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How To Safely Swaddle Baby

Photo credit: Sarah Rodenbush, Colgate Mattress Brand Advocate

For new parents, learning to swaddle a baby can seem like a futile effort when the little tike breaks free in only minutes. While nurses make it look easy having mastered their technique, the key is knowing that swaddling is one of the secrets to a happy, calm baby.   

Swaddling is an ancient method for wrapping newborns in a thin blanket or cloth, which resembles the mother’s womb and helps soothe newborns. Swaddling helps prevent baby from flailing their arms and legs, which can potentially cause them to wake up. A swaddle also keeps baby cozy and warm until they can regulate their internal temperature on their own. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that when done correctly, swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote safe sleep. But figuring out how to do it yourself can be a little intimidating, especially when you’re lacking sufficient rest. 

If you plan to swaddle your infant at home, AAP recommends you follow these guidelines to make sure you are doing it safely.

 

Step 1: Find a flat surface.

Spread the blanket out flat in the shape of a diamond, with the top corner folded down. 

 

Step 2: Place baby face-up on the blanket.

Baby’s head should sit above the folded edge of the blanket, and their body should extend straight down toward the bottom corner.

 

Step 3: Straighten baby’s left arm.

Wrap the left corner of the blanket over baby’s body and tuck it between the right arm and the right side of their body. 

 

Step 4: Tuck the right arm down.

Fold the right corner of the blanket over baby’s body and under the left side of their body.

 

Step 5: Secure the blanket.

Loosely twist the bottom of the blanket and tuck it underneath your baby.

 

The swaddle should be snug, but not too tight as babies may develop a problem with their hips.  You should be able to place two to three fingers between your baby’s chest and the blanket, and the blanket should be loose around her hips so she can move her legs freely.

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) it’s important to place your baby on their back every time you put them to sleep.

​Parents should stop swaddling as soon as their baby shows any signs of trying to roll over. Many babies start working on rolling at around 2 months of age. 

When To Buy Baby’s Crib & How To Make Sure It’s Safe

 

Pregnancy can be a confusing time for a first-time mom and the checklist can seem never-ending. Not to mention that you seem to be getting advice from every direction. But, first and foremost, you need to create a safe sleep environment for your baby. 

Although you can use a crib right away with a newborn, some parents choose to use a bassinet initially and then transition their infant to a crib after a few months. However, even if you’re not planning on using a crib immediately, it’s recommended to do your crib research during the second trimester — from four months to six months of your pregnancy. During this window, you have plenty of time to shop and set up the crib well before your due date, while you aren’t sleep deprived with a newborn.  

How long is a crib used for?

Cribs are usually used for the first two to three years of life. Your baby’s going to spend a lot of time in their crib, so make sure you see it as an investment. This means purchasing one that is built to last, includes a warranty and meets industry health standards, like the cribs handcrafted by our friends at Milk Street baby furniture. You’ll know your little one is ready to move into a toddler bed when they are noticeably too big for the crib and can climb out with minimal effort.

What are the important crib safety considerations?

All baby cribs manufactured after 2011 are required to meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. One of these standards is that the date of manufacture must be printed somewhere on the crib, which makes it easy for parents to ensure it’s up to code. 

Here are a few more things new parents should look for in a safe crib:

Side bars: Crib slats or bars should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart. The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests gauging if a soda can would fit through — if so, they’re dangerously far apart. Why? This spacing helps prevent baby from slipping out or getting stuck. Cribs with cutouts on the headboard and footboard should also be avoided for the same reason.

Skip the bumper: The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted the risks posed by bumpers, and there’s no evidence that they make the crib environment safer for baby. 

Sturdiness: Make sure the crib doesn’t wobble when you shake it. If it moves it might have been put together improperly. And if the crib is on wheels, make sure they lock in place.

Corner posts: The height of corner posts should not exceed 1/16 of an inch. Anything taller can catch your child’s clothing. Look for any screws or nails that stick out anywhere on the crib.

The importance of a firm crib mattress: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and First Candle all recommend a firm, snug-fitting sleep surface that reaches every corner of the crib’s frame with no gaps. If more than two fingers fit between the crib and the side of the mattress, the mattress is too small. Mattresses should be dense and not sag under your baby’s weight. 

