You’re a new parent which means you feel all of the excitement, joy, and yes – nerves – that come with bringing your baby home from the hospital. One of the biggest anxieties new parents can experience is fear of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID, formerly known as SIDS). SUID is when a baby, under the age of 1, dies unexpectedly while sleeping. While the cause of SUID is still unknown, here are a few tips to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby, and reduce the risk of SUID.
- Back is Best
Place your baby on his or her back on a firm, flat surface.
- Put your baby’s crib in your bedroom
For your baby’s first year, it’s safest to sleep near your baby, with your baby in his/her own crib. Avoid napping or sleeping with your baby on a couch, sofa or armchair. Do not place your baby in any of these areas alone to sleep.
- Keep the crib clear
Avoid the use of bumpers, soft towels, or stuffed animals to keep babies sleeping on their backs. Once your baby is able to roll over to his/her side on his/her own, there’s no need to keep him/her restrained to his/her back.
- Don’t use comforters or thick covers
This can lead to overheating and suffocation. Place your baby in a sleep sack as an alternative.
- Don’t let your baby get overheated
Your baby should sleep in a quiet, dark space that’s slightly cool. Keep their head clear of any blankets or hats to avoid suffocation or overheating.
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke
Babies who were exposed to smoke during pregnancy, and had continued exposure after birth have an increased risk of SUIDS.
- Create a bedtime routine
Set aside 10 to 20 minutes before your baby’s bedtime to do an activity. Depending on your baby’s age, this could be quiet talk, reading a book or playing quietly. Try to keep nap times consistent. Allow your baby to fall asleep by himself/herself so he/she learns how to comfort himself/herself.
A safe sleep environment will not only reduce the risk of SUID, but good sleeping habits developed early on are an essential part of your baby’s development and overall well-being. An important part of establishing good sleeping habits include the sleep environment you create.
If you have questions about your baby’s development, you can always find more resources to help at Methodist Children’s Hospital. To connect with other moms in San Antonio, ask questions and share advice, visit The Baby Bump Club on Facebook.