You want to keep your baby safe when she sleeps. Most babies are healthy and have no problems when sleeping. But sometimes babies die in their sleep. This is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death. Doctors have not found out what causes SIDS.
Research shows that babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die from SIDS. If your baby has a health problem, your doctor may tell you to put her in another position. Otherwise, always put your baby to sleep on her back.
Other factors in lowering the danger of SIDS are:
Breastfeeding–Your breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. Breast milk helps protect your baby from many illnesses, as well as SIDS.
Smoke-free environment–Don’t smoke around your baby. Don’t take her around others who smoke. Babies in smoke-free homes have fewer colds and infections.
Closeness–Keep your sleeping baby nearby. It’s good for your baby to learn to sleep in her own crib. Be sure you can hear her if she cries or is in distress.
Bedding–Be sure your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress. Don’t put your baby to sleep on soft or fluffy things, such as a pillow, quilt or waterbed. Keep stuffed animals out of the crib at sleep time.
Temperature–Make sure your baby is warm but not too hot.
Doctor visits–Take your baby in for her regular checkups. Any time your baby seems sick or has trouble breathing, take her to the doctor or clinic.
Breast Milk Is Best for Your Baby
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It is the only food your baby needs during her first six months. A baby is not ready for other foods, except formula, during the first few months of life.
A breastfed baby usually doesn’t need water. However, you may give her water if the weather is hot and your home is not air-conditioned. Don’t add sugar or honey to the water. Don’t give flavored drinks or soda pop to your baby. Don’t give fruit juice to a newborn baby.
Breast milk is best for your baby’s health. Breastfed babies don’t get sick as often, and they usually don’t have as many allergies. They may even be smarter! Also, breastfeeding seems to protect mothers from certain types of health problems.
Mothers often find that breast milk is the easiest way to feed their babies. Also, there is no cost.
You don’t have to wash and sterilize bottles and nipples when you breastfeed. This leaves more time for other things. Breastfeeding your baby can even help you lose some of the weight you gained when you were pregnant. Breastfeeding can be a pleasing experience for baby and mom.