A good crib mattress is essential to keeping your baby protected and comfortable while sleeping. In fact, carefully selecting your crib mattress is one of the most important things you can do as a new parent. Wait to buy a mattress until after you’ve picked out and purchased a crib, because the proper fit is absolutely essential. 

Bare is best: There should be no toys, stuffed animals, pillows or blankets inside the crib with your baby. The only bedding they’ll need is a fitted sheet that is suitable for the mattress. If your little one seems cold, use a sleep sack to keep baby warm while sleeping without having the risk of loose blankets that might smother baby.

Cords and strings: Keep the crib away from windows, curtains, cords and anything else your little one can pull. Hanging baby mobiles are okay to use as long as they’re kept out of reach.

Deciding on the right crib is a huge decision that you’ll want to start thinking about by the mid-point of your pregnancy. Not only is it the foundation of the nursery, it also keeps your new addition safe as they slumber away.

 

6 Tips To Ensure Baby Has A Restful Sleep

Starting at 3 months of age, many babies (thankfully!) start sleeping for longer stretches at night, although this varies from infant to infant. According to Stanford’s Children Health, two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through much of the night by the six-month mark. 

Babies who follow a consistent bedtime routine go to sleep easier and sleep better throughout the night. Bedtime routines reinforce babies’ natural circadian rhythms, helping teach them the difference between day and night. Later on, a bedtime routine helps little ones to slow down and prepare mentally for bedtime.

 

To help set new parents up for bedtime success, we’ve gathered six top sleep tips to ensure baby’s routine is smooth and effective. 

 

    1. Follow a calming bedtime routine. Overstimulation in the evening can make it difficult for your baby to settle to sleep. Play active games during the day and quiet, peaceful games in the evening, especially toward the end of the routine. Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down. Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
    2. Put baby to bed drowsy, but awake. This will help them associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and clear the crib or bassinet of blankets and other soft, loose items.
    3. Give baby time to settle down. Save baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do. Be peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine. 
    4. Offer a pacifier. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If the pacifier falls out after your baby falls asleep, you don’t have to put it back in.
    5. Keep nighttime care low-key. Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. When they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If your baby needs care or feeding during the night, use dim lights, a soft voice and calm movements. This will let them know it’s time to sleep, not play.
    6. Help baby learn how to self-soothe. Ideally, you want your baby to learn how to fall asleep in their crib on their own. This means not picking up your little one every time he or she fusses. If your baby starts to cry, you can gently pat or rub their tummy and speak softly to him or her. Giving babies some time to comfort themselves so they can fall back asleep on their own can establish good sleeping habits, which helps you get a good night’s rest too. 

 

Middle-of-the-night feedings are unavoidable and sure to disrupt sound sleep, for both babies and parents, the first few months. As little ones grow, they will start to sleep in longer stretches. And as your baby sleeps longer, the benefits of having an established rhythm and a baby who knows how to fall asleep at bedtime and nap times, and fall back asleep when awoken, is priceless. Then, the phrase “sleep like a baby” takes on a whole new meaning!

The Importance of Skin-to-Skin With Baby

Skin-to-skin contact, also called kangaroo care, provides a bundle of benefits for both mother and baby, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). As a new parent, you’re always there to hold baby tight, whether they’re crying or just want to cuddle. Your warm embrace makes them instantly feel better, and we can all agree that there really is no such thing as loving your baby too much.

Further scientific evidence shows that love, attention, and affection in the first years of life have a direct and measurable impact on a child’s physical, mental and emotional growth. Doctors have found that this skin-to-skin contact decreases babies’ dependency on incubators and also reduces mortality rates from 70 percent to 30 percent.

Doctors around the world recommend this skin-to-skin contact to new moms of both premature and full-term infants. The AAP notes that skin-to-skin is encouraged immediately after birth, throughout the hospital stay and well after discharge. 

Newborns should be placed skin-to-skin with their mother as soon after birth as possible, at least for the first hour. After that, or when the mother needs to sleep or cannot do skin-to-skin, babies should be placed on their backs in the bassinet. The AAP recommends skin-to-skin be given as long and as frequently as possible during the postpartum period, which is typically defined as the first 3 months of life. 

