Bringing home baby is just the first of many new challenges for new parents. The second challenge? Sleep. For the parents the challenge can be not getting enough, for the baby it's a question of sleeping safely. In these first months of life there are a few tips to ensure everyone has a good night's rest
"She's kind of amazing!" Laughed Amber Bachtell.
Like most new moms, Amber is over the moon with her three-month old daughter Alexis. And what parent wouldn't be pleased having a super sleeper? At just two-weeks old, Alexis has slept 12 hours every night.
"My pediatrician is probably annoyed by me because I do call all the time and her sleeping 12 hours was one of things, but she said if she's gaining weight that's perfect. But I still get up in the middle of the night to check on her because you just never know." Said Bachtell.
Sleep is extremely important for growing babies, but with many new parents the crib is not always the safest environment. Following the three steps of safe sleep can make all the difference. It starts with always laying baby on their back.
"You want to place the baby in their crib on their back to sleep we never want to place baby on their side because they're likely to be able to roll over and we know that their side and tummy is not the best position for sleep in order to prevent SIDS." Said Lauri Finnegan, the Nurse Supervisor at Avera Mckennan Children's Hospital.
Step Two is making sure that baby is sleeping on a firm flat surface. Whether that's a traditional crib or a pack and play bassinet, an uneven surface like a couch can allow baby to roll over and into a position where they can't breathe.
"If baby is placed on the couch there's the possibility that their face can get up against that soft cushion area or even roll into the couch when you don't anticipate it because couches aren't a flat surface." Said Finnegan.
Things like 'Boppy Pillows' are good for when baby is awake but not for them to nap in. Which leads to Step Three: keep the crib clear. That means no toys, no stuffed animals, or even blankets.
"Baby can possibly have issues with suffocation when the blanket comes up over there airway or if they are on their side that blanket can roll in and cause suffocation as well." Said Finnegan.
A cooler environment is actually better for baby; but if you're worried about them getting too cold, a sleep sack or swaddler is the safest option.
For many sleep deprived parents it can be hard to follow every step completely. Even with Alexis sleeping 12 hours a night, Amber says there can be difficult times.
"I was overtired and my husband is amazing and he did a very good job helping me but it would be easy to be able to just say if this is how they're comfortable and they're already sleeping I don't want to move them but knowing what's best for them you, to need to." Said Bachtell.
For Amber, these tips are not just for her household. Whether it's the grandparents or at daycare, she makes sure anyone watching Alexis knows the rules of safe sleep.
"I'm one of those moms that are in there with my sleep sack saying I don't want my baby in a blanket, I want them on their back and just making sure that everyone's aware that for the safety of her." Said Bachtell.
Safe sleep habits are something every parent should pass along. Because just knowing your child is sleeping safely, allows you to sleep soundly.
Another thing for new parents to remember is to not bring baby into bed with them. Sometimes it may be the only thing that can console a child but it is not the safest option. For more information about safe sleep habits just call 877-AT-AVERA.