One of the key topics discussed at many baby courses and prenatal classes is safe sleep guidelines for babies. SIDS is an issue at the forefront of many minds, especially new parents. We suddenly become responsible for these tiny humans and want to watch over them at every turn, keeping them safe. Obviously, sleep is one of those times that is more difficult to watch them as we tend to like to sleep too. By following these 5 safe sleep guidelines for babies, you can drastically reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.
5 Safe Sleep Guidelines for Babies
Put your baby to sleep on their back, with their feet touching the bottom of the bassinet (or cot).
Young babies do not have much neck control. That is why parents and visitors always need to support their necks while holding them. During sleep, babies can move around in their bassinet or cot (hence being noisy sleepers!). If a baby is put to sleep on their tummy, they do not have the neck muscles they need to pick up their head if they accidentally move their faces into the mattress – which can lead to suffocation. Similarly, if you have baby sleeping on their side, they can accidentally roll onto their tummies and have a similar situation. Placing your baby on their backs to sleep is one of the key safe sleeping guidelines for babies. Of course, this doesn’t help when baby starts rolling later on and they roll onto their tummies during their sleep. At this stage, however, babies have great neck control and will either wake up, head in the air, and cry (like my son usually does), or learn to sleep on their tummies with their head tilted to the side (which my son rarely does). However, we still put our son to sleep on his back every time, and this is how baby’s should always be put down to sleep.
Keep baby’s head and face uncovered.
While this may seem obvious, avoid putting a hood or beanie on baby to sleep. If you are worried about their temperature (for example, if it is too cold during winter), manage the environment temperature or add layers to their body (such as a long-sleeved onesie rather than short-sleeved). As mentioned earlier, babies wriggle during their sleep, and a beanie or hood can easily slide over their face during sleep. As babies don’t have well-developed muscles or reflexes, they aren’t able to move something off their face for many months. Wearing a hat can also contribute to overheating, which is another risk factor for SIDS.
Avoid smoking in the house.
Smoking obviously decreases the amount of oxygen within the environment, and for little babies it can cause issues for their noses and their overall breathing. This is another obvious one – just don’t do it, if you want to help your baby’s overall development and wellbeing.
Babies require their own safe sleeping space.
This may not appeal to everyone as there are many people who co-sleep in a variety of ways. However, there are many sources (particularly the Red Nose organisation) that suggest the safest sleeping environment for babies is in their own bed, free of any toys or materials and next to their parent’s bed. This is because co-sleeping could lead to parents or bedding ending up on the baby. As I mentioned, there are many mums I know who co-sleep and who haven’t had an issue. It is up to families to make their own choices regarding their baby’s. For me personally, we have always kept our son in his bassinet next to our bed; and then when he grew out of that, in a cot in his own room (which we did before the recommended age of 1 year old, as for us that was just not plausible).
Use a safe and appropriate baby sleeping swaddle/sleeping bag.
One of the most important elements of the safe sleeping guidelines for babies is what they are wrapped in. While we are taught to swaddle with muslin wraps at courses and in books, we honestly found that our Starfish would get out constantly and wouldn’t sleep well. Once we started using a swaddle bag, his sleeping drastically changed and he was able to self settle quicker (this is obviously our own personal experience and may not reflect the experience of others). When it came time to transition to a sleeping bag, we were nervous, but found that finding the right sleeping bag was key in helping him make the change.
Finding the Right Sleeping Bag
With Starfish’s transition, we found that he preferred to have a ‘heavier’ sleeping bag on him – anything too lightweight (with a lower TOG, or made out of lightweight material such as muslin) just didn’t help him to feel secure enough. So when we were approached by Woolbabe to review one of their sleeping bags, I was super excited to give it a go with Starfish, knowing he’d prefer the more ‘heavy-duty’ kind of sleeping bags.
The Woolbabe Information
Here are some interesting facts about the Woolbabe that is good to know before looking into them:
- They have three weights that make them stand out from other brands – Duvet Bags, 3-Season and Summer Bags.
- The Duvet Bags are quilted with organic cotton lining and have a plush filling of 100% merino.
- The 3-Seasons bags have a temperature range of 18 to 30 degrees – basically making the confusing TOG rating unnecessary.
- The bags have a wide size/weight range – our sleeping bag is a 3-24 months size.
- There are front and side zip options for you to choose from, making it ideal for mums and bubs who have particular style they prefer.
- The striped fabric (as you can see in our gorgeous TIDE Duvet Bag) is 30% merino and 70% organic
- They have a reputation amongst mums in New Zealand as being the warmest sleeping bags.
Our Experience of the Woolbabe Duvet Bag
It was a bit hard to start off with giving Starfish a fair go in the Duvet bag, because the weather has been hot and cold here in Sydney (to be honest, I thought I had looked at the 3-Seasons bag but my Baby Brain clearly didn’t – oops!). However, we have started to get some chilly days and nights here so I was able to give him a go in his Woolbabe.
The first thing I noticed was that it is HUGE – obviously with the large size/weight range, it needs to be able to accommodate bigger babies. My boy started flapping his sleeping bag a bit like a mermaid (as you can see in the photo) which was super cute, but I was a little worried that he’d get a bit caught up in it. However, when it came to going to sleep, the thicker material actually prevented him from rolling around as much as he usually does, and so he wasn’t getting caught up in the bottom of the sleeping bag.
We also found that the sleeping bag was a nice snug fit for Starfish especially around the neck and arms – it has buttons under the arm holes so you can make the size of the arm holes smaller or bigger (make it fit more snug, which our boy likes).
The main draw card for us with the Woolbabe Duvet Sleeping Bag was the lining and snugness it gave our Starfish. As I mentioned earlier, our boy prefers to feel snug and secure when he goes to sleep, and the Woolbabe is the perfect sleeping bag for this. The sleeping bag lining basically insulates him like a blanket or a warm cuddle, keeping him warm on those chilly nights. PLUS if you’re ever unsure of what clothes to put your bub in with their sleeping bag, Woolbabe has a nifty instruction card (which also acts like a thermometer for bubs room – COOL RIGHT?!) that tells you what clothes to dress baby in.
From now, we’ll be using the Woolbabe as it gets cooler here in Sydney, as I know our son will be nice and cosy. It’s also great that we don’t have to worry about a winter sleeping bag for him for next year either, as it will be suitable for him up until winter next year too – WINNING! Thanks Woolbabe for creating such a snug, cosy sleeping bag for our little Starfish (and all the other babies out there!)
(I received a Duvet Sleeping Bag from Woolbabe for the purpose of this review.)
PLUS – COMING NEXT MONTH:
Mumma Morrison’s Winter Sleeping Bag Review
Currently featuring brands such as ergoPouch, Merino Kids, Woolbabe, Plum Collections, Aden & Anais and the Gro Company, this sleeping bag review will launch on Monday, May 15th. To assist me on this project, I have an amazing (certified) Sleep Consultant who will be looking over the Sleeping Bags and sharing her special features of each brand too.
Stay tuned for the Sleeping Bag Review, Monday May 15th (Put it in your calendar – it is going to be BIG!!)