The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Baby

Easy cheat sheet for safe sleep foundation.

The ABCs of Safe Sleep for Baby

You have the perfect nursery with all of the recommended baby items that your BFF said you HAD to have. You’ve read the books and the blogs. You’ve made the choice on how to feed your baby. Now what about sleep? Should baby sleep in the bassinet or go straight to the crib? Does baby need to be swaddled? What about a blanket? A lovey? A pacifier? So many questions, so many choices. It’s tough to know where to look for reliable answers.

No matter what you choose, your baby’s safety should be first and foremost. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a ton of helpful guidelines, and we’ve broken down the ABCs for you. Here are 6 rules to follow for baby sleep safety.

A is for Alone. In other words, room share, don't bed share. Co-sleeping is a hot button topic. There are Facebook groups, mommy blogs and articles devoted to both sides of the debate. The AAP has firmly stated that that co-sleeping (aka bed-sharing, aka bringing your baby into your bed) is unsafe and can result in tragic consequences. You may think that putting a baby lounger or sleep positioner (like a Dock-a-Tot) on your bed will make it safe to bedshare. Not true. Those products aren’t approved for sleep by the AAP. So it's best to skip those all together and set up a bassinet in your room so baby can be close by but in their own safe sleep space. The AAP recommends keeping baby in your room for at least the first six months, ideally up to a year.

B is for back. According to the AAP and the back-to-sleep campaign that launched in the 90s, back is best. Put baby to sleep on their back Every. Single. Time. They don’t have enough head control to turn to the side if placed on their tummies. This guideline is especially important for preterm babies. Don’t worry -- your little ones have airways that prevent them from choking while on their backs.

C is for crib. This means no swing, Rock N Play, or car seat. It is so tempting, especially with reflux babies, to let them sleep for an extended period of time in one of these. The AAP strongly discourages this practice. Even though you’ve seen your BFF’s little one snoozing peacefully in a Rock n’ Play, the AAP and FDA have stated that products like these and other sleep positioners are not safe for sleep. A Mamaroo, Boppy, swing and other similar products are great tools to soothe baby but they must then be moved to a safe sleeping space.

D is for "don’t be afraid of the pacifier." There has always been debate about pacifiers and we’re sure it will continue. Whether or not to use a pacifier is a personal choice, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But there is new research showing that pacifier use at sleep times can be protective against SIDS. Don’t attach it to baby’s clothes in any way. It might take a few tries to find one your baby likes but once you discover one, buy a few!

E is for empty. Don't try to make the crib or bassinet cozy -- babies don't care about that. So keep the blanket that Aunt Linda made for stroller walks, not for use in the crib. No blankets, pillows, lovies, stuffed animals, baby loungers, bumpers or other soft, cushy items should be in baby’s crib or bassinet. Once baby is at least a year, you can introduce a small lovey like these.

F is for firm, flat sleep surface. You might like your Sleep Number setting super soft but firm and flat is what your baby needs. Look for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seal of approval on mattresses, cribs and bassinets. If your baby has reflux, resist putting a wedge under the mattress or modifying the crib/bassinet so that it’s on an incline--per the latest AAP guidelines, this isn’t safe.

Use these simple reminders each time you put baby down. Still unsure? Go to this Facebook group where educated moderators will help you navigate the complicated world of safe sleep. Sleeping through the night will come. Give your baby the best start possible with a safe place to develop a healthy foundation for sleep.

Leigh McMahon is a certified sleep consultant with Bonne Nuit Baby. Based in Denver, Colorado, she helps babies and children learn how to be champion sleepers so their parents can stay sane and cut down on the double espressos. Learn more about us at @_bonnenuitbaby and follow her adventures of being a #boymom at @bonnenuitdenver.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.


    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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