Good sleeping habits are important for your baby’s physical and emotional well-being. An important part of establishing good sleeping habits is the sleep environment – where your child sleeps, the kind of crib or bed, the type of mattress, and so on.
Babies should not sleep in their parents’ bed, which is called bedsharing. Adult beds are not safe for babies. If you want your baby to be near you during the night, you can put a crib in your room, next to your bed. This is called cosleeping. Many mothers find that this makes night-time breastfeeding easier.
Whatever you choose, here are some things you should know to help you and your baby get a good and safe night’s sleep.
- For the first year of your baby’s life, the safest place to sleep is in the child’s own crib, on her back.
- When your baby can turn over on his own, there’s no need to force your baby into the back sleep position.
- Foam wedges or towel rolls to keep babies on their side should not be used.
- Infants should never sleep on air mattresses, waterbeds or loose bedding.
- Even when you are travelling, your baby must have a safe place to sleep. Car seats and infant carriers are not to be used to replace the crib for your baby’s sleep.
- A baby should sleep in a room that is quiet, dark and at a slightly cool temperature. Consider dressing your baby in sleepers so that you don’t need a blanket to cover her.
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke. Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, and babies who continue to be exposed to smoke after birth are at an increased risk of SIDS.
- Never nap or sleep with your baby or let your baby sleep alone on a couch, sofa or armchair. This increases the risk of suffocation.