The Blog

Safe Baby Sleep

Welcome to motherhood! You went through pregnancy and now it’s time to start the newborn journey! Yay!

I’m Maggie Jenkins, certified sleep consultant, former nanny and a first time mom to a baby girl! I know how stressful it is to get everything done correctly without being overwhelmed by all the recommendations. Your baby’s sleep is important, but yours as well, especially in post partum. I want to help you get the sleep you need with your baby without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. As a new mom, one of the most important things you can do for your baby’s health and well-being is ensuring they get safe and restful sleep. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, this is why I’ve put together this blog post to help you create the ideal sleep environment for your baby. It’s pretty easy to feel lost with all the recommendations about what is safe for your baby and what is not.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends following certain guidelines to minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths. These are recommendations, not mandatory. I highly suggest you to read them and follow them if they feel right to you. I also recommend you to read about the Safe Sleep 7 that are known in the breastfeeding mom’s world as it makes our life easier – and safer!

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for safe sleep


This is the safest position for your baby to sleep in. When a newborn sleeps on their stomach, the risk of SIDS increases by 1.7-12.9. Studies suggest that a baby sleeping on their stomach may increase SIDS through different mechanisms such as:

  • The baby can re-breathe his or her own exhale breathe, leading to carbon dioxide buildup and low oxygen
  • Causing upper airway obstruction
  • Interfering with body heat dissipation leading to overheating

Researches have shown that babies who died from SIDS were more likely to be put to sleep on their stomach than babies who lived. In the 1994, The Safe to Sleep® campaign (or back to sleep campaign) started to educate caregivers on ways to reduce SIDS. The annual number of deaths has remained about the same since 2000 following a substantial decline in deaths in the 1990s as the result of The Safe to Sleep® campaign.


Your baby should sleep on a mattress that is firm and flat. It shouldn’t have any soft surfaces or cushions. When a baby sleeps with someone on the couch or a cushion, the risk of sleep-related deaths is 67 times higher! Your baby’s sleep environment needs to be EMPTY. Say bye bye to the blanket, pillows, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, braided bumpers etc. This includes the DockATot! The DockATot is not meant to be a sleep environment for your baby and should never be placed in the crib or bassinet!! It could lead to suffocation and increases the risk of SIDS.


Everyone needs their own bed. Bed-sharing increases 5-10 times the risk of sleep-related infant deaths. Instead, choose a bassinet that you can place next to your bed. The AAP recommends room sharing for the first 6 months of life. Keep in mind that this is a recommendation. Newborns are loud sleepers and not everyone can sleep in the same room. You also need your sleep. Don’t forget it! If you feel like you would prefer your baby to sleep in their room, in their crib (empty!), do it! I’ve worked with families who decided to have their baby in their room from day 1 and there is no shame about that!

These 3 recommendations above are what we hear the most about safe sleep for babies and what everyone recommends. You can access to all the AAP recommendations right here.

The Safe Sleep 7 by La Leche League International recommendations for bedsharing families

If you don’t know about La Leche League International, this is an organization that helps, supports, informs and educates mothers on breastfeeding and everything around it.

THE SAFE SLEEP SEVEN BEDSHARING SONG from La Leche League International

(to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
No smoke, sober mom
Baby at your breast
Healthy baby on his back
Keep him lightly dressed.
Not too soft a bed
Watch the cords and gaps
Keep the covers off his head
For your nights and naps.


60 to 75% of moms who breastfeed will eventually bedshare for a certain amount of time. This includes planned or not. And I’m the first one to say that I did not plan to bedshare at all – I was actually against it – and here I am, bedsharing and loving it. Bedsharing also comes with recommendations to insure a safe sleep for your baby.


This applies for dad/ partner if they share the bed. You need to be 100% yourself and aware of what’s going on. Tthat also includes melatonin or any medications that will make you sleepy.


When you are breastfeeding your baby side lying, you are in the same position as other breastfeeding moms. This position is called the cuddle curl (C-curl position). In that position, you allow your baby to access your breast and insure a protective space for them:
• Your knees come up to prevent baby from going down
• Your arm is tucked under your head or sometimes a pillow and curled around your baby, this will prevent baby from going up and insure a protective space. In the Cuddle Curl position, you can’t roll onto your baby because your knees won’t let you do it. Try it you’ll see!


When your baby is not on the breast, the safest sleep will always be on their back.


Since your baby will be against your body all night long, make sure they are lightly dressed to avoid overheating. Also, if you are wondering whether your baby is too hot or too cold, touch their chest/back. Their hands/feet are not relevant as they are often cold. Babies who are bedsharing should not be swaddled.


Sleeping with your baby cannot be safe on a chair, sofa/couch, recliners etc. Watch out for gaps around your bed, cords (like phone charger, lamp, or even on your pajamas) and pets.


The best way to insure safe sleep is to remove covers from your baby. Dress yourself and your baby depending on your room temperature.

The Safe Sleep Seven requires:

  1. That you are a non smoker
  2. Sober and unimpaired
  3. A breastfeeding mom and your baby is:
  4. Healthy and full-term
  5. On their back
  6. Lightly dressed
  7. And both of you are on a safe sleep surface

What you should remember

All families and babies are different and there isn’t one size fits all. I highly encourage everyone to read about the AAP and The Safe Sleep 7. I want you to be able to take the best decision for your baby and your family. Does that mean a breastfeeding baby should automatically sleep in bed with parents? No!

Bassinets and crib are also the perfect place for your baby to sleep. Some parents feel really uncomfortable sleeping with their baby. Knowing two different ways of making sleep safe is better than one!

With all the recommendations, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed, especially when you are tired! I hope you learned something new today and that this post helped you understand what kind of sleep environment can be safe for your baby! If you liked it, please share it with a new mom! If you are looking to help your baby sleep better with the support of a certified sleep consultant, you can check my packages or contact me directly.


Back sleeping:
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
The safe sleep seven:

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