Baby Care Today: Old Advice You Can Safely Ignore

Sleeping

Shhh, The Baby's Sleeping

newborn baby sleeping

Old Advice: Babies need absolute silence to sleep well.

New Advice: It's good for babies to learn to sleep through the whir of a vacuum cleaner, the sound of the TV, or the chatter of an older sibling. In fact, after nine months in the womb, babies are already conditioned to sleep with background noise, so it may be easier for them to sleep with white noise around them.

Sleeping Safely

Old Advice: Put your infant to bed on her tummy, said doctors, who worried that babies could inhale and choke on mucus or vomit while sleeping on their back.

New Advice: Babies are not more likely to choke when sleeping on their back, but they are at higher risk of SIDS while sleeping on their stomach. Doctors aren't sure why, but they believe that sleeping facedown may place excess pressure on the diaphragm or force babies to rebreathe exhaled air, which is low in oxygen.

Crib Caution

Old Advice: Babies should sleep on pillows and under quilts, just as adults do.

New Advice: The American Academy of Pediatrics advises removing all pillows, blankets, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and loose bedding and bumpers from cribs because they may increase the baby's risk of SIDS.

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