The medical community collectively agrees that sleeping on your side whilst pregnant is the safest and probably the most comfortable position. They go on to indicate that sleeping on your stomach is safe during the first trimester. After this it is likely to be too uncomfortable for you and will not be a position you will gravitate to. It is also best to avoid falling asleep whilst lying on your back after your first trimester as this can impact your blood flow resulting in low blood pressure and breathing difficulties. There are also potential risks to your baby.
A room which is between 20℃ and 22℃ has proven to be the safest temperature and assists with keeping your baby’s body temperature within the WHO recommended range of 36.5℃ to 37.5℃. Babies regulate their body temperature through their heads which means that they are at a higher risk of overheating as well as losing body heat too fast and becoming too cold. This is because their heads are much larger in proportion to their body leaving a larger surface area exposed. By checking that your baby’s room temperature is comfortable, you reduce the risk of them overheating or becoming too cold.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is on their own sleep surface, in the same room as you, for at least the first six months. The safest way for your baby to sleep is flat on their back on a firm mattress with no loose items in the cot. This includes things such as duvets, pillows, blankets, cot bumpers, mosquito nets and stuffed animals. All of these items pose a potential risk for causing suffocation, entanglement and strangulation. Keeping the cot empty ensures that your baby cannot accidentally roll into something or pull something over their face.
Container Baby Syndrome (CBS), also referred to as Bucket Baby, is the term used to describe a group of physical and developmental concerns and delays created as a result of a baby spending too much time restricted in a baby device or container. The extended periods of time spent in these devices leaves fewer opportunities available for tummy time and floor play. In order to strengthen the necessary systems needed for normal development, a baby needs to be able to engage in and explore their environment.
The research indicates that it is completely safe for your baby to sleep with a dummy in their mouth when it is used properly. Using a dummy is linked to a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is the most common cause of death in babies between 1 month and a year of age. Using a dummy can reduce this risk by almost half especially in babies under the age of 4 months. The American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) supports the use of a dummy whilst sleeping, even if the dummy falls out after the infant has fallen asleep.