There are plenty of reasons why you should consider the bonding method with your premature or full-term infant. The surprising benefits of kangaroo care for the infant include:

  • Warmth
  • Decreased crying
  • Increased weight gain
  • Increased breastfeeding
  • Stability of heartbeat and breathing
  • Increased time spent in the deep sleep and quiet alert states

These benefits are apparent even when skin-to-skin care occurs for only a few minutes each day. Skin-to-skin care has also been associated with improved mental development, healthy weight and more. Best of all, those perks last long after baby is big enough to run and play on their own. 

colgate crib mattress box in a baby nursery

Choosing the Safest Crib Mattress: The Complete Buying Guide For Parents

colgate crib mattress box in a baby nursery

A quality crib mattress plays an important role in ensuring that your baby sleeps safely and soundly.

As parents, we will do anything to protect and bring comfort to our new bundle of joy. A quality crib mattress not only makes bedtime something to look forward to, but it also ensures safety while sleeping.

Colgate Mattress® has been family-owned and operated for over 65 years and we know that selecting your baby’s first mattress can be an overwhelming task. That’s why we pride ourselves on helping you understand the differences between mattresses and what features are most important. Take a look at these important tips as you begin to determine how to choose a crib mattress that is just right for your little one.


Why is crib mattress safety so important?

The crib mattress is where the majority of your baby’s  growth and development will occur in the critical early years. In fact, baby will spend up to 70% of their time on the crib mattress – and a toddler, up to 50% of their time. So, it’s extremely important to ensure that they’re sleeping on a quality mattress made from superior components that meet all federal government regulations.

 

What should parents look for when shopping for a crib mattress?

Examine the Label

A great place to start is the label. Manufacturers are required by law to reveal what a mattress is made of. Don’t buy a mattress from a manufacturer or retailer that doesn’t tell you this information through the label, online specifications or in-store displays. In fact, you should be able to find out the components of each individual layer, from cover to cover. To ensure the absence of harmful chemicals, look for GREENGUARDTM and CertiPUR-US® certifications. All Colgate products not only meet, but exceed federal and state flammability standards

 

Look for a Firm Mattress

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a crib with a firm crib mattress as a safe sleep environment for infants. So whether you’re searching for a foam or innerspring mattress, look for firmness. For both types of mattresses, the general rule is: the firmer, the better. Newborns develop rapidly over the first two years, which is why you need to find a mattress designed specifically to cater to an infant’s growth. A firm and flat mattress base provides the resistance necessary for developing and strengthening muscles as an infant begins to push up, turn and eventually stand in the crib. 

 

You Can’t Tell a Mattress by its Cover

With a mattress, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Understanding the different components inside the mattress is essential for your baby’s safety and comfort. For instance, are there any cushioning layers? What materials are used? Is there a flammability barrier? Is there waterproof backing? There’s much more to a mattress than just a cute cover. Consider an all-natural option, like the Colgate Natural I, created for the parent wanting a mattress for their baby that is made with 100% non-synthetic components for the healthiest and most comfortable sleep environment possible.  

 

Get the Right Crib Mattress Size

Make sure the mattress will fit snugly inside the crib. This means there shouldn’t be any gaps in-between the mattress and the corners or sides of the crib. The goal is to have the crib mattress fit either very snug or moderately snug in the crib. A good rule of thumb is that no more than two fingers of space should exist between the side of the mattress and the crib frame. Any more than that, the crib mattress is too small and could be a suffocation and entrapment hazard.

 

Buy New

If possible, buy a new crib mattress. Not only does it ensure the mattress is sanitary, but you also won’t have to worry about how it was previously used or stored. One exception to the rule: if you buy a new mattress for your first child, keep it clean and store it in a clean, dry environment (consider Colgate’s storage bag) – then you can use it for your next child.

 

What should be placed on top of the crib mattress?

Once you choose your mattress and put it in your crib, it should be covered with a fitted sheet only — no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and bumpers which increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. Although the causes of death in many of these infants cannot be explained, statistics show that as many as 80-90 percent are the result of unsafe sleep practices. 

Our DREAM SAFE campaign educates caregivers about lifesaving sleep practices.

 

DREAM SAFE Sleep Practices:

D ~ DO place baby on her back to sleep. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.

R ~ REMEMBER a firm crib mattress is always best. Firmness aids in development of baby’s muscles and bones. Soft beds naturally give and contour which can impede a baby’s breathing and trap heat, which can also be dangerous.

