Babies don’t come with handbooks! So the saying goes but many people have written helpful baby handbooks that you may consult to learn the basics of baby care and tips for bringing baby home. While I truly believe trusting your instincts is important when it comes to caring for baby, there are times when a question arises and you need an answer or you just want to some reassurance that something baby does is normal. Once such helpful baby resource is Baby Care Basics by Dr. Jeremy Friedman, Dr. Natasha Saunders, with Dr. Norman Saunders © 2015. It offers a whole section with information on baby care basics such as how to get baby to sleep faster and how to select your baby’s sleeping space. I was provided with permission to share an excerpt with you from this book to help you answer the question, “Where should baby sleep?” If you are wondering about bassinet vs crib, this should help.
Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
HOW TO SELECT YOUR BABY’S SLEEPING SPACE
A Place to Sleep
You will need to decide where your baby will spend her first days at home. Some parents choose to have the newborn sleep in their room, while others prefer to have a dedicated baby’s room. Some parents prefer a bassinet, some a crib. Others prefer to co-sleep with their newborn.
Some families choose to use a bassinet initially. However, your baby will very quickly outgrow a bassinet and require a larger sleeping space. Be aware of safety issues — some bassinets have handles, allowing transport of a sleeping baby from room to room, but the bassinet can easily be dropped by a tired parent. Others attach to the side of an adult bed, but care must be taken to ensure that there is no gap or possibility of entrapment between beds.
Many parents choose to have their baby sleep in a crib. If you are buying a new crib, look for a product certification from a reputable testing agency. If you are planning to use a second-hand or older crib, make sure it meets current safety standards. For example, sides that slide up and down are no longer considered safe due to risk of injury. The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) provide guides to these safety standards.
The mattress you use should be approved for newborns. It should be firm, not soft. Use only a thin or porous blanket and do not give your baby a pillow. The current recommendation is that infants sleep on their backs. Sleep positioners (wedges used to prop a baby on her side) are not recommended, and some may pose a suffocation risk.
Your choice of stroller should be based on where you intend to use it; the weather conditions in your area; whether you intend to take it in the car or on a plane; the number of young children you have; and, of course, price restrictions. You will likely use your stroller for a few years, so durability is another important factor.
Never place your baby to sleep on a couch — there is a risk of suffocation.
Some families plan to co-sleep with their newborn for ease of nursing. Be cautious if you do so. Co-sleeping with adults who are obese, overtired (most new parents!), or under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be associated with a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
I hope you found those tips on where baby should sleep helpful. You can find tons more information on how to care for your baby in the Baby Care Basics book.
Most people will end up utilizing at least a few of the different baby sleeping spaces discussed above. We ended up mostly co-sleeping but we used a bassinet in the living room and a crib in the nursery as well. You really have to feel out what works for you.
Another fairly obvious baby sleeping tip that I feel I should still tell you is that you should not allow baby to sleep on a bed that is high off the floor- even if they can’t roll over yet. You never know when they may learn!
I hope you found these tips on baby care and selecting baby’s sleeping space useful. Enjoy the baby stages- they go by so fast!