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WIC Offers Parents Guidelines For Newborns

Guidelines On How To Keep Newborns Safe During Naps and Nighttime Sleep

The beginning of the year marks “Infant Safe Sleep Awareness” month, and the staff at the Nevada Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Education Centers Program has some important fundamentals parents should follow in ensuring their newborns remain healthy and safe during sleep all year round.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 3,500 infants die in the United States each year, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and SUIDS (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome) from sleeping in unsafe environments. But a collaborative effort between REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority) “Cribs for Kids”, Nutrition Education Counselors Professionals and participating WIC parents can help reduce these statistics in Nevada.

“Babies should never sleep on their stomach or side, but always on their back,” Semaj Bruce, Breastfeeding Coordinator, IBCLC said. “They should sleep alone, never with an adult in bed and in their own crib or bassinet.”

Additionally, a baby should never sleep under a blanket, on a pillow, with stuffed animals, or in a crib with bumper pads. They should sleep on a firm surface, with no loose bedding, in a sleep sack or onesie and in a room with a parent, parents or caregiver.

Knowing how much sleep their baby needs can be daunting for young parents, especially in the beginning of a newborn’s life.

It’s important to establish a regular sleep schedule and a nighttime routine for feeding and bathing. Make sure your baby is not hungry before putting him or her to bed. It’s recommended that you feed your baby right before bedtime, so he won’t be hungry during the night.

Calculating how much sleep your baby needs should be fluid, depending on age. Newborns require 16 to 20 hours of sleep and are awake from 1 to 2 hours between periods of sleep.

“Infants sleep from 13 to 15 hours, which includes nighttime, morning naps and afternoon naps,” Bruce said. “Toddlers sleep about 12 hours, including an afternoon nap.”

It’s important for parents to understand that it is normal for newborns and babies to have pauses of 15 to 20 seconds between breaths when they sleep. These pauses should become shorter and less frequent as a baby gets older. However, if your baby snores loudly or has longer pauses in breathing during sleep, it would be wise to call your pediatrician. And if parents have any further questions or concerns, they should call their doctor.

“Make sure your baby is sleepy, but not asleep, when you put them to bed or down for naps,” Bruce said. “Placing your baby in bed while still awake lets infants learn to fall asleep on their own.”

Bruce added that a baby may fuss when first put down, but after about 10 minutes the infant should fall asleep. During this fussing, a parent can sneak in to check on their infant, but it’s important to not let him or her see you because the baby will become conditioned to expect to see you when fussing.

To help reduce nighttime fussing, it’s important to limit daily naps to no more than 3 hours. And don’t let your baby nap past 4 p.m., otherwise the child won’t be sleepy at bedtime. It’s important to establish a sleep and feeding schedule and to follow it the best you can.

The Las Vegas Urban League Women, Infants and Children Program is a 501c (3) program that is funded by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health.

For more information, visit the Urban League WIC website at: or their two convenient locations:

6480 W. Flamingo Road, Suite B, Las Vegas, phone (702) 227-1573

3320 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 50, Las Vegas, phone (702) 476-9561.