This is a guest post from Sophie Banat
Making Up Your Baby’s Cot
Babies do most of their growing in their sleep so they sleep a fair bit; well, hopefully they do! It is, therefore, important that your baby sleeps safely to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or other nighttime problem.
It is best to place your baby on their back to sleep. They generally will settle easier this way in any case. As they grow bigger they will move around, but continue to put them down to sleep on their back. They will find their own comfortable position during the night’s wriggling.
Babies should have their own bed
It is not advised that you take your baby into your bed. They should have their own, suitable sturdy cot with a firm, well fitting and clean mattress. Even if you have a second hand cot you should invest in a new mattress. Having an old mattress is indicated to have a link with SIDS and so even if the new baby is a younger brother or sister, you should change the mattress.
Suffocation from babies having their face covered by bedding is one of the main SIDS risk factors, so it’s very important to make the cot up as safely as possible. You should avoid a duvet and a pillow if your baby is less than one year old as these can lead to smothering or overheating. Sheets and blankets prevent a baby overheating and the temperature is easier to regulate by adding or removing layers. It is a good idea to use the correct sized bedding for your cot. Folding blankets or sheets can lead to your baby getting tangled.
Photo credit: associated fabrications
When you make up the cot you need to employ the “feet to foot” method. Your baby’s feet should be at the bottom end of the cot and that means the blankets and sheets will need to be about halfway down the mattress, tucked securely underneath it. Always use a BSA approved cot from a reputable supplier and check you have followed the assembly instructions properly.
Don’t cover your baby’s head at night and avoid having toys or “bumpers” in the cot too. Whilst bumpers haven’t been proven to provide a smothering hazard, they are generally attached using ties, which older babies can undo and harm themselves with. Never put your baby to sleep on a bean bag or water bed.
It might be worthwhile investing in a baby sleeping bag, which are great for babies who love to kick off their blankets! They come in a range of tog rating to suit the season. It may also be practical and cheaper in the long run to invest in a cot that converts to a bed as your child grows. These sorts of adjustable beds are a popular solution for many families.
Tips to prevent SIDS include: not smoking during pregnancy or in the same room as your baby, using a room thermometer to ensure the baby’s bedroom is the ideal 16-20º C, keep the baby’s cot in your room for the first six months so you can keep a close eye on them and seek medical advice if they are at all unwell.