How To Create The Best Sleep Environment For Baby
Congratulations on your new baby! Nothing is sweeter than watching your new baby, or even your older baby sleep peacefully. When baby is not sleeping well though, it gets a little tiresome, quickly. Getting your baby to sleep well can seem like a really daunting and impossible task at times. I promise though, that if you learn how to create the best sleep environment for your baby now, you will become a pro at getting your baby to sleep in no time!
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Creating The Best Sleep Environment For Baby
Whether you have a newborn baby or an older baby or even toddler, creating the best sleep environment is one of the most important things to consider when planning to get your baby to sleep.
While the age of your baby will determine how long she can sleep without waking for food, a safe and comfortable sleep environment will help your baby sleep to her maximum potential. This, in turn, helps you to get more and better sleep as well!
Consider the safety of baby’s sleep environment-
Safety is the number one priority when it comes to creating the environment your baby will sleep in. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that newborn babies are placed on their backs to sleep only, and that there are no heavy blankets, bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals in the crib with the baby.
The AAP also recommends that for at least the first six months of baby’s life, that he sleep in the same room with the parents, but that he should always have his own sleeping surface. All of these recommendations are made to prevent SIDS, and they are very effective in doing so when the parents follow these guidelines.
- Make sure your baby has a sleeping area with a tight fitting sheet, and nothing else in her crib (even light weight loose blankets should be avoided for a newborn).
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back. Always. (once she is able to turn herself over on her own you may not need to turn her back over, but this is something you should discuss with her pediatrician).
- Always provide her with her own sleeping area that is separate from parents, but in the same room for the first 6 months.
Consider the temperature of the sleep environment-
The temperature of the room where baby is sleeping is important as well. The room should be cool (65-72 degrees F), and not overly warm. Keeping the environment cool will both help decrease the risk of SIDS, but also will help your baby to sleep more soundly.
Parents may worry that their baby will be too cold while they are sleeping, especially in the winter, and the first action is to give the baby a blanket. While this is OK for a toddler (over age 1), you should never give a loose blanket to a baby under age 1, especially a newborn because of the risk of SIDS, and the danger of suffocation.
- swaddle or wrap your baby with a large baby blanket.
- Check out this infographic for easy newborn swaddling ———————>
- In warmer weather, a newborn baby only needs a thin layer, such as a onsie, underneath her swaddling blanket.
- In colder weather, baby may need sleeper pajamas that cover her arms, or my favorite, a baby gown, with her swaddling blanket.
- The swaddle should be snug, but of course not too tight. You want to create a cozy little cocoon for your baby, that is also safe and has all loose ends tucked in. If you have trouble getting the swaddle just right, you can always try a newborn swaddler, or a sleep sack.
- Once your baby starts to roll, or kick out of her swaddler, you’ll want to to stop using this method. Use a onsie and a sleeper sack instead.
- Keep your baby’s sleep environment between 65 and 72 degrees F (18-21 degrees C).
- Keep her warm by either swaddling her with only a thin layer underneath, or by using a sleep sack.
- You should never give your baby a loose blanket to cover her during sleep.
Consider the noise of baby’s sleep environment-
Newborn babies tend to sleep through anything, but once your baby is a little older, she may start to be bothered by the noise level of the environment. Mostly, the noise from the rest of the house that is up and having fun!
If your baby seems to wake easily, using a sound machine to provide some white noise and soften the noise of the dog barking or the other kids running can really help.
In lieu of using a sound machine, you could always use a white noise phone app, or a box fan just outside the baby’s door.
- Sometimes a silent environment isn’t best for baby. White noise may help her sleep peacefully.
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Consider the lighting of baby’s sleep environment-
Some babies are not bothered by total dark, and some are. You’ll have to determine what works best for your baby. If your baby prefers to have some ambient light when she falls asleep, try a simple but cute night light to put on her dresser. This will also help you to be able to check on her without turning on the light.
For naps during the daytime, you will want to darken the environment a little using blackout curtains.
- Try different levels of lighting in baby’s room during sleep time.
Consider the air quality of baby’s sleep environment-
You should never smoke around your baby, and there should be no cigarette smoke in her sleep environment. Cigarette smoke in the home can increase the risk of SIDS in babies. Quit smoking if you can.
The air in your baby’s sleep environment should be well circulated and fresh. Use a ceiling fan or open the window a crack. Remove any bad smells such as dirty diapers that could be causing odors.
- Create a nice smelling sleep environment by not smoking, getting rid of trash, and using essential oils.