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Ditching Unsafe Sleep Products

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Cara Dumaplin

Baby awake in rock n play being supervised, weaning out of unsafe sleep products

To get babies sleeping, parents use all kinds of baby products... the Rock ‘n Play, DockATot, cosleepers, and swings. Please know that the AAP does not recommend any of these products for safe sleep.  As of April 2019, Fisher Price recalled all Rock ‘n Plays. Also, the AAP does NOT recommend using the Rock ‘n Play under any circumstances (for babies awake or asleep).

The AAP’s official safe-sleep guidelines say that infants should always be placed on their backs for sleep on a separate, flat, and firm surface without any bumpers or loose bedding. Only products labeled as a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should be used for baby sleep.

I know that in moments of desperation, these products can feel like your only hope if you’ve been struggling with a difficult sleeper. We understand and don’t judge you for feeling this way; we just want to help set you up for safe, healthy sleep.

So how do we transition a baby out of these sleep products?

The AAP and pediatricians now advise that you must stop using these sleep products immediately. Here are the steps for weaning out:

  1. Simply quit using the sleep product and place baby down in the crib/bassinet after the bedtime or naptime routine.

  2. Allow your baby to sleep for as long as she will in the crib/bassinet. At the first waking, attempt to get her back to sleep using soothing techniques or a feeding if needed. (If you’ve taken the newborn class or Navigating Months 3 and 4,  use the steps outlined for night wakings.)

  3. If your baby goes back to sleep—wonderful. If not, rock her back to sleep and hold her for 20 minutes until she’s in a deep sleep before placing her back in the crib/bassinet.

  4. Each night, try to get a bit longer in the crib/bassinet without the need for being rocked back to sleep.

  5. If your baby is still swaddled and not yet showing signs of rolling, keep her swaddled. If your baby is still swaddled and showing signs of rolling, it’s also time for Transitioning Out of the Swaddle. Some parents find Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit to be helpful in calming the startle reflex.

  6. Be patient and give everyone a little grace. Transitions take time, and safe sleep is important.

Concerned that the Rock ‘n Play is essential because your baby has reflux? Please understand that it truly is NOT needed or safe. An upright angle is not helpful or recommended- even for babies with reflux. You can learn more about the Reflux and Baby Sleep blog.

If coming out of a sleep product has totally derailed your great little sleeper, please know we can help. I have classes and resources that work to help you establish healthy sleep in a safe sleep environment. Taking Cara Babies balances evidenced-based scientific research with the heart of a mom. Simply click “Products” above and select a resource based on your baby’s age.

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