Several times a week, we find ourselves sitting in meetings discussing the best way to keep babies safe while sleeping. At Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin one of our initiatives focuses on injury prevention and death review. Additionally, we provide grief and bereavement services for families who have experienced the unexpected death of an infant. Our work keeps us motivated to find ways to keep babies safe and parents well rested!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents follow the ABC’s of safe sleep.
Sometimes, babies can’t fall asleep on their own or wake up frequently at night, which can make parents very tired and cranky. Parents can try the following tips to help baby fall and stay asleep.
Keep bedtime and naptime routines the same every day.
- Keep things quiet for 1 hour before bedtime.
- Soft lighting helps baby get sleepy.
- Babies like to hear a quiet story or song before bedtime.
- Cuddle and rock baby gently before bedtime.
- Most babies sleep well after a feeding and/or a bath.
- Gently rub baby’s arms and legs.
Consider using a pacifier when you place baby on his/her back for sleep. If baby is breastfed, wait until she is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier. If baby spits out the pacifier after falling asleep, you do not need to put it back in her mouth.
If baby is only fussing wait a minute to make sure baby is actually awake. Some babies fuss a bit during sleep but will quickly settle down.
If baby wakes up and cries, go to him or her as quickly as possible. Calming the baby down quickly should help the baby go back to sleep. Try not to play with baby during the night when s/he wakes up. Keep play time during daytime hours.
Hold and feed baby if s/he is hungry, and comfort him or her before placing on their back to sleep in their own crib or bassinet. In the early weeks and months of life, babies need to be fed often. The time between night feedings should increase as babies grow bigger and begin to sleep for longer periods of time at night.
For more information about safe sleep visit Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.
- Abby Collier, MS, injury prevention manager, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin