There's so much to learn when you bring a new baby home. And the chief lesson has to do with how to keep your little one safe while he or she sleeps. Now, even if you're an experienced parent, it's time to brush up because the official guidelines for keeping infants safe while sleeping have evolved. On October 24, 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated information for helping parents avoid sudden unexpected infant death.
For the most part, the new guidelines build on those that you know: baby is to be put to sleep on his or her back in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress that's free of blankets, pillows, bumpers, toys, or other soft objects for the first year.
Babies are not to sleep in the bed with the parents but the new regulations say they should sleep in the parents' room for at least the first six months.
Breastfeeding is recommended. And finally the AAP acknowledges the reality of night feeds with tips for groggy moms: It's safer to feed baby in bed rather than a sofa or chair just in case you doze off briefly (while making sure your bed meets the guidelines and is free of items that could obstruct the baby's breathing). "We know that parents may be overwhelmed with a new baby in the home, and we want to provide them with clear and simple guidance on how and where to put their infant to sleep," said Dr. Rachel Moon, lead author of the report, according to ABC News. "Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person. We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous."
Other AAP recommendations include:
For more information on juvenile products marketed for babies, skin-to-skin contact and how to avoid overheating, refer to the full safe sleep guidelines here.
And, of course, talk to your doctor if you have questions.