E ~ ELIMINATE clutter. Do not put anything soft, loose or fluffy in your baby’s sleep space. Only a fitted sheet, mattress pad or waterproof pad should be used under baby.

A ~ ALWAYS place baby in the crib to sleep. Never place your baby to sleep on top of any soft surface. This includes adult beds, couches, pillows, cushions, comforters and sheepskins.

M ~ MONITOR air flow and temperature. Make sure your baby doesn’t get too warm during sleep. Use lightweight sleep clothing and keep room temperature at what would be comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult. For newborns, consider swaddling.

 

Bringing home a new baby can feel overwhelming, but by integrating these safe sleep habits, you will help ensure the safety of your baby every time they rest. It is important to ensure that everyone who cares for a baby is following safe sleep guidance and has access to a healthcare provider if questions arise.

 

For more safe sleep tips, please visit the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association’s Safe Sleep Center.

New Parent Checklist: How To Baby-Proof Before Baby Comes Home

When you bring your newborn home for the first time – between feedings, naps and sleep schedules – things are going to move quickly. So it’s very important to make sure the house is safely set up for their grand arrival. In fact, the best time for baby proofing your home is at least three months before your due date because some of these preparations may take time. 

To help you get started, here’s a list of general guidelines to keep in mind as you baby-proof your car, secure your home and prepare for emergencies. 

 

Baby-Proofing Your Car

  • Before your baby even gets to your house, they’ll have to ride in your car. Having the right car seat and installing it correctly is essential to keeping your baby safe. Install an approved rear-facing car seat in the back seat (in the middle, if possible) and get it inspected (for free!) by a local certified child passenger safety technician.
  • Clear the car of any small objects that could be choking hazards, such as coins and pens.
  • If the sun is strong where you live, consider applying stick-on sun shades to the back windows to block the rays.

 

Preparing The House

  • Put non-slip pads under all rugs and make sure rugs don’t have curling edges that you (or a growing child) can trip on.
  • Cover sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers or safety padding.
  • Block all open outlets with furniture or use safety plugs.
  • Latch closed any drawers, doors or cupboards within baby’s reach.
  • If you plan to hook a highchair to your kitchen table, check that the table is sturdy and strong.
  • Get rid of any blinds or curtains with looped cords, or install safety tassels and cord stops to tuck away the cords.
  • Check your doorstops; many have removable caps that pose a choking hazard.
  • Unplug and store electric appliances whenever they aren’t in use (iron, curling iron, etc.)
  • Make sure all of your houseplants are non-toxic varieties. Some plants are extremely poisonous.
  • Get any flaking or peeling paint sealed or removed by a professional, especially if your home was built before 1978 when it was more likely to have lead-based paint. Dust from lead paint, which was banned from residential use in that year, can be harmful if ingested.
  • Install a UL certified carbon monoxide detector on every story of your house if you use gas or oil appliances or have an attached garage. 

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in the hallways outside of bedrooms.
  • Test the batteries of any detectors you already have.
  • Install a temperature guard on your water heater at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.
  • Purchase a baby first aid kit, which is important to have at home so that, in case of an emergency, no one has to run out to the store and waste valuable time to get supplies.
  • Add emergency contacts and medical information to your phone that can be accessed even in lock mode.
  • Place a list of emergency numbers within easy access near a landline phone or on the refrigerator.
  • Make sure your home or apartment number is easy to see so fire or rescue can locate you quickly in an emergency.

 

Creating A Safe Sleep Environment

  • Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected to avoid exposing baby to any potentially harmful fumes.
  • Secure any dressers and bookshelves to the wall with screws, and pull the crib away from any other furniture. 
  • If the crib is near a window, remove pull cords or use cord shorteners on window dressings. Those curious little arms like to reach out and cords can so easily get wrapped around your precious little one.
  • Use a firm, flat mattress in a safety-approved crib. Soft mattresses can create a pocket (or indentation) and increase the chance of rebreathing or suffocation if the infant is placed in or rolls over to the prone (face down) position. Also, a solid mattress base provides the resistance necessary for developing and strengthening muscles. 
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from baby’s sleep area. Do not use bumpers, comforters, pillows, blankets and toys in the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. 

