Should A Baby Sleep On Its Back Or Its Stomach
When a baby who usually sleeps on his back is suddenly laid on his stomach to sleep, the risk of SIDS is much higher. If youre worried your baby might choke while sleeping on his back, dont be. Choking is very rare, and healthy babies tend to swallow or cough up fluids automatically.
What Causes Flat Head Syndrome
Babies skulls are soft and somewhat moldable. And infants sleep on their backs for many hours every day. While sleeping, they may consistently turn their head to one side.
If your baby sleeps with a turned head too often, the same section of the head may rest on a surface frequently. The regular pressure can flatten that section of the babys soft head.
Flat head syndrome usually happens on one side of the head. But it can occur on both sides or in the back . The longer a part of the head is on a flat surface, the more likely it will flatten.
The Most Serious Risk: Sids
Lets get this beast out of the way from the get-go: Putting babies to sleep on their back is definitely safer than sleeping on the tummy. Stomach sleeping increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and suffocation, and its an easy roll from side to stomach gravity means very little effort on babys part.
SIDS is the
- baby is sleeping in the same bed as the parent
- baby is sleeping in a car seat or on a sofa or couch
- parents drink alcohol or misuse drugs
- baby is bottle-fed instead of breastfed
- there are blankets or toys inside the crib or bassinet
Not all of these are within your control and for the ones that arent, you should never feel guilty or let someone shame you for it. Most babies born prematurely do quite well, and a fed baby breast or bottle is a healthy baby.
But that good news is that some of these factors are within your control. First off, the safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your bedroom with you, but in a separate bassinet or crib.
Second, place baby on their back to sleep. Early swaddling is fine preferable, even, since it mimics the safety and security of the womb until your little one can roll over. Then, they need to have their arms free to lower suffocation risk should they roll over onto their tummy.
The risk for SIDS is highest for infants aged
National Institutes of Health a very reliable source with many years of research behind it its a myth that side sleeping can prevent choking while sleeping.
Recommended Reading: Can Probiotics Cause Constipation In Newborns
Should Your Baby Sleep On Their Tummy Or Back
Always place baby on the back to sleep and not on the tummy or side. There is an increased risk of sudden unexpected death for babies when they sleep on their tummies and there is a danger of rolling to this position if they are slept on their sides. It is important that babies are always placed on the back to sleep.
Key Points On Why Back To Sleep Is Safest:
- Always place baby on the back to sleep and not on the tummy or side. There is an increased risk of sudden unexpected death for babies when they sleep on their tummies and there is a danger of rolling to this position if they are slept on their sides.
- It is important that babies are always placed on the back to sleep. Babies who are usually slept on the back and are placed on the tummy or side for the first time are at an increased risk of sudden unexpected death.
- Once a baby has been observed to repeatedly roll from back to front and back again on their own for several weeks, they can be left to find their preferred sleep position .
- At the critical time of starting to roll it is very important that the sleep environment remains safe
- Babies that can roll should no longer be wrapped
- Babies born preterm should be slept on the back as soon as they are medically stable .
Also Check: How Often To Feed Newborn Puppies
Should Babies Sleep On Their Back Or Stomach
Sleeping comes naturally to most adults, so it’s easy to underestimate how important it is for your newborn to sleep safely. But creating a safe environment for your baby to sleep in is one of the most crucial things you can do while they’re infants.
Most parents have heard about sudden infant death syndrome . SIDS, also known as crib death, occurs when a baby dies unexpectedly and without explanation before their first birthday. Thinking about SIDS can be very stressful for new parents. Fortunately, one of the most effective ways to prevent SIDS is also very simple.
Putting your baby to sleep on their back carries a much lower risk of SIDS than putting them to sleep on their stomach. In the past, parents were encouraged to put their babies to sleep on their stomach. But as research on SIDS became more common and new discoveries were made, scientists realized that babies who sleep on their stomach have an increased risk of SIDS.
