Best sleep arrangements for your baby

As a mum your mind will be consumed with questions about sleep:  When will my baby next sleep or when will she wake and how long will she sleep? Of course added to that will be the practical questions around sleep:

Where should my baby sleep?

Your baby should sleep wherever you are most likely to sleep well. If you sleep best with your baby in your room, next to your bed, keep her there. If you sleep best without those little baby noises, let her have her own room. We do not recommend having your baby in your bed if you have duvets or loose blankets, are on pain killers or drink alcohol, due to safety issues.

Before 4 months old it will make no difference to your baby where she sleeps. Thereafter your baby will develop expectations around where she is put to sleep but if those match your expectations you will not have a problem. If you want your toddler to sleep in her own room, it will be easier to move her by 6 months of age than older as she will develop expectations around where she sleeps.

What must my baby wear while asleep?

Your baby should wear one layer more than you are wearing to bed – for instance if you are wearing pajamas; she should have a vest with her pajamas. Preferably stick to tighter fitting bed clothes such as a baby grow or sleep suit as loose pajamas have the risk of coming loose and suffocating your toddler.

Always use a sleeping bag instead of blankets or duvets as these loose covers carry a suffocation risk.

Must the room be quiet or is a bit of noise a good thing?

Your baby’s sleep space must be calming to ensure she is soothed and settled at bedtime. Although newborns can sleep with lots of noise, they do best in the long run if their sleep space is quieter and soothing. However white noise that is played softly in the background or rhythmical lullabies can be really soothing for sleep and may help newborns and older babies sleep better.

What is the best temperature for my baby’s room?

Your baby’s room temperature should not be cooler than 19 degrees Celsius and if it is, warm it up with a humidifier or heater. Do not overheat your baby’s room as this increases the risk of SIDS. If the room is over 22 degrees Celsius, cool the room with a fan and dress your baby in a vest only with a thin sleeping bag.

What should my baby sleep in?

A newborn crib or Moses basket is great for the early days. From about six weeks to three months (depending on how long your baby is) you will want to move her into a cot. Make sure the bars of the cot are no wider than the diameter of a can of coke otherwise your baby’s limbs and head may fit through. Keep your baby in a cot until two years old (at least).

What can be in the cot while my baby sleeps?

Your baby’s cot must have no toys or large blankets as these pose a suffocation risk. Dress your baby in a sleeping bag and let her have her favourite sleep toy or small sleep blanky only. Do not have mobiles over your baby’s cot, it is his sleep space.

What position must my baby sleep in?

Placing your baby on her tummy to sleep is not advised, because this position has been linked to an increased risk of SIDS (Cot death). Place your baby on her back or side. If she sleeps on her side, maintain her position by using wedges or other positioning systems.

By 6 months old your baby will start to roll onto her tummy and may choose this position for sleep. Do not wake her to reposition her. After a year the risk of SIDS drops significantly.

By Meg Faure