Safe Sleep for Babies

SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) is when a baby dies unexpectedly in their sleep. Some SUID may be caused by suffocation in an unsafe sleep environment, and some are SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) - when a thorough investigation does not find a definite cause.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines for safe sleep in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

While it is impossible to eliminate all risk, the AAP recommends:

  • Breastfeed as much, and for as long, as possible.
  • Have your baby sleep in your room, but not in the same bed.
  • Place your baby to sleep on a firm surface on their back and keep soft objects out of the sleep area, including pillows, comforters and bumper pads.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot; use a sleep bag rather than loose blankets.
  • Keep your baby away from cigarette and other smoke.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap and bed times once breastfeeding is going well and baby is 3 - 4 weeks old.
  • Have your baby receive immunizations.
  • Do not use cardiorespiratory monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS, or any special products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Recommendations to avoid bed sharing have the potential to interfere with breastfeeding. Babies wake at night to feed, or for comfort, and mothers are tired. When a baby wakes at night, mothers often find it convenient to bring their baby into their bed so everyone gets more sleep.

What is a parent to do?

Know what the safe sleep guidelines are so that you and your baby can get the sleep that you both need in a manner that is as safe as possible. It is impossible to eliminate all risks for your baby.

What All Parents Should Know:

  • BREASTFEED if at all possible.
  • Have your baby sleep in your room.
  • If you formula feed, smoke, drink alcohol, or use prescription pain medications or street drugs, do NOT share your bed with your baby.
    NEVER sleep with your baby on a sofa or in a recliner.
  • Do not swaddle your baby if they are in bed with you, only lay a swaddled baby on their back, and once your baby is trying to roll over to his or her stomach, do not swaddle your baby. You may want to transition your baby to a sleep bag with their arms free.