Better Sleep Month: Remembering the ABCs of Sleep

As a soon-to-be second time mom with a toddler that is a terrible sleeper – and in honor of better sleep month – there is no better time to talk about safe sleep for babies. I have seen all the information on various sleep techniques to ensure that your baby is sleeping, but working in the medical community I tend to turn to those I consider to be the experts: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the ABC’s of sleep. 

The ABC’s of Sleep

A is for alone. The AAP recommends that your infant always sleep alone in their own safety approved crib with all blankets, pillows, bumpers, and toys completely removed from the crib. I remember as a new mom all the beautiful blankets we received from loved ones. They were extremely handy when our little guy was having tummy time. Worried about keeping your baby warm at night without the use of a blanket, consider a wearable blanket or other sleeper to avoid the risk of overheating. 

B is for Back. An Infant that is always placed on their stomach to sleep has a five times greater risk of dying. That is a terrifying statistic. When my son started rolling over in his sleep from his back to his tummy, that statistic was the one that would keep me up at night. My doctor reassured me that if he could roll over on his own I didn’t need to re-position him on to his back. There were many nights that I would sit holding the monitor watching for any small signs to reassure me that he was still alright. 

C is for in a Crib. Place your baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and well-fitting sheets.  The safest place for an infant to sleep is in the same room as their parents, but in a crib near your bed, but not in your bed. I remember after bringing my son home from the hospital I could not imagine him sleeping anywhere but in the room with me. How on earth was I ever going to get any sleep if I had to get up every two hours for feedings with him in a separate room? This is where a safety-approved crib (or bassinet in our case) placed near your bed comes in. Having my baby in the same room reassured me that he was safe and ensured that I didn’t sleep through a feeding from sheer exhaustion. 

The AAP updated their safe sleep recommendations in 2016 to include 19 recommendations, including the ABC’s of sleep, to view the full report visit the AAP website.  These recommendations allow parents to make an educated choice about how to ensure safe sleep for their child while understanding that some recommendations maybe more difficult than others to follow. 

Now if only these recommendations would ensure that we teach my little one on the way how to sleep through the night, something we got completely wrong with my toddler!   

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