Safe and comfortable sleeping tips for newborn - 5 years
Sleep can be an all consuming element in your life when you have a baby. At ergoPouch we are obsessed with sleep and we can empathise that it may seem overwhelming to wonder if all elements are aligned for a safe & comfortable sleep for your little one. Introducing our sleep-easy checklist to help demystify all the information out there!
Safe, Snug and Secure Fit
Your baby needs to stay warm while sleeping, without overheating. For adults, we use blankets and pillows to be comfortable and warm in sleep, but such loose bedding can be a suffocation hazard for children under 2 years. This includes loose blankets, pillows and cot bumpers. Always dress your baby in an age and size appropriate swaddle or sleeping bag for safe sleep, with close-fitting pyjama’s or layers underneath.
Your baby's sleeping bag should be slim fitting on the body, to avoid the danger of loose fabrics around their face. A baby who does not have the coordination or muscle tone to move a piece of fabric from their face is at an increase risk of SIDS.
Make sure your baby's sleepwear is fitted around the neck hole, has child-safe mechanisms (such as zips and press studs), and does not restrict their movement in a way that is dangerous (e.g. a rolling babies arms should not be contained).
Breathable Fabrics and Healthy Skin
We know babies and children sleep better in natural fibres for the simple reason that they improve breathability and keep your little one’s body at an even temperature, resulting in a safe and comfortable sleep for your mini. All ergoPouch sleepwear is TOG rated and made from breathable, natural fibres including organic cotton and bamboo.
Sleepwear that is filled with synthetic fibres (such as polyester) will make your child overheat, sweat, and may frequently wake them up throughout the night. Natural fibres such as cotton are the BEST choice for sleepwear as they allow children's sensitive skin to breathe, reducing the chance of overheating and encouraging a longer sleep - hooray!
Synthetic fibres and the irritation caused by synthetic fabrics rubbing on sweaty skin can also cause an eczema flare up. For those babes who are prone to skin irritation through eczema, chemicals or other, breathable and organic fabrics will go a long way to keeping your mini's skin smooth and soft.
It’s important to dress your child correctly to accommodate the temperature of their room while they’re sleeping, as their little bodies are not as great at regulating temperature as our adult ones. Choose an appropriate layer (pyjama/onesie) to dress child in underneath their swaddle or sleeping bag. Their back and tummy should feel warm, not too hot or too cold. A baby who’s too warm may have damp hair or be sweaty, flushed and have a fast pulse. In this case, remove a layer of clothing, and you can even try moving your baby to another room that’s a bit cooler.
Often your baby’s feet or hands will actually feel cooler than their core temperature, which is normal! As a baby is developing their circulatory system, their body is giving their vital organs priority when it comes to blood. As babies and children use their extremities to get rid of heat when they feel too hot, don't make the mistake of covering hands and feet during sleep.
TOG rated fabrics are an important tool that helps to take the guesswork out of choosing the right sleeping garment for your baby. As your baby cannot regulate their temperature like adults can, the layers they wear to sleep are integral to ensuring they are at just the right temperature. A TOG is a unit of measurement for insulation and warmth of sleepwear and bedding. Put simply, the lower the TOG rating, the lighter the fabric. The higher the rating, the more padded and insulated it is. A good guide to TOG’s is 1.0TOG and under for spring and summer, and 1.0TGO and over for Autumn/Winter. Never dress your child in a TOG warmer than 4.0 as this can be dangerous for them.
Healthy Body Positioning
Little growing bodies need room to move & grow while they’re sleeping, both for healthy growth and joint development, but also to self soothe. There are four key areas here to consider when choosing sleepwear for your babe.
a) Allows for full chest expansion when breathing
b) Provides enough room for hip mobility and allows babies to move their legs comfortably and adopt ‘frog-leg’ position, to prevent hip dysplasia
c) Allows for natural arm movement for healthy joint development and self-soothing. For swaddled babies who are sleeping arms-in, you should aim to have some natural arm movement whilst still containing the startle reflex
d) For an older toddler, allows for leg movement for comfort and stretching in sleep. ergoPouch’s Sleep Suit Bag or Sleep Onesie are two products that will act as a sleeping bag and blanket alternative, whilst still giving them leg freedom.
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.