Should I Watch My Newborn Sleep? There Are Pros & Cons

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Nothing feels more comforting than staying in Mama Hawk mode while your baby bird snoozes. Keeping a watchful eye over your little one around the clock sounds like a great way to ensure they stay safe. But too much vigilance can take a toll on you (and isn't necessary, either). So if each night has you wondering, "should I watch my newborn sleep?" take a deep breath and rest your sleepy head, because there are plenty of ways to protect your dumpling and tend to your need for sleep as well.

For me, the urge to sleep with one eye open was completely based in fear. Is he breathing? Is my baby's heart beating? I would repeatedly wonder throughout the night. As my worries surmounted, so did my symptoms of postpartum anxiety. That's when I knew I needed to figure out the nighttime worries I had about my baby. As Baby Center noted, "it's important to accept your fears — and learn to live with them — while not letting them interfere with your enjoyment of your new baby." Since it's not humanly possible to stay awake every night while your baby snoozes, finding ways to cope is key.

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A great place to start is understanding how to keep your baby safe while sleeping and protecting her against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is a common worry for parents with newborns. You can create a secure sleep environment by putting baby to bed on her back, on a firm surface free of any other objects, as Healthy Children, a website from the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommended. In addition to making the crib a snug and protected place for your little one, make sure to check the thermostat before calling it a night. As Parents magazine pointed out, overheating is a cause of SIDS, so keep the air at a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult, and don't overdress your baby at bedtime.

Once you feel confident that you've created the safest sleep environment possible, make sure you get some Zs as well. Sleep depravation in new mothers is not only extremely common, but can be dangerous as well, as the website for PBS reported. Getting your rest plays a crucial role in your ability to care for your newborn. Staying awake to keep eyes on your baby may feel like a cautionary action, but overall, it can end up bringing more harm than good.