By Brittney Stefanic
As a first time mom, I am a worry wart.
I remember the first time my son slept through the night. I slept like crap.
Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with my overly engorged chest or the fact that I was laying next to my snoring husband.
I slept like crap for the first year of my son’s life because I was always so worried that something would happen to him in his sleep.
What if his Zipadee-Zip + PJ combo left him too hot and he overheated? What if he didn’t get enough to eat in the hours prior to bedtime and his blood sugar dropped? What if he rolled over and was so sleepy that he forgot to lift up his head to take a breath? What if he needed me in the night, but I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear his struggle?
I was that worried about safe sleep for my baby, even though his sleep space was what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended: he was in an empty crib with a fitted sheet over an approved mattress. We always laid him down on his back and there was nothing loose in his crib.
Heck, he will be three in June and still wears a Flying Squirrel because he still doesn't have a blanket in his space. I am a worried sleeper.
Studying and researching safe sleep for babies helped me to be more confident and less scared about it, so I suggest to all the moms overwhelmed by those stressful feelings to invest their time learning about safe sleep for babies and the best practices. Also, remember to avoid worrying too much. Sometimes it’s OK to take a deep breath and even ignore your baby’s cry. That’s right: a study by Harvard Medical School says that is perfectly fine to let your baby cry at night. It’s not only okay, it may potentially lead to more sleep for the baby in the long term.
I’ve been there and I know how stressful it can be being a first time mom, and the best way to get more confident and feel more in control is to study, read, and listen to doctors and experts.
Do Your Research to Ensure Safe Sleep for the Baby
The best way to get more confident and feel more in control is to study, read, and listen to doctors and experts.
I can’t even imagine the fear racing through my heart or the constant rumblings of my mind if he had been sleeping in a “non-recommended” space. What if he had become dependent on a Rock ‘n Play? What if he needed a Dock-A-Tot to sleep in? What if he would have only slept while being held by me in a zombie state on the couch?
As a first time mom, I was constantly worried about the safe sleep of my kiddo, and now I worry about the safe sleep of little ones that I work with every day.
The lifestyle of each mom is different but the rules to follow for safe baby sleep are the same everywhere in the world. Things like putting a baby in a crib, alone; or not putting toys and other objects within reach when it’s nap time are essential to know. We have plenty of blogs related to safe sleep for babies, so…no excuses!
I’ve supported hundreds of families all over the world in making behavioral changes to get better sleep. I help “veteran moms” transition babies, toddlers, and children from their beds when they are done with co-sleeping. I help twin moms get their little ones sleeping in their own room once they are too big for the bassinets. I help parents when their 5 month old no longer fits in the Rock ‘n play. And in all of these cases, I practice safe sleep.
I will not work with you if you demand that your baby sleep in a Dock-A-Tot. I will not work with you if you are unwilling to give up the Rock ‘n Play. I will not work with you if you refuse to get your baby out of your bed.
This isn’t me being a picky business owner, this is me being an educated and cautious mom. I would never want to recommend a sleep environment that wasn’t safe for your family.
Sleep safety will always come first to me as a mom, friend, and a sleep consultant.
This concept will never be stressed enough, and it’s one of the values I share with Sleeping Baby, and also what makes Sleeping Baby so loved by their customers.
You Do You, Mama. But Safe Sleep for Your Baby Comes First
Learning about the ABC’s of safe sleep, and what is recommended by the doctors is an act of responsibility and love to your little one.
I’m all about the “you do you” parenting movement.
If you want to breastfeed, bottle feed, pump, formula feed or combine all of the above, great.
If you want to work from home, work at an office, or stay at home with the babes, great.
If you want to parent with discipline or choose positivity, great.
Unless it comes to sleep: if you want to use a non-recommended sleeping product or placement, I will tell you exactly how I feel.
It’s not that I am judging you. It’s not that I am shaming you. It’s that I am educating you because that is my job. This is a job that I take very seriously because the safety of your family depends on it.
Safe sleep is not something that I am willing to back down on especially when there are products on the market that are being sold despite the risk they carry. This isn’t a scare tactic but rather a chance for education. Learning about the ABC’s of safe sleep, and what is recommended by the doctors is an act of responsibility and love to your little one.
8 Things You Can Do to Promote Safe Sleep for Your Baby Starting Tonight
- Give your babe lots of tummy time practice to strengthen their neck. You can make this fun and interactive by getting down on the floor with them, enticing them with bells, books, mirrors and new noises.
- Make sure that there are no loose items in their crib or bassinet. This includes blankets, bears, bunnies, and bumpers.
- Set the thermostat of your house between 68 and 72 degrees to ensure proper temperature regulation during the night.
- Always lay your baby down on their back to sleep.
- Use a properly fitted sheet on the bassinet or crib mattress.
- If you are using a sleep aid product such as a Rock ‘n Play, Dock-A-Tot or swing, please note that these are NOT recommended for prolonged sleep periods or for unattended situations. These products are intended to be a space to lay baby when you are cooking dinner, doing a workout or taking a shower, yet nearby and able to check on them.
- Take some steps towards teaching sleep independence to your little one so they are not dependent on outside props or products for sleep. A simple Pinterest search will pull up different sleep teaching techniques if you are in DIY mode. And if you want a customized plan, unlimited support and expert advice, you know where to reach me!
- Consider a transitional item such as a Zipadee-Zip to help the baby feel more secure at night while still being able to roll around and get comfortable.
We have a super cute collection all about comfort and safety!
You and your baby are gonna love it!
Brittney Stefanic is a whole-family certified sleep consultant. She is safe sleep advocate and believes in the power of educating families in the area of sleep safety. Brittney loves to help families exceed their sleep goals through her customized sleep plans and “you’ve got me in your back pocket” support. You can follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook @brittneystefanicsleep for access to her free sleep tips and tricks and other opportunities for sleep Q&A sessions.
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