 

Your newborn baby will spend most of its time at home and in your car, and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for a baby to get into trouble. The first step in baby safety is making sure both of these places are completely safe for your newborn!

New Year Crib Safety Checklist For Parents

Becoming a new parent is a blessing in so many ways. Along with all of the amazing first moments, there are also challenges, such as keeping baby out of harm’s way. As 2021 brings new opportunities and refreshed priorities, let one of your resolutions be to keep your little one as safe as possible in their crib. 

 

Your baby will often be unattended when in his or her crib, so this should be a completely safe environment. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs. In 80 percent of these cases, babies were either sleeping in an adult bed or in their crib/bassinet with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, fluffy bumpers or loose clothing. 

 

With COVID-19 unfortunately being so widespread, it is one more potential stressor for babies and parents. So Colgate Mattress wants to lighten your load a bit by helping you make sure infants have the safest sleep environment possible. We encourage you to follow the below checklist from the Safe Sleep Guidelines developed by The American Academy of Pediatrics: 

 

Back To Sleep For Every Sleep

  • Infants should be placed for sleep in a supine position (wholly on the back) for every sleep by every caregiver until the child reaches 1 year of age.  
  • Side sleeping is not safe and is not advised. 
  • Skin-to-Skin is care is recommended for all mothers and newborns, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth (as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake) for at least an hour. Thereafter, or when the mother needs to sleep or take care of other needs, infants should be placed supine in a bassinet. 

 

Use A Firm Sleep Surface

  • Infants should be placed on a firm sleep surface (eg, mattress in a safety-approved crib) covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. 
  • Infants should never be left to sleep on sofas, armchairs or in sitting devices. 
  • Soft bedding remains a risk for infants older than 4 months 

 

Keep Soft Objects And Loose Bedding Away From The Infant’s Sleep Area 

  • Soft objects such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and loose bedding can obstruct an infant’s nose and mouth.  
  • Infant sleep clothing is preferable to blankets and other coverings to keep the infant warm 
  • Bumper pads are similar products that attach to crib slats or sides are not recommended for infants. 
  • A large percentage of infants who die of SIDS are found with their head covered by bedding. Therefore, no pillows, sheets, blankets, or any other items that could obstruct infant breathing or cause overheating should be in the bed. 

 

Room Share Without Bed Sharing

  • Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface (room sharing). The infant’s crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet should be placed in the parent’s bedroom for at least 6 months, but preferably a year. 
  • Even though it is not recommended that infants sleep on the same surface as the parents, there are times when parents may fall asleep while feeding their infant. Evidence suggests that it is less hazardous to fall asleep with the infant in the adult bed than on a sofa or armchair, should the parent fall asleep.  
  • Because there is evidence that the risk of bedsharing is higher with longer duration, if the parent falls asleep while feeding the infant in bed, the infant should be placed back on a separate sleep surface as soon as the parent awakens. 

 

Explore more recommendations and relevant resources to create a safe sleep environment for your baby at The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website.

Colgate Mattress Partners with Baby2Baby

baby2baby

Colgate Mattress, the nation’s oldest family-owned manufacturer of crib mattresses and accessories, has launched its support of Baby2Baby with crib mattress donations. Baby2Baby is the leading charitable organization that provides children living in poverty, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves.

Baby2Baby

In the last 8 years, Baby2Baby has distributed over 70 million items to children in homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, foster care, hospitals and underserved schools, as well as children who have lost everything in the wake of disaster. As America’s trusted crib mattress specialist, Colgate Mattress has an opportunity to make a difference by supporting families in need with safe, sound crib mattresses.

“No topic is more near and dear to our hearts than the safety of children,” says Colgate Mattress President Alan Wolkin. “A parent should never have to choose between feeding his or her child and providing a safe sleep environment. Baby2Baby helps new parents so they don’t have to make that impossible decision, and we can’t think of a better charitable partner for our family-owned and operated business.”

Dedicated to Safe Sleep

Colgate Mattress has a longstanding history of leadership in the crib mattress industry. We have had the honor of teaming up with industry experts, charitable organizations and influencers who are dedicated to getting out important messages about baby sleep safety, including First CandleDelivering Good and JPMA.

For more information, visit https://colgatekids.com/pages/safety-development.