Healthy napping and sleeping requires guarding against interruptions so that a baby naturally falls asleep and wakes up on their own when rested. Think long-term when you put your baby down for a nap or nighttime:
• Put baby in a clean, dry, super-absorbent diaper with wetness indicators to avoid unnecessary waking throughout the night
• Minimize loud noises that can startle baby awake
• Help signal sleep time with rocking, gentle singing and shushing, but allow baby to fall asleep on their own in a safe infant bed
If your baby was born before 37 weeks, maximize sleep time by clustering the care baby needs when they are awake—such as bathing, diapering and feeding. Take extra care to protect your baby’s senses and prevent overstimulation through gentle touch, and limited or reduced light and sound. Babies born early can easily be over-stimulated which can lead to stress or discomfort, or even developmental problems.
Preemies especially struggle with going to and staying asleep. Once baby is nursing well, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends offering a pacifier during sleep times to reduce SIDS risks. If your baby’s pacifier falls out after dozing off, there’s no need to put it back in their mouth.