The cause of SIDS is still unknown, as is the reason why back sleeping is safer for babies. Experts have theorized that there are several mechanisms that make stomach sleeping unsafe, including:
- Increased risk of upper airway obstruction
- The baby might re-breathe the air that they’ve already exhaled, which could lead to low oxygen levels and carbon dioxide buildup
- Overheating due to improper body heat dissipation
- Abnormally high blood pressure and heart rate while sleeping
What If Repositioning Isnt Enough
Most babies with flat head baby syndrome also have torticollis . These infants usually need physical therapy and home exercise programs. A physical therapist will teach you exercises and stretches to lengthen and straighten your babys neck muscles.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe a helmet for your baby, which would be measured by an orthotist . Helmets fit loosely where the head is flat and tightly where it is round. They encourage the flat area of the head to grow.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Newborn Gas
Q Why Are These Kinds Of Sleepers Popular
A. This kind of product keeps a baby inclined, which parents may think helps prevent reflux or spitting up. So people may think their babies sleep a little better in this position, despite medical experts’ recommendations.
The reclining sleepers also keep an infant in one spot, so parents believe they can have a little freedom to move around the house or to relax while the child is in the device.
Many of these products come with controls that shine a nightlight, play soft music or rock the baby.
Strategy #1 Learn To Spot Your Childs Sleep Cues Are Babies Supposed To Sleep On Their Stomach Or Back
Like the rest of us, your child has a sleep window of opportunity, a period of time when he is tired, but not too tired.If that window closes before you have a chance to tuck your child into bed, his body will start releasing chemicals to fight the fatigue and it will be much more difficult for you to get him to go to sleep. So how can you tell if your baby is getting sleepy? Its not as if your one-month-old can tell you what he needs. Here are some sleep cues that your baby is ready to start winding down for a nap or for bedtime:-Your baby is calmer and less active this is the most obvious cue that your baby is tired and you need to act accordingly.-Your baby may be less tuned-in to his surroundings his eyes may be less focused and his eyelids may be drooping.-Your baby may be quieter if your baby tends to babble up a storm during his more social times of the day, you may notice that the chatter dwindles off as he starts to get sleepy.-Your baby may nurse more slowly instead of sucking away vigorously, your baby will tend to nurse more slowly as he gets sleepy. In fact, if hes sleepy enough, he may even fall asleep mid-meal.-Your baby may start yawning if your baby does this, well, thats a not-so-subtle sign that hes one sleepy baby.
Read Also: How Do I Get My Newborn To Sleep
When To Avoid A Supine Sleeping Position
As great as sleeping on your back can be, there are some instances where your doctor may tell you to knock it off. If any of the following situations ring a bell for you, talk to your physician about whether or not you should try sleeping flat on your back.
- Beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. Once youre about 20 weeks pregnant, the weight of your uterus could compress the vena cava, which is an important blood vessel. Once youre about 5 months along, youll want to transition to side sleeping. Laying on your left side is particularly helpful because the vena cava is on your right side, so it remains completely unrestricted.
- Serious sleep apnea. Sleep apnea happens most commonly when your airway is obstructed and you intermittently stop breathing during the night. This can happen because your throat muscles relax or because excess weight presses down on your throat while you sleep. In any case, laying flat on your back can make the issue worse. In addition to using a machine to help you sleep, your doctor may suggest an alternate sleeping position.
- Chronic snoring. A lot of snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, but it can also happen on its own. If youre sleeping with a partner, they may ask you to stop sleeping on your back because it makes you more likely to snore loudly and annoy anyone in the room.
Preventing Side Sleeping Before Its Safe
Your baby already has a mind of their own and you wouldnt want it any other way. But you do want to prevent them from sleeping on their side before it is safe enough to do so. Try these tips:
- Use a firm sleep surface. Make sure your babys crib, bassinet, or playpen has a firm mattress. This means that your baby shouldnt leave an imprint on it. Avoid softer mattresses that allow your baby to sink in slightly. This makes it easier to roll to the side.
