Safe sleep for babies is such an important topic which is why we teach it as part of our FREE Baby Care Workshop for first-time expectant parents.
Babies, for the first 6 months should be put to sleep on their back on a firm mattress in their own bassinet or Moses basket in your room. The ideal temperature of the room is around 68-69 degrees, just be sure that you’re not using too many blankets if the air temperature is on the warmer side. In our FREE Workshop, we’ll also teach you how to measure and help control your baby’s temperature. Baby’s get cold very quickly, so if you’re trying to cool your room down make sure not to place your baby in front of an open window or fan.
We advise dressing your baby in sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket which is designed to keep them warm without the need for loose blankets in the sleeping area. For sleep, you could use a onesie and sleepsack. Pants can be used, but are not necessary for sleep. If using a microfleece sleep sack, a footed pyjama may be too heavy during the warmer months. I would consider this in cooler seasons, but if the room temperature is consistent, just a onesie and fleece sleepsack should suffice. Should baby’s legs feel cold inside the sleepsack once the baby wakes, then you could add the pants or footed pyjama, but fleece is such a warm fabric, that it will usually be enough.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Research has consistently shown that infants who overheat are at increased risk for SIDS. Further research has made it clear that there is no evidence that swaddling reduces the risk of SIDS. In fact, swaddling can increase the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved new Federal Safety Standards for Bassinets and Cradles in 2013. These new federally mandated standards were implemented to improve the safety of bassinets and cradles. In the new mandate, CPSC defines a safe bassinet/cradle as a small bed designed primarily for sleeping infants, supported by free-standing legs, a stationary frame or stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or swing relative to a stationary base. CPSC also discourages the use of bassinets beyond 5 months of age or when a child can push up on hands and knees.
Swaddle infants securely to prevent unwrapping of swaddling material. Unravelled swaddle garments pose a strangulation and suffocation risk to babies. Zipper swaddles decrease the risk of the swaddle coming undone but increase the risk of overheating your baby. Research on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) consistently reveals that overheated infants are at increased risk for this phenomena. Also, a detached zipper presents a choking hazard to babies. According to the Safe Sleep Initiative, all babies should be placed on their back to sleep but a swaddled infant placed on its tummy for sleep is at an even higher risk for SIDS. For this reason, swaddling practices should be discontinued the moment your baby shows attempts at rolling over.