One of the classic parent-to-be activities is setting up the nursery. I’m going to assume that your baby will be sleeping in a separate sleep space from you. Which is awesome, because that’s the safest way for your little one to be sleeping.
Here’s how to set up the safest way for your baby to sleep:
In the same room:
- The crib, bassinet, baby box, portable crib, or play yard is positioned for easy access but nothing from my bed or nightstand can fall into it (pillows, etc.)
- The mattress is firm and flat.
- There are no cords from blinds, baby monitors, sound machines—anything with a cord can get wrapped around your baby’s tiny body parts – fingers, wrists, and yes, even necks.
- There is nothing above your baby like pictures, wall hangings, shelves, etc. that could fall. Stuff falls – don’t have it fall on your kid.
- It is free from pillows, bumpers, blankets or pacifiers with stuffed animals attached – the snugglier an item is, the higher the risk of suffocation.
- The space looks boring and kind of lonely. Excellent! That’s what we are going for. Don’t worry – your baby will feel very loved even without a ton of fluff in their bed.
In a separate room:
- The crib has a mattress that is firm and flat.
- The crib does not have a drop side. (This is common in cribs made before 2010).
- The mattress has a fitted sheet and that’s it.
- There are no cords from blinds, baby monitors, sound machines nearby.
- There is nothing above your baby like pictures, wall hangings, shelves, etc. If you have to have something hanging above the crib, make sure the crib is pulled away far enough from the wall to land on the floor and not your baby.
- It is free from pillows, bumpers, blankets or pacifiers with stuffed animals attached.
- If you choose to have a mobile it is firmly attached and well out of reach.
- It is free from soft-sided loungers. Do not put them in the crib.
- It is free from positioners or wedges.
Adding your baby:
- Baby is placed on their back.
- Baby will only be swaddled until 8 weeks or until they start showing signs of rolling like back arching, kicking legs over or arching their neck to the side. (Whichever comes first.)
- Add a pacifier if your kid digs it (no stuffed animals or blankets attached). Pacifiers can help prevent sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).
- Dressed in a sleeper, sleep sack or wearable blanket that won’t creep up over their face. Put baby in one more layer than what you are comfortable in.
- Baby is not wearing a hat, bow, teething necklace, pacifier clip, or any Mardi Gras bead apparatus that your sister thought was ‘cute’.
- Moving air has been shown to help reduce the risk of SUIDS. Fans help move carbon dioxide away from your baby’s resting area giving your kiddo fresher air to breathe. You don’t need to go crazy and aim a fan right at your baby’s head (that’s not so safe anyway). A portable table or box fan works great, or if you have one, a ceiling fan on a gentle setting will do the trick.
- White noise. A constant background sound isn’t necessary for safety, but it can protect your sanity.
- Blackout shades or curtains. The darker the room, the better babies sleep. If blackout shades aren’t in your plan, you can also use tin foil pressed over the window.
- Heating Pad. This great tip comes up a lot for creating a warm spot for your baby to transition from your arms to the crib. Remove it from the crib before you place your baby down and keep it clear from the space.
For some, bare cribs can prompt feelings that their baby isn’t as cozy and loved as possible. If this is you, banish these thoughts from your mind. A safe baby feels very loved, indeed.