Does the perfect sleep environment really exist?
In short, No. But it sure does help.
For some of us, we can sleep sitting up on an airplane with a screaming baby next to us while the flight attendant goes over the safety feature of the aircraft. For others, Me, we have to have our space at just the right temperature, a fan blowing on medium setting and a face mask on to block out ALL of the light. #truth
Babies and children are similar. They come to learn and need a specific environment. And it's up to us as parents to provide that. Before I give my recommendations on the "perfect" environment, here is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for SAFE sleep.
1. Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
2. Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
3. 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.
4. Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Keeping all of this in mind and practice is very important.
Here are a few extra tips to create an environment that's conducive to sleep.
>>Keep temperature of child's room on the cool side, 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit
>>Make the room extra dark. So dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face! Many curtains and shades are sold as "black out" but this really isn't true. My cheap fix for this is black plastic table cloths. Layer those over the window with painters tape and then put your curtains and blinds back up to hide it. I even take this "window kit" along while traveling. You better believe my kids still need to nap while on vacation, so if blacking out the windows equals a nap, you better believe I'm doing it!
>> White noise, white noise, white noise. Did I mention white noise? There are so many great travel options for this. Purchase a travel size noise machine, or do as we do and connect a blue tooth speaker!
>>Space! Give your child the space to fall asleep and put themselves back to sleep. Sometimes accidental parenting gets in the way. The French call it "Le Pause".
Hear a grunt or a sleep cry? Take a deep breath and see if baby/kiddo can resettle themselves.