more research on this recommendation.
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How To Implement The Preemie Sleep Schedule
Our schedule started at 7 AM. We would wake our twins up and give them their bottles. For the first several weeks, this was incredibly difficult and they did not want to wake up.
Sometimes it would take a full hour for them to finish their bottles because they kept dosing off. A good feeding took 30 minutes.
After they took their bottles, they were beyond exhausted! We would then change their diapers, and they would fall right back to sleep.
We repeated this exact same thing every 3-hours, with pumping breast milk and taking care of our two-year-old, Theo, thrown into the equation.
To say that it was exhausting is an understatement! The day we got the OK from our pediatrician to go longer periods overnight was such a relief! We continued on the 3-hour schedule during the day for several months after stretching out the night time feedings.
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How Does Breastfeeding Affect Safe Sleep
Breastfeeding for at least the first 6 of your babys life can reduce your babys risk of SIDS.
Its OK to breastfeed your baby in your bed. Before you start feeding, move any bedding and pillows from your bed in case you fall asleep. If you do fall asleep, move your baby to his crib or bassinet as soon as you wake up. Breastfeeding your baby in bed is safer than on a sofa or cushioned chair.
Babies often fall asleep while breastfeeding, especially when they get full. If you think your babys asleep and hasnt finished feeding, try to wake him gently by rubbing his back, tickling his feet, burping him or switching him to the other breast. If your babys not latched on correctly, he may fall asleep. You can break the latch by putting your pinky finger in the side of his mouth. Ask your lactation consultant to help you make sure your baby has a good latch. Latch is when your babys mouth is securely attached to the area around your nipple for breastfeeding.
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Leave Baby Alone In The Crib Or Bassinet
Baby should sleep alone on her back without bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets or pillows.
Its okay to start using a pillow and blanket when your child is a toddler and old enough to move out of a crib and into a toddler bed ideally between 2 and 3 years old.
If youre worried about baby being too cold at night, then consider a wearable blanket .
Are crib bumpers safe? Its best to avoid crib bumpers altogether. Like pillows and blankets, bumpers can increase the risk for suffocation and strangulation in younger babies. There’s no solid evidence that they actually prevent injuries in the crib, either.
Myth #: If Your Baby Sleeps Too Long In The Day They Will Be Up All Night
FACT: This is mostly untrue. Youve probably heard the saying sleep begets sleep, and thats because babies need a lot of sleep, with some newborns snoozing for up to 18 hours a day. If you find the right balance of daytime and nighttime sleep, your child will actually sleep more because theyre well restedand youll have hours of uninterrupted free time in the process! Conversely, an overtired baby will protest going down to sleep and have a harder time staying asleep. Depending on your little ones age and stage, most babies under six months shouldnt be awake longer than 2-2.5 hours at a time and should be getting anywhere from 3-5 hours of total daytime sleep. In short: Dont wake the baby!
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How Many Hours A Day Should A Newborn Be Awake
Along with how much are newborns supposed to sleep, you should know how much they need to be awake!
To begin with, your newborn will wake up every 2-4 hours both night and day, but in time, they will wake for longer periods between feeds during the day and hopefully return to sleep quickly at night.
During the day they will be able to stay awake from 30 to 90 minutes at a time but this will vary from baby to baby and from day to day.
Added up, your newborn will be awake for a total of 6-10 hours a day.
Should I Let My Newborn Sleep All Day
NO, you should not your newborn baby sleep all day.
Waking your newborn to feed, burp and then play with them for a short while during the day is essential in teaching them the difference between night and day.
The early days and weeks of looking after a newborn are exhausting and although it may be tempting to leave your baby to sleep to give you a break, in the long run, it will only delay their ability to sleep for longer at night once they are able.
You also need to ensure they are having enough food to maintain their healthy development.
Therefore, I would encourage you to ensure your baby wakes regularly for feeds and that you play with them after each daytime feed for a short while.
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