One of the first questions you have to answer after you give birth is, Where should baby sleep? A bassinet? Crib? Cosleeper? Your bed?
It’s a decision that deserves some serious thought because it will affect your sleep, your baby’s sleep and your baby’s safety.
Hands down, having your newborn baby sleep in your room is the way to go! It’s cozier and much more convenient. It lets you hear when your baby spits up, has breathing troubles, or is uncomfortable in any way. And, as a total bonus: Your being nearby reduces her SIDS risk. The current recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is to keep your swaddled baby right by your bed, in a bassinet, crib or cosleeper for the first 6 months of life.
Make sure the device has a wide base (so it’s not easy to knock over). It should also have a firm mattress with a snug fit and sides should be at least 15 inches high (measured from the mattress base). If you choose a crib, make sure the crib is safe and properly assembled. (For guidance, visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.)
Happiest Baby is proud to have created SNOO Smart Sleeper, the safest baby bed ever made. It is the only bed that prevents accidental rolling, thanks to our unique swaddle which secures to the bed and keeps babies safely sleeping on their back all night. So in SNOO, babies benefit from swaddling without any of the risks of unraveling or loose blankets. In addition, SNOO also calms crying and boosts sleep (often 1-2+ hours) with womblike sounds and motion.
Around 5 or 6 months, many couples move their babies into a crib in another room. Babies tolerate the switch pretty easily at that age, although it’s fine to wait longer.
Danger Spots: Sleep Locations to Avoid
Certain sleep spots pose real risks. These include sleeping on living room furniture, sleeping sitting upright (for instance, in a car seat or infant carrier) and sleeping in poorly designed slings.
Studies from all around the world agree: sleeping on living room furniture is a huge risk! Scottish researchers found a 67 times higher risk of SIDS among babies who were allowed to sleep on a couch. And, the risk is also high for babies sleeping on recliners, armchairs, cushions, beanbag chairs and air mattresses.
Also, the car seat is not a safe place for your baby to snooze in, except for little naps while you’re taking a short car trip. During the first 6 months of life, a baby’s heavy head can fall forward when she is seated, causing difficulty breathing and asphyxiation.
And how about slings? Slings are terrific. They offer a delicious flow of touch, movement and sound, along with the continuous reassurance of your scent. On top of that, they leave your hands free for other jobs. These simple folds of cloth are so helpful to new moms; I suspect they may have been one of the first bits of clothing ever invented.
However, babies frequently fall asleep in their cozy slings, and there are a few things to know to keep your baby safe. Make sure your sling:
- Is not too deep–if your baby can sink into a little “C” position at the bottom, she is at risk for suffocation from a lack of fresh air. (Your baby should be sitting high enough so you can see her face.)
- Supports your baby’s back so her chin doesn’t fall forward and get pushed down against her chest, making it hard to breathe or cry for help.
- Holds your little one snug enough to prevent her from falling.
- Has no fabric folds that can press against her nose or mouth.
And one more sling rule: Never carry your baby in a sling when you’re handling very hot food or liquids.
What about sleeping in the swing? Most swings are not safe because they keep a baby on an incline, which can cause their head to slump forward and restrict breathing. While SNOO is a bed, it can also be used as a swing, and a safe one for your infant to sleep in because it is entirely flat. Its calming motion lulls babies to sleep faster and keeps them asleep longer.
As you can see, there are several options for where your baby can sleep. Choose the one that's best for your family, but remember that your key job is to make sure your little one sleeps safely.