Sleep is crucial for physical health and emotional well-being—and the same is true for your baby. When caring for an infant, setting up a safe sleep environment is critical. Where your baby sleeps, the baby’s crib or bed, type of mattress, and sleeping position all matter. Following these best practices lowers your baby’s risk of injury or accidental suffocation.
Know your ABCs
Parents can take steps to ensure their baby has a safe sleeping environment by following the ABCs of safe sleep—alone on their back in their crib. Michelle Beebe, MPH, BSN, CCE, manager of Perinatal Outreach for Kettering Health Network, shares some additional guidelines for safe sleep best practices.
Kettering Health Network is committed to making sure every baby sleeps safely by training nurses to model safe sleep before babies leave the hospital and educating parents about the importance of safe sleep. Kettering Health Network is also teaming up with the Everyone Reach One Infant Mortality Task Force to reduce the number of babies who die before their first birthday.
The importance of tummy time
While babies should always be put to sleep on their backs, spending time in other positions is important for their growth and development. Most simply defined, tummy time refers to whenever the baby is off their back. “Tummy time doesn’t have to be hard,” says Beebe. “Play with the baby on their tummy for short periods, such as 3-5 minutes, three times a day.”
Regular supervised tummy time helps to prevent flat spots on the back of the head. It also helps the baby to strengthen their head and neck muscles and improves balance and mobility. “There are lots of ways to do tummy time,” Beebe shares. “You can put the baby on your chest and let them do a little push-up or burp them across your lap. Tummy time helps them build coordination so they can roll over, crawl, reach, and play.”
Where can I learn more?
Kettering Health Network holds multiple childbirth education classes to help parents prepare to care for their baby. Whether a first-time parent or not, Beebe notes that these classes are a valuable resource. “All of us have access to Google,” Beebe says, “But when you go participate in a class, you have an expert right there. You can engage in conversations and get your questions answered.”
In particular, the Baby Care class discusses developmental milestones and the Safety and CPR class provides a significant amount of safety information that new parents may not be aware of. Both classes are three-hour, standalone courses.
To sign up for any childbirth education classes, click here.