Whether you’re still pregnant and are setting up your baby’s nursery or your little bundle has already arrived, you’re probably spending a lot of time thinking about how you’ll get your newborn to sleep successfully. But all the different pieces of advice can get very confusing!
Here's what you need to know about putting your bub down to sleep safe and sound:1. Creating a safe sleeping environment
The safest place for a newborn baby to sleep from birth is in a cot which complies with the Australian mandatory standards*. Beautiful designs, patterns, colours, bedding and trims are important, of course, but what really counts is your baby’s safety. The cot needs to have safe edges and nothing which could be used as a foothold. Smooth, rounded corners will minimise the risks of loops of clothing being caught around them.
Ensure the cot has a firm and flat mattress, fitted correctly and neither elevated nor tilted, complete with a tight fitted sheet. Avoid memory foam mattresses and if you are buying a mattress separately to the cot, ensure there is no more than a 20mm gap between the side of the mattress and the cot’s sides or ends. Your baby’s sleep space should be free of any other blankets or accessories, including bumpers, pillows, blankets, comforters, mattress toppers, stuffed animals and wedges or sleep positioners.
2. Share a room, not a bed
According to current recommendations, the best place to sleep a baby is in their own designated safe space (bassinette or cot) in the same room as an adult for at least the first six months to a year. Of course, keeping your bub close by makes it easier for night-time feedings as well.
Some parents have very firm views on not putting their baby into their own room from birth. But separating young babies from their parents is not a good idea and experts say the best place for babies to sleep is in the parent’s room.
3. Ensure your bub is sleeping in a safe position
The safest position for a baby to sleep is on their back, never on their tummy or side. A good way to achieve this is to place bub in a safe, infant sleeping bag - designed especially for babies, with fitted neck and armholes and no hood.
Research has shown that among the benefits of using an infant sleeping bag are that:
- They reduce the risk of bedclothes covering baby's face
- They delay baby rolling onto the tummy during sleep which can impact their breathing
- They promote back sleeping as the zipper opens to the front
- They will keep baby's temperature at a more constant level while sleeping
Babies control their temperatures through their face and it’s very important to keep their head and face uncovered to avoid them becoming overheated, so do not use extra blankets. It’s also key to ensure that sure your baby cannot slide down into the sleeping bag.
4. Use a better way to know your baby is sleeping ok
Sleep-related risks are highest during the first year of life and we believe we can help parents by creating products to give better insights into the health and well-being of infants in the home. We understand what it's like to hover over the cot at night. That's why we invented the Owlet Smart Sock. It's a better way to check on your baby and smarter way to know they're okay. It tracks heart rate and oxygen saturation levels and notifies you in real-time if something appears to be wrong.
*The Australian Government has developed mandatory standards for cots and portable cots (from March 2009) and all cots, new and second hand, sold in Australia must meet the Australian Standard for cots (AS/NZS 2172-2003).