Merit Health Wesley offers tips to safely put babies down for rest

( The following is a press release from Merit Health Wesley.  Visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/Pages/default.aspx for more details. )

Teaching parents the safe way to put their infant down for sleeping is one of the most important ways we can care for babies, long after their have left our care at the hospital. During a new mom's stay, Merit Health Wesley's Birth Center staff members teach parents about safe sleep and give parents the tools they need to confidently take care of their babies once they get home. This includes our gift to each new baby, a HALO Sleep Sack, which features fabric flaps that swaddle the baby's arms to the body but allow leg movement and remove the danger of loose blankets.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following practices for keeping your baby healthy and creating a safe sleep environment:
•    Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
•    Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
•    The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
•    Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
•    Wedges and positioners should not be used.
•    Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
•    Don't smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
•    Breastfeeding is recommended.
•    Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
•    Avoid covering the infant's head or overheating.
•    Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
•    Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
•    Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

Everyone who may come into contact with a baby around his or her sleep time should be aware of these practices. The Birth Center staff encourages parents to share the techniques they learn with all siblings, extended family members, sitters and anyone who may be around their baby during sleep time.