Did you know that safe sleep practices change as your baby grows?
And, that some of the most popular sleepwear products–ironically designed to help your baby sleep–can become dangerous during sleep training? Yep, both are true. This week, we’re sharing the top 3 not-so-obvious crib safety hazards we see (and remedy) all the time.
You probably already know safe sleep basics, but just in case, here’s the short version: Put your baby down face up, in an empty crib with a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet – no blankets, pillows, toys, sleep positioners, or crib bumpers.
At around 12 weeks, or when your baby starts trying to break out of the swaddle or trying to roll, safe sleep becomes a lot more nuanced. During sleep training, for example, there are a few crucial safety concerns you may need to address. After sleep training, you’ll notice your baby will learn a trick or two. From there, you’ll need to make some more safety adjustments before your baby learns to sit, stand and climb.
When it comes to your baby’s safety, we won’t take any risks. Your baby’s safety is why we don’t sell sleep training books or online programs, and will never give you a DIY sleep training plan. We know from over a decade of working with sleep-challenged families that none of the books or plans are one-size-fits-all. More importantly, they can’t prevent safety issues, or help you make split-second decisions when something unexpected comes up. If we’re helping you sleep train your baby in your home (in person or virtually), we will see and correct the safety issues that might not even be on your radar. And when the unexpected happens*, we help you make informed decisions about when and how to intervene.
*For example, the 6 month old baby we recently worked with who knew how to roll both directions, but started gagging and choking on his back every single time we put him down. (Now he’s safe and sleeping all the way through the night!)
With that being said, here are our top 3 tips for safe sleep training:
1. Lower the crib and ditch the mobile
Before sleep training, you do all the things you normally do to help your baby fall asleep and PRAY that they stay asleep after you gently lower them into the crib (and ninja out of the room!). You probably have the crib on the highest setting so it’s easier to transfer them without tears. For sleep training though, even if your baby doesn’t roll or sit up yet, lower the crib to the next setting, and get rid of the mobile because your baby will be able to sit and reach sooner than you think!
2. Move everything out of your baby’s reach.
And I mean everything; loose cables, curtains, lamps, clocks, and white noise machines should all be well away from your child’s crib. Baby monitors included, those should be safely secured to a wall or flat surface at least 5 feet away from your baby.
3. Choose safe sleepwear.
What your baby wears for sleep training is crucial for their safety. Swaddles are safe for newborns, but not for sleep training. If your baby’s ready to roll, trust me on this: do NOT dress your baby in transitional sleepwear like the Merlin’s Magic sleep suit or any weighted sleep products, including the Nested Bean Zen Sack. If your older baby or toddler is tall, loves to climb or there’s any risk of jumping out of their crib, a Halo sleep sack should prevent little legs from climbing over the rail. Definitely no crib bumper for this age too! We know some clever little monkeys who learned to use them for leverage!
If you’re ready for expert sleep training support tailored for your baby, schedule a call so that we can learn more about you and how we can help.
Hi, I’m Natalie, founder of Mommywise. I’m a Brooklyn mom of two (now) teenagers, PPD survivor, still humbled by the early years of parenting. I started this blog in 2004 as a way to help other parents who felt as dark and lonely as I felt to feel less shame, normalize the feelings of not loving parenthood, and raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders. I’m passionately committed to helping new parents feel more joy, offering sustainable employment for women and mothers, and contributing to positive change in the world.