Sadly, around 300 babies still die every year suddenly and unexpectedly during their sleep for no clear reason. Experts are still unable to pinpoint a single cause for the likelihood of cot death, but they do know there are a number of risk factors.
For over 10 years, Safe and Better Sleep continues to be a driver for every product that we make and our aspiration is that Merino Kids™ can offer all parents and carers the peace of mind and confidence that they have made the right decision when purchasing and using our products. We are keen to promote and create a safe sleep environment and our ethos is to actively engage with medical experts and ensure our products conform to international standards.
Some tips to understanding your baby for a BETTER SLEEP
Each baby is different and requires an individualized approach to sleep. By following a few basic guidelines, your baby will soon settle into a regular sleep pattern.
What is normal sleep?
Newborn babies are unable to distinguish between night and day. At this stage, the need to feed outweighs the need to sleep due to the small size of their stomachs. A newborn may sleep up to 16 hours per day and many paediatricians recommend feeding every 3-4 hours – bear in mind that breastfed infants tend to feed more frequently than those who are formula fed.
As babies are easily stimulated, be sure to keep the lights low and resist playing or talking to baby during nightly feeds. By doing so, you will reinforce the message that night-time is for sleeping. Sleep also promotes sleep. Make sure baby gets an adequate amount of sleep during the day and he will have a more restful night’s sleep.
Ensure baby is winded, has a clean nappy and the room is at a comfortable temperature before placing him down to sleep. Remember to always sleep baby on his back and if he begins to show signs of discomfort, sweating profusely, crying uncontrollably or breathing problems, see your paediatrician immediately.
Other issues such as extreme irritability, disinterest in feeding, difficulty rousing and inability to soothe baby should all be discussed with your doctor.
At 3 months of age, you can expect your baby to be more alert and aware of immediate surroundings during the day, and since his stomach can hold more breast milk or formula, he is beginning to adapt to a more favourable sleep-wake cycle of a daily sleep routine of 2-3 sleep periods during the day, followed by one long sleep of approximately 6-7 hours after a late night feed. To get to this stage, encourage wakefulness during the day while also allowing him to have distinct sleeping periods. Not all infants keep to the same timetable and it may take a few nights to establish this routine, but it will happen if you are consistent.
At 6 months up to 12 months, babies will sleep anywhere from 9-18 hours per day with an average 13-14 hours total. Most babies’ daytime sleep totals about 3-4 hours, with a daily nap pattern of one in the morning and another shortly after lunch. Daily naps average one hour but can range from 20 minutes to two hours, but they still continue to play an important part in baby’s development and better nightly sleep patterns.
A 1 and 2 year old requires about 10-13 hours of sleep a day. Whether all these hours are slept at night or split up with some daytime naps is up to you.
How important is routine?
Establishing a routine at an early age can help to introduce healthy sleep habits for your baby. Behaviours such as always putting baby to sleep in his crib and a night-time bath routine can help create sleep associations and consistency. Although newborns may be too young to immediately pick up on the signals, setting up a nightly routine early has been shown to pay off in the long run.
At 3 months, if you haven't already started a bedtime routine, now is a good time to introduce nightly signals for the end of active time and the start of relaxation after a busy day. Bathing, reading, singing and baby massage can be soothing for both parents and babies. Consistency is key to ensuring baby associates these activities with sleep, so make sure you perform them on a regular basis and at the same time each night and/or whenever he wakes up.
At 6 months, your routine should be set. This is also the time when baby should still be awake when you put him in his cot, and if he starts to cry, give him a few minutes to self soothe before going into his room. It’s important for baby to realize that crying will not result in him leaving his cot for playtime, and although it may be distressing, resist the urge to pick him up or rock him to sleep. Using a baby sleeping bag also helps a baby understand it’s bedtime as it becomes a familiar item associated with sleep.
