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Baby Safety Month: How to Practice Safe Sleep with a Difficult Sleeper

August 31, 2017

In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’re bringing you another post about safe sleep. At Owlet, we advocate the principles of safe sleep as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). But how do you implement safe sleep practices when you’re dealing with a difficult sleeper? Here are three scenarios/suggestions that will hopefully help you help your baby achieve safe sleep.

Scenario #1: Your baby sleeps fine when held, but wakes up as soon as you put her down.
Holding a sleeping newborn is pretty much the best… when it’s not 3:00 in the morning. She loves being held because, as a newborn, she is very sensory and knows what you smell and feel like. And sometimes it’s tough to put your baby down when you’re tired and you know that your baby won’t sleep in her bassinet or crib. While it’s important that your baby gets enough sleep, holding her at night isn’t the safest idea. If you are holding the sleeping baby in your arms in your bed, you may run the risk of falling asleep and exposing your child to an unsafe sleeping environment.

Suggestions: Make your child’s crib feel more “Mom-like.” Try putting your baby in a sleep sack before putting her into her crib. You can cuddle the sleep sack ahead of time so that it has your smell. You can also try to give her a reassuring touch on the stomach to soothe her, but avoid picking her up. Trying a pacifier can also be helpful.

Scenario #2: Your baby is a light sleeper.
If you’re the parent of a light sleeper, you probably find yourself holding your breath and threatening anyone who walks across your creaky wood floor with intense bodily harm. And if someone honks their horn down the street? You might as well give up now.

Suggestions: Try white noise. Whether it’s the fan from your bathroom or an actual white noise machine, the ambient noise can actually help cancel out the louder sounds. Putting her in a sleep sack is another option to try. Make sure the room is dark, and try not to disturb your baby after you lay her down. Having baby in her own room can also be helpful.

Scenario #3: Your baby has trouble sleeping on her back.
It can be frustrating as a parent to see your baby be less content when sleeping on her back, whether she startles herself awake, or just seems to be uncomfortable. But it’s vitally important for your baby’s health.

Suggestions: A recent study has shown that more than half of parents regularly reject three core safe sleep principles, one of which is the “Back to Sleep” principle. Dr. Claire McCarthy of Harvard advises parents to “keep trying” to put their children to sleep on their backs. Though it may result in a rough couple of days, it is definitely worth it. Using a sleep sack and/or a pacifier may also be helpful. Easing her into it can also be effective. Try rocking her to sleep and then putting her in her crib. Consistency is also the key to success.

We hope these suggestions have helped, and wish you all a safe sleep!

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Avatar for Lauren Soderberg

Lauren Soderberg

Wife of one tall drink of water. Mama of two spunky kids. Lover of awkwardly long hashtags and unicorn emojis. And babies, obviously.

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