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From the experts: Safe sleep Q&A

The only thing that makes sleepless nights with your bundle of joy worse is having questions and not knowing where to get answers.

Safe Infant Sleep Checklist

Checklist #1

Place babies on their backs for naps & at night until they are 1 year old. Make sure babies sleep on a firm, flat surface in their own crib, bassinet, or play yard.

Checklist #2

Choose a firm mattress & fitted sheet for the baby's crib. Remove toys, blankets, pillows, bumper pads & other accessories from the crib.

Checklist #3

Dress baby in a wearable blanket, onesie, or similar clothing for every sleep. A loose blanket could cover a baby's airway or make their body temperature too high.

Checklist #4

Share your room, not your bed. Place baby's crib or bassinet in your bedroom instead of letting baby sleep in the same bed with you.

Checklist #5

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to assemble your crib. Make sure to complete & submit the product registration card to learn about any recalls or safety updates.

We know, we’ve been there!

Safe sleep is an important subject, so we’ve brought in Christine Lawler, baby sleep coach and founder of The Peaceful Sleeper, to shine some light on a few crucial topics.

Chrissy Lawler

Meet our expert

Christine Lawler

Baby sleep consultant, owner of The Peaceful Sleeper, and licensed Family Therapist.

What you need to know for safe sleeping

Q: What’s better: co-sleeping or putting baby in a crib?

A: Putting baby in her own private sleep space is always the safest option. 

  • A bassinet next to your bed is a good compromise, but adult beds are too squishy for babies, and loose blankets present another hazard. 
  • There’s also the risk you could roll over on baby or she could roll off the bed or get trapped between the mattress and the headboard.

Q: How about other sleep options like baby nests, bouncy seats, and swings?

A: There are so many products on the market to help babies fall asleep, but they’re not safe to sleep in, so if you choose to use one, make sure you’re moving baby to her crib after she drifts off. 

  • The same principle applies to positioners or loungers, which have soft, squishy sides that are too low to prevent the baby from rolling out. In those cases, it’s best to wrap your newborn in a nice, tight swaddle, rock her to sleep, then put her down in a crib or bassinet.

Q: Are crib bumpers okay? 

What about blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals?

A: Though stuffed animals and baby bed sets are cute and make a nursery feel cozy, they present a suffocation risk. Your little one’s sleep space should be free of anything other than a pacifier.

Q: I slept on my stomach as a baby. Now I read it’s better for babies to sleep on their backs, but I worry about choking. 

Which is right?

A: A lot has changed over the years as we research and learn more about sleep positioning. Though experts used to recommend that babies sleep on their tummies, we now know that back sleep reduces the risk of SIDS. There are a couple of exceptions:

  • If your baby has reflux and you worry about choking, you can turn the baby's head to one side when you put her down, or prop the head of her crib at a slight incline
  • Once your baby can roll back to front and front to back on her own, you don’t need to worry about positioning as much; still, put her to sleep on her back, but rest easy if she flips

Q: Is swaddling safe?

A: Yes! Swaddling is so good for newborns

  • It mimics that snug feeling from the womb and prevents them from waking themselves up with flailing arms and jerky movements. 
  • Make sure you wrap baby nice and tight and have all tails and corners of the swaddle blanket tucked in so it doesn’t come loose when your little one squirms. Zip up swaddles like the Zen One make it easy to get a snug, safe fit every time. 

Q: Is it okay for me to feed my baby in my own bed in the middle of the night? 

What if I fall asleep?

A: Though nursing baby in bed is comfortable and convenient, falling asleep is a real risk. It’s better to hop out of bed, sit in a comfy chair, and do something like listening to a podcast or read a book until feeding time is over.

To learn more from Chrissy, follow The Peaceful Sleeper on Instagram and take 20% off everything on with code "nestedbean20" 

To learn more about safe sleep from the experts, check out these other articles on the Zen Blog: 

Safe Sleep: Baby Sleeping On Side or Stomach

ABC's of safe sleep: reducing the risk of SIDS

When can I stop worrying about SIDS?

Aliste Williams

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