Becoming a parent for the first time is bewildering and extremely scary. It doesn’t matter how many prenatal classes you go to, nothing prepares you for the anxiety inducing, guilt ridden, sleep deprived foggy days ahead of you when you are sent home with your newborn baby.
As well as worrying if your baby is getting enough milk, if they’re gaining weight quickly enough (or too quickly!) why they’re crying so much in the evenings and wondering how on earth you’ve been allowed to suddenly be in charge of the most precious entity in the entire universe, you are extremely sleep deprived thanks the numerous wake ups throughout the day and early hours of the morning.
Nature sucks if you think about it. After having gone through one of the most painful and for some, traumatic, experiences of your life, you cannot get any rest and will probably find the first three weeks at least, sleep is something you have to snatch wherever you can grab it – that’s if you actually manage to fall asleep when you do get the opportunity.
In your sleep deprived state, it’s easy to make unsafe choices when caring for you baby. This isn’t meant to alarm you, but safe sleep for your baby is so important, especially during the early newborn days. We are now so much more educated on how to sleep safely that SIDS rates have fallen dramatically in this country over the last thirty years, however it’s vital to keep promoting and educating on safe sleep, so that many more lives can be saved.
Bounty work with numerous charities, including the Lullaby Trust to educate new parents with timely advice and expert knowledge, through their website, app and emails as well as offering three free Bounty packs which are filed with free samples, money-off vouchers and free guides offering practical up to date advice and information from pregnancy and beyond including the Safer Sleep for Babies guidelines written by the Lullaby Trust.
This post will briefly discuss some of the Safer Sleep for Babies guidelines but for more up to date information be sure to visit the dedicated Bounty safer sleep section of their website which has been produced in association with the Lullaby Trust.
So, as a new parent what can you do to promote safer sleep in your household?
Back to sleep
Since the launch of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1991, the number of SIDS cases has fallen drastically simply by educating Mums to place their babies to sleep on their back, instead of their front. It may seem simple, but making sure your baby sleeps on his back is crucial for safer sleep.
The Lullaby Trust advises that baby shares a room with you until they’re at least six months old. According to a large European study, the risk of sudden death is hugely reduced when baby sleeps in the same room as you – this includes both night time and daytime sleeping.
Firm, flat mattress
Always place baby on a firm, flat mattresses to protect them from the risk of SIDS and avoid second hand mattresses if possible.
Never sleep on a sofa
Falling asleep on a sofa with your baby is a huge risk factor for SIDS as they can slide down the cushions and easily suffocate. If you feel tired and are holding your baby, put them down in their Moses basket or crib, before getting comfortable on the sofa.
Don’t smoke around your baby
We all know smoking is bad for you, but did you realise that second or third hand smoke can harm your baby too? Never smoke in the same room as your baby and don’t let any smokers sleep near your baby either.
Optimum room temperature
Having the perfect room temperature is key to reducing the risk of SIDS. The Lullaby Trust recommends that the room should be between 16-20C. We use a Gro Egg thermometer to measure the room temperature and take steps to either cool the room down and heat it up if necessary to ensure the baby doesn’t overheat.
As well as checking out the safer sleep section of Bounty’s website, you can also join the other 45,000 Mums a month who pick up a Bounty newborn pack from their hospital, Tesco, Asda and Boots, simply by claiming it via the Bounty app.