Sleep just might be one of the most important needs of a newborn baby. Sleep is so essential for a newborn baby’s growth and development that they spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping.
You may not feel it, especially during the first few weeks when you feel like you’re not getting any sleep, but your newborn baby is actually asleep for most of the day.
Importance of Newborn Sleep
During the newborn stage, many rapid and dramatic changes happen to aid your baby’s physical, mental, and emotional development. Making sure they get enough sleep throughout the day gives them the energy that these changes require!
Sleep is also essential for their mental and cognitive development. Aside from this, studies also show that encouraging healthy sleep habits at an early age reduces the risks of health conditions like obesity. Finally, a well-rested baby is a baby who is more willing to learn and play!
Is my baby sleeping well?
Because their biological clocks are still developing, they still have an erratic sleep schedule. Yes, even when they’re not sleeping through the night yet, they’re having enough sleep! Gradually, starting in a few months, they will begin to sleep less during the day and more during the night.
So don’t worry about their sleep pattern, at least not yet. At this point, it is more important to ensure that your baby has a safe sleep zone.
SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
A newborn baby definitely needs to sleep. Now, it is your responsibility as parents to provide them a comfortable – and safe – space to sleep in. Doing this will not only help with your baby’s development but also help reduce the risk of SIDS.
SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the name given to call the sudden and unexplained death of infants. Also called “crib death,” SIDS is typically associated with sleeping babies. To help reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation, it is very crucial to create a protected sleep zone for your newborn baby.
10 Things to help create a Sleep Zone for Your Newborn Baby
1. Your baby sleeping on their back
While your baby needs to have daily tummy time when they are awake and alert, they need to be on their back when sleeping. Always keep an eye on your sleeping baby and make sure that their position is correct and nothing obstructs their breathing. It is also important to keep your baby’s head uncovered at all times.
2. A crib that follows the latest safety guidelines
If you are trying to save money, it is okay to borrow a crib or buy a used one. But you need to be absolutely sure that the crib was recently manufactured and adheres to the latest safety guidelines. The bars should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, for instance, and there should be no loose parts.
3. A firm, clear surface space
It can be tempting to get the softest mattress out there, but a firm crib mattress is the best option. Steer clear of waterbed mattresses or fluffy mattresses that are easy to sink into. Also, make sure that your mattress fits the crib perfectly to avoid gaps where your baby or their body parts can get caught.
4. A fitted crib sheet that fits the mattress perfectly
Apart from a well-fitting mattress, it is also essential to get fitted crib bed sheets that fit the mattress perfectly. Look for a crib bed sheets that are made of 100% cotton for breathability. Other important features include a full elastic and deep corner pockets to keep the sheet in place.
5. A musical mobile with short strings
You can add a musical mobile to the top of your crib, but you need to be careful in choosing. Aside from the appearance and the music, choose a musical mobile based on its strings. Look for a carousel-style mobile with short strings to prevent any risk of strangulation or choking.
6. No fuzzy pillows or toys
Fuzzy pillows and toys look adorable and perfect for baby photos, but the crib is not the place for them. They can obstruct a sleeping baby’s breathing and may even collect dust and irritants. Keep your baby’s crib clear and place your fluffies in your baby’s play room or on the floor.
7. No thick blankets inside the crib
To clear your crib of any possible obstructions, aside from fuzzy pillows and toys, also stay away from thick blankets. While you can use thicker blankets for older babies, they can be risky for newborn babies who can’t regular their own temperature. Stick to lightweight muslin cotton baby blankets instead.
8. No older children and pets within the zone
Next, refrain from letting your newborn baby sleep with their older siblings or with the family pet. Older children and animals may not be able to fully control their movements around the tiny baby, which can be dangerous. They may also accidentally obstruct the newborn baby’s breathing passages.
9. Constant ideal temperature
Because a newborn baby is not equipped yet to regulate their body temperature, it is crucial to keep the surrounding temperature at a comfortable level. It will also help to let your newborn baby use cotton baby blankets or wearable muslin blankets that encourage air flow.
10. A safe location inside your home
Finally, while keeping the inside of your crib safe, don’t forget the external environment, too. Keep your crib in a safe place inside your house – away from windows, dangling cords, heaters, furniture, appliances, and electronics. It is also best if you can place the crib within your hearing distance.
Because sleep is very essential for your newborn baby’s growth and development, it only makes a lot of sense to make sure they sleep well throughout the day. More importantly, it is your job as your baby’s parents to ensure that they are comfortable and secure in a safe sleep zone.
*This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, pediatrician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.