New parents are overjoyed when their baby finally falls asleep. It’s a beautiful thing to watch a newborn sleep peacefully. But then the new-parent paranoia kicks in and, especially in the beginning, there is the constant checking to make sure the baby is still breathing. While it might seem a bit over the top, it’s not an entirely unreasonable concern. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 3,500 sleep related deaths occur in the United States each year. Arm’s Reach makers of the Co-Sleeper® baby bassinet asked baby experts for their best sleep tips, from getting baby to bed more easily to keeping them safe and sound.
Dr. William Sears, Pediatrician
Dr. Sears is the father of eight, author of 27 books on childcare, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, and has practiced pediatrics for thirty years. Dr. Bill received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston, and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto – the largest children’s hospital in the world – where he served as associate ward chief of the newborn nursery and associate professor of pediatrics.
Dr. Sears recommends that babies sleep in their own bed space, yet still be within touching distance from a parent. Sleeping within arm’s reach makes night feedings easier and allows parents to make up for missed touch time during the day. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper bassinet enhances bonding between parents and their baby and provides night-time security that benefits a growing baby’s emotional development.
Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant
Rebecca is a British Children’s Sleep Consultant based in Seattle, Washington. She is known for her work with families around the world and “gently turning drama into dreamland.” Rebecca recommends, and the American Academy of Pediatrics does too, that your baby should always be placed on their back for sleep, with the feet at the end of the crib. No loose bedding, blankets, crib bumpers or cuddly toys should be placed in the crib and take care to ensure that all caregivers are following the same plan. Make sure that the temperature of your baby’s room isn’t too hot- around 65- 74 degrees F.
Rebecca also recommends checking that your crib conforms to safety standards and is placed away from windows and heaters. Use a new, firm mattress and stay away from mattress toppers.
Dr. James McKenna, Authority on Mother-Infant Cosleeping
Dr. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping in relation to breastfeeding and SIDS. He ran the Mother Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at University of Notre Dame and teaches, lectures and has published over 139 refereed scientific articles in diverse medical and anthropological journals on co-sleeping, breastfeeding, evolutionary medicine and SIDS.
In his book, Safe Infant Sleep, McKenna talks about our Co-Sleeper bassinets specifically and offers our products as a safe separate-surface co-sleeping option. He also cites Arm’s Reach specifically for preemies: “Some co-sleeping devices like the Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper bassinet have the added advantage of providing space to keep medical equipment and other items needed for preemie care.”
Erin Sears, Wellness Coach
Erin Sears is the daughter of Dr. William Sears and a certified health coach, yoga teacher, group exercise instructor, and co-founder of the Transform 5 healthy living plan. Whether It’s through music or health coaching, she has devoted her life to helping others find their joy and thrive experiencing the best version of themselves.
As a new mother, she shares her personal tips like growing into her own as a mom and trying to find what works for her new family. She also shares that not every baby needs the same thing, and while she was extremely grateful to have amazingly helpful advice, she’s not sure all the tips and tricks were what she needed at the time. Sears explains, “Mama always knows best, no matter who the grandparents are.”
More tips from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)
A firm surface is best for babies. Make sure that the surface does not indent when the baby is lying on it. Also make sure that there are no large gaps between the mattress and sides of the crib. As a rule of thumb, there you shouldn’t be able to slip more than two fingers down the sides between the mattress and crib.
Don’t put plush toys, bumpers, blankets or anything else in the area where a baby is sleeping. These items can put your little one at risk of suffocation, strangulation and entrapment. New parents can also try swaddling their baby which mimics the snugness of the womb and can help babies sleep better. Make sure that the swaddle isn’t too tight and that the baby can move their hips. This will help prevent hip dysplasia.