The Simplest Ways for Safe Sleep
October is SIDS Awareness month and we deep dive into what safe sleep looks like.
It’s October, and you know what that means!
Okay, maybe you don’t.
I love October for lots of things. Crunchy leaves under my ankle booties, pumpkin flavoured everything, cozy scarves (I’m basic, okay?), and taking my kids out for Halloween. But more important than all of that, October is SIDS awareness month.
SIDS is a scary thing, but there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that you can gain a lot of control through safe sleep practices. I’ll share with you my best tips & tricks to significantly reduce the chances of a sleep accident. I don’t share this topic to scare you, but to empower you to make safe, informed choices for your little sweetheart.
The best part is, just about all of these are super easy to implement, and I bet you’re doing some already! There is confidence in knowing how to actively protect your baby as they sleep, which is something that helps us all sleep a little more soundly! So here’s how you start:
Learn Your ABCs
If you take away nothing else from this, remember the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
Alone - It’s always recommended that your little peanut sleep alone. But that doesn’t mean they have to be isolated! Health Canada recommends that your little one room share with you for their first 6 months of life. Let’s remember that this is very different from bed sharing - which is something they don't’ recommend. Instead, your babe should be in their own sleep space (approved bassinet or crib), but in the same room that you sleep in.
Back - For their first year of life, your baby should always be put to sleep on their back - whether it’s just for a nap, or for the night. If you’re concerned about them choking on spit up, know that they instinctively turn their head to the side, so they’ll keep their airways clear. Even as they learn to roll, still place them on their back to sleep. If they roll onto their tummy, I recommend you flip them back unless they’re able to roll both ways (back to tummy and tummy to back).
Pro tip! Because your little one spends a lot of time on their back, tummy time is especially important to prevent flat spots on their head or having weak neck muscles.
Crib - Only approved sleep spaces here! Your new addition should be in either a bassinet or crib that’s up to date on their safety standards, with a flat, firm, fitted mattress. And in this safe space, ensure that there are no pillows, blankets, bumpers, loveys (unless they’re 12+ months), or anything they could pull into their crib. All you need is a fitted sheet and their swaddle or sleep sack.
Phew! That was a lot! But all of it is really important.
While we’re at it, there’s some other good stuff that you can implement to help keep your little one safe while they sleep.
Temperature is important both for sleeping well, and to sleep safely. When babies are too warm, they don’t wake as easily when they need to, which can be a contributing factor to what we’re here to prevent. The ideal temperature for your babe to sleep is 20-22 degrees Celsius. Plus there’s the added bonus of not only sleeping safely, but sleeping soundly at this temperature. Woot!
Create a safe sleep environment. Make sure that there is nothing that could fall or be pulled into baby’s sleep space, the temperature is ideal, there’s nothing in baby’s crib, and having a pacifier for your babe, are all ways to ensure safe sleep practices.
Have a firm, flat, fitted mattress in their crib. Most crib mattresses have two sides - a really firm side for 0-12 months, and a fairly firm side for 12+ months. Make sure you’re using the right side for your baby’s age, and of course ensure that it’s the correct size for a crib. Anything too small or too big puts your little one at risk of getting trapped between the mattress and the side.
While it’s super important to follow what you’re recommended to do, it’s just as important to follow the rules when it comes to what we’re not supposed to do. I know, rules can be a snooze. But what could be more important than children’s safety, right?
Keep smoke out of the home. Whether it’s yourself, someone who lives in the house, or even just a visitor, please don’t smoke inside your home and especially never around your baby. Smoke is so harmful to little lungs, and it increases that risk of SIDS, whether or not the smoke exposure is while they’re sleeping.
Avoid bedsharing. This one is controversial, I know. But I have to go with the facts here. There are a lot of frightening accidents that can happen when bed sharing with a baby, so naturally it’s not going to make the list of recommendations for safe sleep. Between suffocation, falling off the bed, and other scary scenarios, just please don’t do it.
Don’t overdo it on the layers. It’s natural to want to keep your baby warm, especially when the temperature drops. But there really can be too much of a good thing. Too many layers, or materials that don’t breathe can make baby too warm and put them at risk of not waking when they need to. Along with having that ideal temperature, clothing materials such as cotton, bamboo, and wool are great options. These are my favourite sleep sacks for that reason. Aaaaand, if you use my code WHOLENIGHT you’ll get a nice little discount! Gotta love that, eh?
I know that this topic can be difficult. Especially if you’re a first time mom or are struggling with PPA. But my goal is to empower you with knowledge and understanding so you can be proactive in keeping your little one safe while they sleep. If there’s ever a sleep topic that I need to share about, this is it.
My door is always open, and so is my support! If you want to dive deep into all things safe sleep, or how to help your baby sleep independently, let’s talk! You can sleep better knowing your little one is safe in their space, and also getting the rest they need. I’ll help you get there!