Bringing your baby home from hospital is one of the biggest, happiest milestones for a parent. It’s also an overwhelming moment when you might feel like your head suddenly fills with a hundred questions, like ‘where should my baby rest for safe sleep?’
Many parents prepare for the arrival of their baby by decorating a nursery or a room for them in their home and it’s tempting to welcome your baby by putting them to sleep in there for the first time. However, that’s not the safest option for your baby until they are at least six months old, so where should they sleep in the meantime?
Keep your baby close for safe sleep
Ideally, your baby should sleep in the same room as you until they are six months old. Evidence has shown that this significantly reduces the risk of SIDS for your baby and by keeping them close, it’s easier to feed and change them should they need it.
Your baby should have their own bed – a moses basket, a crib, a cot that attaches to your bed – in your bedroom. You may choose to co-sleep, and if you wish to do that ensure that you have informed yourself about the risks and read how to safely co-sleep. You can find the Lullaby Trust guidance here.
Keep the cot clear at all times for safe sleep
It’s tempting to make your baby’s bed snug with blankets and toys but the safest environment for your baby to sleep in is a clear cot. Sheets should be fitted or tucked under the mattress, and use fixed sheets or covers – a sleeping baby for their age and weight is best as it can’t tangle on them as they might squirm. Ensure that the sides of the cot are always put back into position when you and baby are sleeping, and remove any toys, however cute that they are!
Put your baby on their back to sleep
Always put your baby on their back to sleep, and place them at the end of the cot which is sometimes referred to as ‘feet to foot’. Baby should have plenty of room above their head and keep the cot clear at all times.
Placing your baby to sleep on their back is one of the safest things you can do to protect your little one and to ensure that they are sleeping as safely as possible and reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Use a dummy
Dummies can get a bad rep with the older generation, but there is some evidence that has shown that they can help reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby. There are a few things to remember if you choose to use a dummy:
- If you are breastfeeding, try not to give a dummy until breastfeeding is established, around 4 weeks. This is because the dummy can affect the latch.
- Don’t force your baby to take a dummy if they don’t want it – and don’t use anything to attach it to their clothing. If your baby loses their dummy in the night, you could try this hack from the MOLOs!
- Use an orthodontic dummy, like the one we recommend in ‘The Motherload® Recommends’ Amazon Page
- For more information and facts about how using a dummy can help reduce risk and keep your baby safe, check the button at the bottom of this article.
What’s the best temperature for my baby?
Like Goldilocks, the perfect temperature for your baby’s safe sleep is not too hot, and not too cold. Keeping a comfortable temperature in the room means that your baby won’t wake because they are cold, or overheat. The risk of SIDS increases in a room that is too hot for your baby.
The idea temperature for your room, or where baby is sleeping is between 16 – 20 degrees celsius. You might wish to use a room thermometer, or Gro-Egg to monitor the temperature. Use light bedding – a sleeping baby is ideal, but be wary of the Tog rating as you might need to change it if the weather becomes warmer, or cooler.
To check your baby’s temperature, feel the top of their chest or neck – not their head. If they are warm to the touch, remove a layer that is covering your baby, or that your baby is wearing to cool them down.
Do not let your baby sleep in a hat at night – even when newborn.
For more information on safe sleep for your baby, and for answers to questions you might have, we recommend The Lullaby Trust Website. To access the site, click on the button below: