This post was most recently updated on November 29th, 2019
Many new parents or about-to-be parents often ask me whether a newborn should sleep in a crib. I will answer this right away: yes, it is completely safe to put a newborn in a crib. You can also use a bassinet or play yard but my personal recommendation would be a crib.
There’s no striking difference between a bassinet and a crib in terms of safety or construction. However, a bassinet is smaller and has a limited weight capacity. A crib, on the other hand, is more spacious and has a bigger weight capacity. Your newborn baby can peacefully sleep in a crib till grows up to be a toddler. So you see, it’s more comfortable and also saves a lot of money.
However, your biggest concern right now is how safe is a crib for a newborn. I’m sure you have heard about the horrific stories about crib deaths or SIDS. You are obviously worried. But I can assure you that as long as you ensure a safe sleeping environment, there’s nothing to panic about.
Newborn in A Crib: The Importance of Ensuring Safe Sleep
There’s nothing more fulfilling than taking care of a newborn angel. But they are a lot of hard work too. I had twins, so my responsibilities were double. Ensuring safe sleep for your newborn should be at the top of your priority list right now.
SIDS occurs mainly due to physical factors like low birth weight, respiratory infection or brain defect. However, we can’t ignore the fact that an unsafe crib set up and wrong sleeping position drastically increase the risk.
Keep These Rules in Mind While Putting a Newborn in a Crib: Safety Guidelines
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a couple of safe sleeping guidelines for newborns sleeping in a crib. Before you buy a new crib and put your infant in it, make sure to learn the following guidelines by heart:
- No Bed Sharing: Sharing bed or bunk bed with a newborn not recommended as it increases the risk of strangulation and suffocation, says American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Keep your baby in your room for the first 6 months of his life or longer if you wish to. But make sure to arrange a separate sleeping accommodation for him.
Ideally, the infant’s crib should be right by your bedside during the nighttime. This has many benefits-
- It will help you keep an eye on your baby all night.
- You can soothe him or her immediately when he wakes up crying at midnight, helping both you and the baby get more sleep time.
- Babies will fall asleep faster in the parent’s physical proximity.
- Safety Certification: No matter which crib model you buy, it must follow the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC). Do not use an old crib or an outdated model as it might not follow the recently updated safety rules.
- Crib Setup for a Newborn: The surface of the crib mattress must be flat and firm, covered with a tightly tucked-in sheet. There should be no gap between the crib frame and the mattress.
Choose a mattress size by carefully measuring the dimension of your crib. Also, purchase a mattress specially designed for newborns and avoid memory foam mattresses as they are too soft.
- Keep the Crib Uncluttered: Make sure there’s no small toy, stuffed toy extra pillow, extra blanket, crib bumpers, sleep positioners or baby monitor wires in the sleeping area. This is to help your little angel avoid choking and strangulation hazard
- Correct Sleeping Position: Babies should always lie on their back and never on their side or stomach. Sleeping on the stomach is the worst sleeping position even for adults, let alone a newborn kid! However, babies learn to roll sideways after 3-6 months. When they learn to sleep in that position on their own, let them happily snooze off that way.
- Check the Temperature: Overheating the baby can be dangerous. Don’t cover your munchkin with a thick quilt at night. Use a sleeping sack instead. One-piece sleepers are the best for naptime. If you don’t have it, just make sure he or she is not wearing more than one layer of cloth while sleeping.
You can take all the precautions in the world and still not be fully satisfied. I know this for a fact because I have gone through the things you are going through right now. You are nervous about your newborn’s sleeping arrangement and that’s totally justified.
We should really be extra cautious during the first few days of a child’s life. Be it the set up of his crib, his nap-time clothing or room temperature- keep a close eye on everything. I hope you have a wonderful parenting life ahead. And thanks for reading!