Newborn Must Haves Part Four - Sleeping
When it comes to having a baby it can be overwhelming the amount of things marketed to you that you "Need" to have for your baby. I usually joke and say that the only things baby needs are, love, food, a place to sleep and diapers. But let's be real, there are definitely items that can make things easier so let's break it down.
A Safe Sleeping Surface:
The safe sleep guidelines recommend baby should be within arms reach of an adult in the nighttime hours for the first 6 months of life. So that might look like a crib, cradle or bassinet beside your bed. The mattress should be firm and should fit perfectly with no gaps. The Canadian Government has strict safety standards for baby products and you can check them out here.
Mattress Cover and 3 to 4 Fitted Sheets
While your baby may not make too much of a mess, you will be be faced with the odd poopy blow out or leaky diaper or massive spit up. And sometimes they can come in multiple waves on the same day or night. Having enough sheets will make the panic to clean it up in the middle of the night less stressful. I absolutely remember after a bad bout of stomach flu with my two year old, wiping down the mattress and laying a towel down because we simply ran out of sheets and were too exhausted to care about laundry.
Light Sleeping Clothing Or Sleep Sac
The important thing to remember about sleep for your newborn is to not over heat them. It may seem wrong not to have them all warm and cozy but overheating has been linked to SIDS or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Depending on the warmth of the room they are sleeping in, you may consider a onesie, or diaper shirt and a swaddle blanket or a sleep sack. For the sleep sacks, make sure they are not too big and fit well around baby's neck and arms. If the sleep sack is too big, baby may squirm around and end up inside it which can be a suffocation hazard.
Items You Don't Need Or Are Dangerous For Sleep
Your baby, absolutely, does not need, in the first year of life, a blanket or pillow in their crib. These items can end up being a suffocation hazard and you baby does not need it. I know it seems cruel to put them to bed without these comforts, but they do not know they are comforts.
Absolutely no head positioners. These pillows that help keep baby from having a flat head will also prevent baby from moving their head from side to side if they spit up at night and can cause them to choke. It is important that baby's head be able to turn from side to side unimpeded. And baby has an automatic reflex where they will turn their head to the side when they sleep.
No Bumper Pads. These decorative pads, again, can be a suffocation hazard if baby rolls into them and isn't able to roll back. And don't worry if baby rolls into the bars, they aren't going that fast where they will knock themselves unconscious. And if they do bang into the bars, baby's are smart, they won't do that again. Plus the distance between the bars isn't such that baby will get a limb caught, and they will cry before any real damage is done.
No Toys...sad, I know. Again, these can be choking or suffocation hazards. Plus, it's important to keep the sleeping area calm and relaxing for sleep and starting good sleep hygiene so baby will fall asleep easier if they don't see their sleeping area as a play pen.