The Baby Tech Support guide to safe sleeping practices

Safer Sleep Week (14th – 20th March 2016) is the Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign to help spread the word about safe sleeping practices.  At Baby Tech Support we are passionate about sleep, especially Safe Sleep practices so here is our guide to safer sleeping practices and the products that you need.

From the moment I brought my children home from the hospital and closed the front door the emotional rollercoaster of motherhood began. In those early days, I would move from sheer joy and pride to absolute panic within seconds. Oh my goodness, I love him so much! What if I break him? He’s so wonderful and innocent! Am I really responsible for this tiny human? He’s sleeping peacefully. What do I do now?
The anxiety only increased at night and like most new parents, I spent most of the first few nights checking my son was still breathing, jumped at the slightest strange squeak and constantly wondered whether he was too hot or too cold.   With hindsight I think my anxiety stemmed from the fact I didn’t know what I was doing! Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t totally unprepared for him. I’d read every pregnancy and birth book around and could tell you in nauseating detail about the stages of pregnancy but I hadn’t read a single thing about how to look after the baby once he came home.

I was very aware of the risk of SIDS but I was given very little information on how to prevent it and implement safe sleep practices. Thankfully I came across the Lullaby Trust.   The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families, promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep and raises awareness on sudden infant death.
This week is safer sleep week. Shockingly SIDS still claims the lives of around five babies every week in the UK. Getting the message to new parents about safer sleeping habits will save lives.
Here at Baby Tech Support, we are passionate about sleep and making sure everyone has enough of it but we also want to do our bit to educate parents on how to do this safely.

So here is a guide to safer sleeping practices. Please read, share and tell everyone you know.
1. Back to Sleep. Always place your baby on their back to sleep and not on their front or side (unless your doctor has advised you of a medical reason to do so). The risk of SIDS is increased if a baby is put to sleep on their back or side. Once they are able to roll from back to front and back again they can be left to find their own position.
2. Feet to foot. When you place your baby in the cot, put their feet at the bottom of the cot. It will prevent them from wriggling underneath covers and reduces the risk of SIDS.
3. Be Smoke free. Both you and your partner should try not to smoke during pregnancy and after the birth. Don’t smoke near your baby and keep your home, car, and other places your baby spends time, smoke free.
4. Where to put them to sleep. Put your baby to sleep in a moses basket or cot in your room for the first 6months. The risk of SIDS is greatly reduced if your baby sleeps in a separate cot.
5. Bedding. Use a firm waterproof mattress. Avoid any bulky duvets or blankets, quilts or pillows. Swaddle your baby tightly or tuck a cellular blanket firmly at the foot of the cot, no higher than baby’s shoulders. Use a sleeping bag that is suitable for your baby’s age and season.
6. Temperature. Make sure your baby and their room are the right temperature. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot. A room temperature of between 16-20 degrees is ideal. Remember that every baby is different so check your baby by touching the back of their neck, check for sweating or other signs of overheating. It’s normal for their hands and feet to be cooler but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are cold.
7. Don’t cover your baby’s head or face while sleeping.   They do not need to wear a hat indoors or while sleeping as it can cause overheating and increase the risk of SIDS.
8. Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely. At Baby Tech Support we do not advise that you co-sleep and encourage your baby to sleep independently, it’s safer and helps establish good sleep habits from the start.
Visit http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-week to find out more and see what you can do to help.

Here are some of the products that we have found work well when establishing good and safe sleeping habits from birth…

  1. You can either use a flat sheet or swaddle wraps and pods specifically designed to avoid loose covers around your baby. It reduces the risk of SIDS and prevents unnecessary newborn waking by reducing the Moro reflex. You can swaddle from birth until your baby outgrows it.
  2. Sleeping bags. Certain brands can be used from birth or 7kg so check the label. Gro Bags are our favourite as they come in a variety of togs, sizes and designs! A fantastic invention that avoids the use of loose covers, keeps your baby covered, yet safe.
  3. Car Seat safety. Even in the car seat your baby could be at risk of SIDS so do not leave them in there for more than 2 hours at a time. Avoid too many layers during winter, instead we love the Morrick All Season Baby Hoodie.
  4. Baby Monitor.  It can be an anxious time when you move baby out of your room at 6months so investing in a good quality baby monitor can put your mind at rest. A decent digital one will give you the piece of mind but if you want to be extra vigilant invest in a video monitor or Angelcare heartbeat monitor.
  5. British Baby Box. The idea for the baby sleeping in a box originates from Finland where all expectant mothers are provided with a box full of baby goodies. These babies then sleep in the box instead of a moses basket or cot. Ok I know what you are thinking “my baby in a box” but Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates of any country. Now the British Baby Box (britishbabybox.com) are producing them for the UK.

For more information on establishing good sleeping habits for your newborn contact http://babytechsupport.co.uk/get-help/

Please spread the word. This advice really does save lives.

Gemma at Baby Tech Support

9th March 2016

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