This post is sponsored by The Baby Box Co. All opinions are my own.
Baby Sleep Safety Basics with Baby Box University
As parents, we aren’t able to control everything about our children’s lives – or protect them from EVERYTHING bad that can happen, but we are instinctually driven to try. No matter our background or circumstances, this is one thing that parents tend to have in common. We love our children, and we want to do everything we can to keep them healthy and safe.
Despite this fact, a lack of education or accessibility can stop parents from always giving infants their safest start. Personally, I see having children as a basic human right – one that we all share, and I believe that every family deserves access to the tools and services needed to help their children survive and thrive. Baby Box University, a platform dedicated to improving infant mortality rates, is helping to improve this kind of access, and I’m thrilled to be teaming up with this amazing project today on Mary Makes Good.
The folks at The Baby Box Co. sent me my own Baby Box after inviting me to take part in their online baby sleep safety course. Right now we are getting ready to welcome our new baby girl in June, and I’m deep into nesting mode. Baby clothes are being sorted, hoarded, and purchased a little bit too often. (Having a girl is FUN, y’all.) Baby basics, like diapers and swaddles, are stacking up all over the place, and slowly but surely our home is being readied for a new addition.
This little girl will be our rainbow baby. After our recent string of pregnancy losses, the reality of how fragile new life can be is fresh in my mind. While I suspect that most parents are a little more relaxed the second time around, I feel like I might actually be MORE nervous than I was with Charlie. Anyway, the Baby Box University videos serve as a nice refresher, and helped me feel a little more confident about what’s coming next. When it comes to baby sleep safety, I’m ready!
What is a Baby Box?
Baby boxes are basically simplified bassinets – or, as Baby Box University puts it, “sustainably designed safe sleeping spaces” for infants. Made mostly from cardboard, Baby Boxes provide a safe place for babies to sleep and can be placed on the floor within arm’s reach of a sleeping parent or care giver.
These boxes were distributed in Finland alongside educational programs and health services in a national campaign that brought Finland’s infant mortality rate down to the lowest in the world. Today, the Baby Box Company is on a mission to improve rates worldwide with a focus on baby sleep safety.
How Do I Get a Baby Box?
Residents of Texas and California can get their FREE Baby Box by watching a short series of videos on infant safety. The videos make learning about infant safety super quick and easy. Once the videos are completed, Baby Box University will ship you a free box AND a bag full of samples and goodies for mom and baby. You can even score another free gift by submitting a snapshot of your baby sleeping safely in his or her Baby Box after it arrives.
Why Use a Baby Box?
The American Academy of Pediatrics currently offers the following guidelines for safe infant sleep:
- Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
- Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Baby Box matches these guidelines perfectly. When used as instructed, Baby Box is free from potentially dangerous bedding. It is also lightweight and easy to transport from one room to the next, making it easy to keep baby in the room with you while she naps or sleeps. By being made available for free, Baby Box provides an affordable means of supplying this safe sleeping environment to EVERY baby.
How Else Can I Keep Baby Safe During Sleep?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a few more tips to share on the subject:
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
- Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.
My Baby Sleep Tips
These might not be the kinds of tips or seasoned parenting secrets you were expecting, but they come from my heart and I hope they help. My personal philosophy on coping with baby sleep (or lack of baby sleep) is all about survival. Keep baby safe, keep yourself sane, and you’ll both make it out of this just fine.
- Scale Your Expectations: Remember that most babies don’t start sleeping through the night for at least the first 3-6 months of life. It’s also perfectly normal (though not especially fun) for babies to continue waking during the night to feed or for comfort well into the first year.
- Practice Self Care: While a lack of sleep while parenting an infant is perfectly normal that does NOT make it easy. It’s important to develop coping strategies to deal with the exhaustion that goes along with this particular parenting challenge. That could mean sharing night feedings with a spouse or partner, hiring a night nurse or postpartum doula, or arranging for daytime care so that you can supplement your sleep with naps. If you find that the lack of sleep is impairing your ability to care for yourself or your baby, make sure and reach out to your doctor or pediatrician right away. They may be able to help!
- Defend Your Rest: If you are baby’s primary care-giver that means your sleep is PRECIOUS. Take advantage of every possible minute, and if anyone (besides baby, of course) tries to bogart any of your precious sleep time, you tell them to go fly a kite. A happy mama means a healthy baby, and sleep is one of the best ways to keep yourself going during this exhausting season of life.
- Find What Works For YOU: Every baby is unique, as is every parent. Where one method works for one child, it can fail for another. When a method or strategy fails, be sure to remember that it doesn’t make YOU a failure as a parent. It just means that it wasn’t the right choice for this baby at this time. Keep your chin up. Try different things. Read up on sleep strategies if you want to, reach out to your pediatrician or fellow parents for ideas, or just do what feels right. At the end of the day, baby will sleep when he’s good and ready. Until then, all you can do is keep him safe and keep yourself sane.
- Practice Mindfulness: This can be a tough order to fill when you are beyond tired and having one of those nights when baby will just NOT let you sleep. But, if you can manage to clear your mind in that desperate moment, and remember that infancy is a brief, fleeting, (and underneath all of the physical torment) even a PRECIOUS period of time, you can actually enjoy those sleepless nights a little. Close your eyes, cuddle your sleepless baby close, breath in the scent of their tiny baby head, and try to experience that moment as bliss instead of torture. Even if you only succeed for a minute or two, this can be a wonderful break from the drudgery of midnight baby duty.
Want to Help Baby Box University Help Even More Babies?
Spread the word!! Share this amazing program on social media, with your friends and family, and with your co-workers. Not everyone can afford to give their baby an organic mattress and a fancy bassinet, but thanks to Baby Box University everyone CAN afford to give their baby a safe place to sleep. Let’s make sure EVERY family has the access education they deserve.
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Every baby deserves to sleep safely. Find out how to get a FREE Baby Box from Baby Box University at www.babyboxuniversity.com.
Want more baby stuff? Check out my recipe for Baby Mama Bars: The Ultimate Postpartum & Lactation Cookie, and my recipe for Simple Homemade Baby Powder.