- Use a video baby monitor. Dont rely on just any kind of monitor get a direct visual on your baby once theyre in their own room. Monitors may help give you the heads-up that your baby is on the move to side sleeping.
- Swaddle your baby until they can roll over. Wrapping your baby like a burrito may help them sleep more comfortably on their back. Make sure to swaddle loose enough that they can easily move their hips. And know when to stop swaddling becomes a risk when your baby can roll.
- Try a sleep sack. If your baby cant stand being swaddled, try a sleep sack. Its also a good intermediate step. These look like tiny little sleeping bags that your baby wears to sleep. You can find arms-free versions that are safer for babies that can roll, but the sack itself might help your baby stay asleep longer without moving over onto their side.
Similarly, avoid other bulky or moveable things in the crib that might get caught between your sweet one and the crib. These include:
- large teddy bears and stuffed toys
- bumper pads
You May Like: When Do Newborns Start Sleeping Better
Dont Put Off Sleep Training Because The Baby Is Teething
Newsflash: Your baby is always teething. Or sick with a cold. Or coming down with something. Or recovering from something. Or over-tired. Or suffering from Unexplained Fussy Baby Syndrome. If youre hoping to sleep trainplenty of parents dontits important to know that it may never feel like the right time. Experts say its easiest to sleep train a baby between the ages of six and 12 months, but use your judgment and listen to your gut. If youre not fully committed to sleep training before you start, you wont stick to it.
Why Sleeping On The Back Is Safest For Babies
While research is still underway, studies suggest that babies get less oxygen and get rid of less carbon dioxide when they sleep on their bellies. In other words, while on their stomachs, an infant is only able to re-breath air from a small pocket of bedding pulled up around the nose.
Other findings point to the fact that many babies who die from SIDS have underdeveloped regions of their brain, perhaps areas that prevent them from waking up to remove themselves from danger . And since it’s impossible to figure out which babies won’t arouse normally, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Since 1992, when the AAP began recommending that all newborn babies be put to sleep on their backs, during naps, and at nighttime, the annual SIDS rate has declined more than 50 percent. And there’s been no increase in choking or aspirating since that time.
Also Check: How Much Ml Formula For Newborn
Helping Your Baby Sleep
You may have started a bedtime routine that you’re sticking to. If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to start. Soothing activities that lead up to “night-night” time can help relax your baby. A warm bath followed by stories or singing will signal an end to the day, and these same activities can be used at bedtime for years to come.
You’ll want your baby to fall asleep on his or her own. This may mean doing your nighttime routine and putting the baby into the crib while he or she is drowsy but still awake. If your baby cries, stay away for a few minutes. Your baby may settle down and go to sleep.
If the crying continues, soothe your baby for a moment without picking him or her up. This may go on a few times until your baby figures out that the crying is not getting results. This can be tough for parents, since it’s upsetting to hear your baby cry. If you know your baby is safe , it’s OK to give him or her time to settle down.
Sleep Better On Your Back
Learning how to sleep on your back the right way means taking advantage of all the benefits while learning to leave the drawbacks behind.There are a few simple things you can do to enjoy backside sleeping without any morning back pain or breathing problems.
- Pillow beneath your knees. The Mayo Clinic recommends a pillow beneath the knees for anyone who sleeps on their back. This helps keep a slight curve in your lower back and reduces the pressure on your hips.
- Low to mid-height head pillow. Dont use a super full pillow. This pushes your head and neck forward too far to keep your neck straight.
- Firm mattress. Back sleepers may also want to stick with a firm mattress. Since youre spreading out all of your body weight at once, a firm mattress can contour your body while still offering ample support.
- Extra pillows. It can be difficult to make the switch from sleeping on your stomach or side to sleeping on your back. Creating an alley of sorts with pillows flanking you helps you transition.
You May Like: How Does Custody Work With A Newborn