Baby sleep safe checklist

Baby sleep safe checklist

Important tips and nursery essentials to ensure safe sleep for your baby.

Did you know? 

Newborn babies can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, but they will wake every couple of hours to feed.

All babies have different sleep routines and it’s essential for parents to ensure that they are following sleep safety precautions.

It is recommended that for the first six months of a baby’s life, she should sleep in her parents’ room. This lets your baby be close enough to hear, smell and sense you. It can also help with baby’s feeding and sleep habits. Always place your baby on their back to sleep, even for naps.

Baby sleep safe checklist

Here are some tips on making baby’s sleep environment healthy and conducive to getting lots of shut-eye.

Baby sleep safe checklist

1. A new mattress 

Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress covered with a cot sheet. Use a cot mattress that is clean, firm, flat (not elevated or tilted), that fits the cot correctly so your baby can’t get trapped in a gap between the mattress and the edge of the cot. The mattress should be new, or if used in good condition (no tears). It should have a removable and washable cover. Do not place any other items into the cot. And keep the cot free of soft objects and anything loose or fluffy.

2. Keep baby close to you 

The safest place for your baby to sleep in the first six months is in a cot in your room.

3. Feet to the foot of the cot 

Baby should be placed sleeping with feet to the foot of the cot, to help prevent baby from wriggling down.

4. Safe room temperature 

It is important that you keep your baby’s room at a safe and comfortable temperature. If baby gets too hot, they are at an increased risk of SIDS. Don’t allow your baby to get too hot. Room temperature should be between 16°C and 20°C. Don’t place baby’s cot near radiators or heaters. The best way to monitor the temperature of the room is to use a room thermometer

5. Safe blankets 

Do not wrap your baby in too many blankets. Cellular blankets are best to use as they are lightweight and have small holes in them, allowing air to circulate, while keeping baby warm. They help to stop your baby from overheating. Overheating is one of the leading risk factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome. Cellular blankets are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Cellular blankets help regulate your baby’s temperature. Covers should come no higher than your baby’s shoulders and should be well tucked in to avoid falling over their face. A sleeveless baby sleeping bag may be used instead of covers, it should be low-tog with no hood and be the correct size for your baby’s age/weight and conform to safety standards.

6. Baby monitor 

A baby monitor is an essential item for the safety of your baby. It gives your little one security, and you the convenience and peace of mind. You can choose from audio baby monitors and video monitors.

Baby sleep safe checklist

Flat spots on baby’s head 

When babies are young, their heads are still very soft. Sleeping on their backs can sometimes make the backs of their skulls a little bit flat over time. This is called positional plagiocephaly. It normally gets better without any medical help by the time babies are 12 months old.

If it’s worrying you, you can gently alternate the tilt of your baby’s head each time you put baby into bed to sleep. But always put babies on their backs to sleep. Then keep them off the back of their heads as much as possible when awake.

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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.


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Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.