There are few things more important to your child’s healthy growth and development than being able to get to sleep. Though it can take time for their sleep routine to fall into place, it’s something you should be actively trying to put in place. Here, we’re going to look at how you create a sleep environment that’s perfectly suited to carry them off to the land of nod, and how to ensure that it’s safe, clean, and comfortable.
Don’t keep them in bed with you
Before you move your baby into the nursery, you are likely to want to keep your baby close by you. Some parents want to be there to watch them 24/7 and, eventually, most transition into letting them sleep in their own room. This is important for helping them learn to sleep alone. However, letting them sleep in bed with you, or co-sleeping, as it is known, is not recommended. For one, you never know how you might move in your sleep and how it might endanger your baby. Furthermore, adult-sized mattresses allow too much space for a baby to move around and roll over onto their front. This is a risk that you simply can’t afford.
Ensure the crib is secure
So, we’ve established that their own crib is the safest place for them to be. However, how safe and comfortable they are will also depend on what kind of crib you choose. Before you choose any crib, we sure to do your research, look up both parent reviews and expert opinions on it. However, there are a few crib safety criteria you should keep in mind, too. For instance, it shouldn’t have bars that are spaced any more than 2 ⅜ inches apart, nor should the top raid be any less than 26 inches away from the top of the mattress. Drop rails and bumper pads were both common years ago, but both have been proven to be unsafe, as well.
Choose the right mattress for the crib
Aside from the crib itself, of course, you have to make sure that you have the right mattress for it. First of all, do not choose a mattress that is too soft. Firm mattresses are much safer, as soft mattresses are known to be a suffocation hazard. Another factor in choosing a safe mattress is the size in comparison to the crib. It should fit the crib very snugly, to the point that you’re unable to fit more than a single finger between the mattress and the side of the crib. A breathable mattress will also be able to reduce the risk of suffocation at night, not to mention helping your child better regulate their body temperature, especially when it comes to staying cool at night, a point we will cover in more detail a little later.
Get rid of blankets
It’s a very easy mistake for a new parent to make, but your baby should not need any kind of top sheet to help them get to sleep at night. Blankets are a very real suffocating hazard for babies. In fact, keeping anything else in the crib, including pillows and toys, is generally a bad idea. A good mattress and crib cover should be more than comfortable enough for your baby to sleep in. If you’re worried about them getting cold, then using something like a swaddle or a sleeping suit will be much safer than any kind of blankets. You want to keep the cot empty of everything but the baby themselves.
Be sure to protect the bedding
You don’t need a top sheet to keep your baby comfortable. However, depending on your mattress, you may want to invest in some crib sheets. “How many crib sheets do I need”, you ask? Enough to be able to change them as regularly as your baby makes a mess in the bed. You don’t want your baby to sleep on a soiled mattress, and crib sheets protect them to stop that from happening. They help you keep your mattress cleaner and firmer for longer, while also creating a warmer and cozier environment, which is especially good for those colder winter nights. Some mattresses may not have a need for a crib sheet, but make sure you check with the manufacturer to see if this is the case.
Make sure a rocker is nearby
No, your baby is not going to be doing a lot of sleeping in a rocket if you do end up putting on in the nursery. However, they can still be a valuable tool in helping you ensure they get to sleep easily enough. A rocker is an essential tool for a nursery because it gives you a place near the crib to sit and rock and soothe your baby. If they’re having trouble sleeping at night, you can swoop in, solve whatever their problem is, and rock them back into sleep before placing them back into the crib without worrying about having to walk too far to the thing in the first place. It’s also important simply to have a place for the parent in the nursery where they can rest without having to worry about disturbing the baby too much.
Ensure they stay on their back
When your child is sleeping, you want to make sure that you put them down on their back and keep an eye out for them as they learn to roll over onto their side or their front. Nothing bad is necessarily going to happen if they do lie on their side, but it does increase the risk of SIDS, so it’s worth preventing anyway. This doesn’t mean that your child can never lie on their front, of course. Spending time on their tummy is going to be crucial for them as they learn to roll and crawl. You just don’t want it happening while you’re trying to help them sleep.
Help them stay cool
Just as you don’t want your baby getting too cold in the bedroom, you should be concerned about them getting too hot, too. For one, it’s going to make them uncomfortable, which is going to make them cry. As already stated, a breathable mattress can be a great help, but to keep your kids cool while they sleep through those summer nights, you might also want to consider a nursery fan. Not only is it going to cool the room down without making it too cold, but it also produces some lovely white noise to help baby stay undisturbed in their sleep.
Should you keep an eye on them?
If you want to make sure that your baby remains sleeping on their back and that they are comfortable and safe, then it may ease your worries if you choose a good baby monitor. Baby monitors can communicate both sound and visuals, making them perfect for watching over your baby as if they were in the same room as you. However, if you are prone to anxiety, then there is evidence that baby monitors can exacerbate your stress, making it difficult for you to get the sleep that you need. That’s not good for either of you.
Our children are at their most vulnerable when they’re totally and peacefully asleep. That’s why we must do what we can to ensure that they can sleep comfortably, safely, and soundly. Then we can sleep soundly, too.
this is a collaborative post