The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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5 Give your baby a safe sleeping environment. Place Baby to sleep on a firm surface. Don’t let her sleep on fluffy comforters, beanbags, cushions, or any other cushy surface that could obstruct her breathing passages. Keep pillows and plush toys out of her reach during sleep.
Also, don’t let her get too warm. Recent research from New Zealand shows that overheating from too much clothing, heavy bedding or a room that’s too hot has a detrimental effect on breathing and increases the risk of SIDS, especially for a baby who has a cold or infection. Signs of overheating are sweating, damp hair, heat rash, rapid breathing, restlessness and sometimes fever.
Whether sleeping with your baby can lower the risk of SIDS or not is currently a subject of debate. I personally believe that sleep-sharing does lower the risk of SIDS because the mother acts as a “breathing pacemaker” when sleeping next to her baby, especially during the vulnerable early months of life when the baby’s self-start breathing mechanism is immature. Also, because of a mother’s sensitivity when sleeping so close to her baby, she would be more likely to awaken if her baby’s well-being were threatened.
However, sleeping arrangements are a highly personal decision. If you do decide to sleep with Baby, do it safely. Do not sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Don’t fall asleep with the baby on a couch, a free-floating waterbed, a beanbag or similar “sinky” surface.
Above all, don’t let the fear of SIDS ruin the enjoyment of your new baby. Follow as much of this risk-lowering advice as befits your family, and then sit back and enjoy your life together.