A baby will still occasionally wake in the wee hours. After ruling out teething pain, illness, or a soiled nappy, let him resettle back to sleep before you respond. If he is still waking up many times each night, perhaps there is an external reason. Is he too big for his bassinet? Do you still have him in your bedroom? Is the room the right temperature or too light or dark? Is there a noise outside at a particular time of the night (e.g. trucks reversing) which could be waking him up? Once you know the problem the solution is often very easy.
Nightly feeds should never be reintroduced once you have stopped giving them to baby, unless he becomes extremely unwell. If you do, your sleep schedule will become interrupted and any efforts to have baby on a routine will need to be revisited. If you think baby is thirsty, try giving a bottle with cooled down boiled water as less of an incentive to wake at night.
Another common sleep problem at this age is the early riser; a baby who babbles or cries for you before the crack of dawn. Although there may be nothing you can do to prevent your baby from waking when he or she is ready, a few safe toys in the cot may provide enough of a distraction until you are ready to wake up and attend to him. A window shade or dark curtains may help to keep out the first light of day and allow you to get an extra few minutes of sleep in the morning.
Always try to encourage a routine in the morning and getting baby out of bed from 7am onwards - any earlier and you will be set with this morning wake up call. Again, consistency is key and by sticking with a routine, early risers should be no trouble.
At 9 months, your baby is probably rolling over and picking a comfortable night-time sleep position and dressing your child in a baby sleeping bag with an appropriate seasonal weight will greatly reduce sleep disturbances from him becoming too hot or cold.
When he wakes up in the night and cries for you, remember not to reward him or it may continue for a long time. Reassure him quietly that you are there, and make a quick exit. If you are firm and consistent, this stage should pass pretty quickly. Remember to rule out illness or a soiled nappy during these visits, and if you do need to change him, keep the lighting low and keep interaction to a minimum, avoiding eye contact.
Once he is able to pull himself up using the sides of the cot, it's time to remove the mobiles and any other objects he may be able to touch whilst standing up. Wall hangings, pictures, draperies, and window blind cords are all potentially harmful and should be out of baby's reach.
Teething can begin as early as 3 months and continue until a child's third birthday. Between the ages of 4 and 7 months, you'll notice your baby's first teeth pushing through the gum line - usually the two bottom front teeth. These are usually followed 4 to 8 weeks later by the four front upper teeth. About a month later, the two teeth flanking the bottom front teeth will appear. Next to break through the gum line are the first molars (the back teeth used for grinding food), then finally the eyeteeth (the pointy teeth in the upper jaw). Most kids have all 20 of their primary teeth by their third birthday. (If your child experiences significant delay, speak to your doctor.)
As kids begin teething, they might drool more and want to chew on things. For some babies, teething is painless. Others may experience brief periods of irritability, and some may seem cranky for weeks, with crying jags and disrupted sleeping and eating patterns. Teething can be uncomfortable, but if your baby seems overly irritable, talk to your doctor.
Although tender and swollen gums could cause your baby's temperature to be a little higher than normal, teething doesn't usually cause high fever or diarrhoea. If your baby does develop a fever during the teething phase, it's probably due to something else and you should contact your doctor.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when your baby is teething:
- Wipe your baby’s face often with a cool cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
- Give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it's big enough so that it can't be swallowed or break into small pieces. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes makes a handy teething aid — just be sure to wash it after each use. Teething rings are also good, but avoid ones with liquid inside because they may break or leak. If you use a teething ring, be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard — you don’t want to bruise those already swollen gums!
- Rub your baby's gums with a clean finger.
- Never tie a teething ring around a baby’s neck — it could get caught and strangle the baby.
- If your baby seems irritable, you may be advised to consult your doctor first.
How Merino Kids™ also helps to keep your baby safe and sleep better
Go Go Bag™
New Zealand is one of the leading countries into the research of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The Merino Kids™ Go Go Bag™ baby sleep bag has been designed with the research of SIDS in mind. It is also the first in the world to be internationally recognised for the British Safety Standard for Baby Sleep Bags (BS 8510:2009). Back in 2009, Selina Russell, from the committee which developed the code of practice that led to the new British Standard, said: “Merino Kids products are so good they met the new standard before it was even developed!”
