Lehaan is peacefully sleeping in the cot beside Riya’s bed. She looks at him and smiles, thinks of the nine months which went by in the wait of this very moment. Lehaan has finally arrived in her life. Those gentle fingers, the softest skin, the cutest smile, the sleepiest yawns, and the melodious burps! She is excited about every moment and keeps him as close to herself as possible. His safety has been her prime concern since the start of her pregnancy and with Lehaan around her now, she consistently keeps checking on him. Even when she feels drowsy sudden anxiety rushes over whether Lehaan is sleeping safely or not? Whether she is doing enough to keep her baby safe while sleeping?
Every mother, like Riya, wants to keep her baby safe through day long activities. This is an especially curated read for all the first time mothers who wish to know about how they can keep their baby safe while the baby is falling asleep :
A newborn’s usual sleep pattern :
Newborns should sleep for about 14 to 17 hours a day. Many newborns could also sleep up to 19 hours in a 24 – hour span. The usual sleep duration stays this for around six months and extreme care has to be taken for more than a year while your baby is asleep. Newborn babies wake up every 2 – 4 hours. That’s the time to feed them and make them rest again. Breastfed babies wake up every 2 to 3 hours whereas formula-fed babies wake up every 3 to 4 hours. Adjusting with the baby’s routine is a real task for parents especially during the first month. Some babies might tend to wake up in the morning and others might keep you awake with their eyes open at night. After 20-30 days you will get to understand the baby’s sleep pattern, needs, and acting accordingly will be a lot simpler.
Issues that your baby might face while sleeping :
How to keep the baby safe while sleeping?
The baby is the safest when it sleeps close to you. It might be on the same bed or in a cot in your room. Pay special heed to the below checks to ensure complete safety for you baby :
- Make the baby sleep on the back
When it comes to newborn safety while sleeping, posture becomes one of the most important factors that should be noted by parents. Placing the baby on its back is the safest posture, may it be at night or during afternoon naps. If you are making you sleep on the bed with you, sleep on the side facing your baby and guard it by forming a C – curve with your legs and lower arm. Use the upper arm to protect the baby from moving away to another direction
- Feed the baby at regular intervals
Newborns feel hungry every 2 – 4 hours. That’s the duration for which their little tummy makes them feel full. They wake up when hungry. The ideal practice is to feed them as they like and then let them rest. If your baby doesn’t wake up on its own, make sure you awaken them to feed for the first few weeks. The baby will start showing good weight gain during this time post which you can let them sleep for longer hours at night. It’s best to breastfeed your baby unless otherwise suggested by your doctor. Breastfeeding for 6 – 12 months provides them with good nutrition.
- Have Designated Sleep Space
Another important factor is your baby’s sleep space. The mattress you use for the baby should be firm and the sheet on the mattress should fit tightly. Any loose beddings, open blankets, toys, or pieces of clothing should not lie in or around the baby’s sleep space. It’s important for baby safety because the baby might get stuck in either of these and get entrapped or suffocated. You can choose to make the baby sleep in a sleeping bag if the baby is comfortable.
Make sure you do not make the baby sleep while lying on a sofa or chair. The gaps between sofa or cushions could trap the baby and if you are drowsy as well it would become much more unsafe.
- NO smoking
Smoking or consuming alcohol is a big NO. The mother, as well as the father or other family members, should maintain a safe distance from the baby if they have consumed either of these.
- Appropriate Temperature Control
Ideally, a baby needs one extra layer of clothing than you wear unless suggested otherwise by your doctor. It’s important to check the baby’s and its environment’s temperature. Too cold or overheated surroundings would suffocate him and hinder its breathing. You can check if the baby is feeling fine by placing your fingers down the back of its neck. It should feel dry and warm.
However cold the weather is, it is highly condemned to put an electric blanket or a hot water bottle around the baby. Direct exposure to sunlight or heaters should also be strictly avoided.
In warm weather, you can keep the room cool by opening the windows and closing the curtains at day time. You can gently wipe the baby with wet cloth/wipe and cover the baby with thin sheets while sleeping.
- Proper Mattresses :
Make sure your bed’s mattress is firm and fits tightly against the bed frame. This will ensure that there are no gaps that your baby could wriggle into. Try to use light and soft bed sheets and cover sheets.
- Zero Suffocation or Entrapment Sleep Conditions :
Don’t use a pillow in the baby’s sleep environment; may it be in the cot or on the bed. Babies need firm, gap – less, clean spaces free from any clutter may it be beddings or toys. Make sure the baby is never left unattended.
- Safe Dressing
- Swaddling the baby is crucial for safety, however, the baby needs comfortable clothing for a peaceful and safe sleep. Additional layers of clothing might overheat the baby and make it uneasy. Note that the baby’s clothing is free from anything that might get it entrapped for example ribbons, ties or strings of t-shirts, baby pajamas, onesies. Also, do not cover the baby’s head unless suggested otherwise by your doctor.
- Understand the baby’s signals and actions
Your baby might move a lot even when it’s asleep. So you would feel that the baby is awake even when it’s actually sleeping. Jerking, smiling, sucking while sleeping are all normal motions. Watching your baby while performing such motions along with your partner could be a sight of delight.
What should definitely catch your attention is when the baby cries, tugs its body parts, yawns, or rubs eyes. This is when the baby is showing signs of tiredness, hunger, sickness, or being wet or cold. Checking on these signals is essential and if everything is fine, making the baby sleep when it does any of these actions is a suitable way to establish the baby’s bedtime routine.
To sum it all, the key to keeping your baby safe through the day is to ‘always attend the baby’. We are sure you would follow all the necessary precautions to keep the baby safe. As you keep the baby safe, you stay at peace and you are happier about your journey with the baby. Along with this, regular consultations with your doctor will keep you updated about the baby’s development and let you know if there is something additional to take care of.