Features of the Merino Kids™ Go Go Bag™:
- It promotes baby/infant sleeping on their back.
- It is sleeveless to allow complete air circulation whilst in the cot.
- It regulates temperature, meaning baby is never too hot or too cold. Overheating is prevented. No extra covers or loose beddings are required.
- It is designed to ensure that baby does not get entangled or slides in the bedding – the neck opening is at the right size.
- The zip and poppers are strong and safe. The zip is also covered at the armhole to ensure it does not snag.
- No dangerous chemicals or dyes are used in its production. It is 100% natural, organic and merino wool is naturally hypoallergenic making it ideal for babies with skin conditions.
- Unlike synthetics, Merino wool is naturally fire-retardant and can even self-extinguish.
- It has an innovative seat belt aperture for ease of travelling.
Our swaddle is the first in the world to be made from Merino wool. It is also a winner of internationally renowned awards. Swaddling’s ability to soothe and calm babies has been clear to women for countless generations. For babies, being swaddled after birth recreates the security and coziness of the womb and prevents ‘Startle’ (or Moro) reflex. This stimulates healthy sleep patterns which have been proven to promote strong development in a newborn’s early days.
Features of the Cocooi™ Swaddle:
Gives your baby the freedom to move naturally – The Cocooi™ Swaddle’s patented diagonal-wing design means your baby can tuck hands against chest, raise up knees and kick and punch without the swaddle coming undone or covering the face. The bottom half is a wide, loose pouch that gives plenty of room for baby to move freely and, most importantly, allows the legs to fall naturally in the “frog-like” position and not be hindered by the material. Merino Kids™ is aware of the concerns of hip-dysplasia and constantly talks with medical organisations which affirm that: “Commercial products for swaddling should have a loose pouch or sack for the babies’ legs and feet, allowing plenty of hip movement”. Cocooi™ Swaddles have been assessed to fulfil these requirements in full.
Fits snugly and securely without constricting – Merino fibre has a natural elasticity which, in conjunction with the Cocooi™ Swaddle’s innovative diagonal-winged design, explains how it snugly and securely suits newborn babies up to three months old without using spandex, self-fasteners, poppers or constricting arm restraints.
Helps to regulate temperature – Being made from 100% Merino wool, the Cocooi™ Swaddle is perfect for any season and environment by keeping your baby warm in the cold and cool in the heat. Nursery room temperatures can fluctuate causing a newborn baby to often wake up. Merino’s unparalleled ability to breathe means your baby’s body temperature is regulated before they have the capability to do it themselves. Overheating is prevented.
Sensitive to babies with skin irritations and eczema – Our Merino is totally organic and not been treated with chemicals. It is luxuriously soft, light, non-itchy and hypo-allergenic, helping babies with sensitive skin and eczema problems thanks to its ability to readily release moisture next to the skin, creating a perfect micro-climate around the body. The material also retains less odour and nasty smells, thus reducing the need for frequent washing.
Swaddle on the move – The Cocooi™ Swaddle’s innovative seat belt vent allows your baby to be swaddled when riding in the car or buggy. The handy pouch design also means quick nappy checks and changes in the night are possible without unwrapping your baby’s arms which might wake them. This all reduces baby-handling and makes for a more relaxed sleep-time routine, which together with Merino’s natural temperature-regulating qualities, make the Cocooi™ Swaddle the ideal sleeping environment for a newborn baby in any season.
Award-winning – The Merino Kids™ Cocooi™ Swaddle was awarded the Seal of Outstanding Design Quality in the prestigious 2008 International Forum Product Design Awards and also featured in the 2008 Red Dot Design Awards, which ranks among the largest and most renowned design competition in the world.
Safe swaddling is for babies at times of sleep or rest, day or night, but not for 24 hours a day as babies also need playtime to move and develop freely. Safe swaddling is from birth until about 3 months old.
#Safesleep for all.
Please consult a medical professional if you need professional advice.