Can Newborn Babies Sleep On Their Side

What To Do If Rolling Over Wakes Them Up

Baby Sleeping on Side – What Can Happen & How to Stop It

Some babies wake up when they roll over or are so excited about their new skill that they continually roll in bed.

It is common for sleep habits to change when infants master new skills. Most babies eventually learn to settle back down sometimes with help from a parent or caregiver and sometimes on their own.

It may be necessary to change some of an infants sleep routine, such as by moving them to a crib and stopping swaddling. However, maintaining as much of the old routine as possible may help the baby adjust to their newfound independence.

To improve the babys sleep quality, people can try:

  • putting the infant to sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
  • using a white noise machine or shushing the infant back to sleep
  • establishing a predictable bedtime routine
  • putting the infant to bed at the same time each night

safest .

Babies who can roll can then find their own sleep position. It is safe for them to sleep on the stomach or side if they choose to, though they should always start on their back.

Do Not Let Your Baby’s Head Become Covered

Babies whose heads are covered with bedding are at an increased risk of SIDS.

To prevent your baby wriggling down under the covers, place them in the “feet to foot” position. This means their feet are at the end of the crib, cot or moses basket.

To put your baby in the feet to foot position:

  • tuck the covers in securely under your baby’s arms so they cannot slip over their head use 1 or more layers of lightweight blankets
  • use a baby mattress that’s firm, flat, well-fitting, clean and waterproof on the outside cover the mattress with a single sheet
  • do not use duvets, quilts, baby nests, wedges, bedding rolls or pillows

If you use a sling or carrier, make sure you use it safely.

Safe Infant Sleeping Bag

Infant sleeping bags can help reduce the risk of sudden death and also prevent arms and legs from getting trapped in the cot rails.

A safe infant sleeping bag is made in such a way that the baby cannot slip inside the bag and become completely covered. The sleeping bag should be the correct size for the baby, with a fitted neck, armholes and no hood.

When using a sleeping bag, ensure the baby is dressed according to the room temperature and do not use sleeping bags with quilts or doonas. If additional warmth is needed, a light blanket is usually all that is necessary, but take care to tuck the blanket in firmly so it cannot ride up and cover baby’s head during sleep. Another way to provide additional warmth is to dress your baby in layers of clothing inside the sleeping bag to keep baby warm.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Flat Head Syndrome

Flattened head syndrome usually is easy for parents to notice:

  • The back of the baby’s head is flatter on one side.
  • The baby usually has less hair on that part of the head.
  • When looking down at the baby’s head, the ear on the flattened side may look pushed forward.

In severe cases, the forehead might bulge on the side opposite from the flattening, and may look uneven. If torticollis is the cause, the neck, jaw, and face also might be uneven.

Should I Call My Doctor If Repositioning Isnt Helping

Can My Newborns Sleep On Their Side?

Flat head syndrome can be corrected or minimized with infant repositioning techniques. Starting early and staying consistent helps. If repositioning isnt working, or if your babys neck muscles seem tense, call your healthcare provider. Physical therapy or a helmet may help.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Repositioning is a useful technique to help babies recover from plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. You should never put a baby to sleep on the stomach or side positions associated with SIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about keeping your baby healthy while sleeping.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/12/2020.


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When Did The Back To Sleep Campaign Start

In the 1970s and 80s, stomach sleeping was highly encouraged by doctors as they thought this would prevent babies from choking in their sleep. Unfortunately, this is when cot death rose rapidly.

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all babies be placed on their back to sleep for the first year in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome .

The recommendations seem to have worked because SIDS deaths have decreased from 130.1 cases per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 39.4 in 2015.

SIDS is still the leading cause of death in babies one month to one year of age, so it is important to understand the research and recommendations behind safe sleep or placing babies on their back to sleep.

There is a ton of research and information in this blog about helping babies sleep safely.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Sids

To reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the same room as you, for the first 6 months
  • keep your baby’s head uncovered their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders
  • if wearing your baby in a sling or carrier, do not cover their head with the sling material or with a muslin
  • place your baby in the “feet to foot” position, with their feet at the end of the cot or moses basket
  • do not let your baby get too hot or cold
  • do not share a bed with your baby
  • never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
  • do not smoke during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby

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Why Is It Important That Your Baby Sleeps In The Right Position

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome refers to the sudden death of children who are under a year of age. SIDS usually occurs as a direct result of fatal sleeping accidents in infants, so it is extremely important to ensure that your child uses a safe sleeping pattern. SIDS mainly occurs when the baby is sleeping, too. Therefore, it is imperative that the child always sleeps in the right position.

My Baby Prefers To Sleep On Tummy Is This Ok

How can I help my baby sleep on both sides?

Parents are often concerned when their child prefers to sleep on their tummy. Unless your doctor says otherwise, its best to let your baby sleep in a position she prefers. If baby doesnt settle well or stay on her back or side, front sleeping is all right. Also, you may find that your baby prefers different sleep positions at different ages. After all, there is meaningful wisdom of the body, even in a baby. If baby repeatedly doesnt settle in a certain sleeping position, this may be a clue that this position may not be the safest for this individual baby. This is just one example of how babies often try to tell us what is in their best interest. Parents should not be afraid to listen.

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Do Babies Like To Sleep On Their Stomachs

Some babies may prefer to sleep on their stomachs. Even so, you should always place your baby in his crib on his back. If during sleep your baby ends up rolling onto her stomach or side, return her to her back. Continue to do this until your baby is older and can confidently roll both ways .

How To Get A Baby To Stop Sleeping On His Side

If it seems like your newborn just cant sleep comfortably on his back, hes not alone. Many babies seem to feel more secure snoozing on their bellies or their sides.

If thats the case, there are things you can do to try to keep your baby both happy and safe while he rests. From the day you bring him home, try these strategies for getting your baby to sleep on his back .

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The Decision Whether To Cosleep With Your Baby Is Extremely Controversialand There Are Two Sides To The Story

Few parenting conversations in early childhood elicit as much angst and judgment as the one about our childrens sleep: Where should they sleep, and how do we get them to sleep through the night? We label newborn babies as good, or not, depending on how much they disturb us in the nighttime, or we believe babies sleep is a reflection of our parenting competence.

But our beliefs and decisions about childrens sleep are more a reflection of the culture we live in than the scientific evidence for whats best for children, says anthropologist James J. McKenna, in many of his 150 scientific articles on childrens sleep. McKenna is director emeritus of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions. He has devoted his career to understanding what happens to babies and their caregivers when they sleep together versus apart.

McKennas conclusions, supported by research from other anthropologists and developmental scientists over the last 30 years, have thrown him into direct conflict with the American Academy of Pediatrics over recommendations about where babies should sleep. Separately, say the pediatricians, while McKenna and his colleagues say, Together, but safely. McKennas easy-to-read book offers important insights about how cosleeping can be made safe and what kind of benefits it might promote for childrens development and parents well-being.

The Psychological Benefits Of Cosleeping

Can A 2 Week Old Baby Sleep On Their Side

Meanwhile, anthropologists observed that all mammals and primates, as well as the majority of non-Western societies around the world, coslept. Therefore, it was likely that the practice had some biological advantage.

One of McKenna and his colleagues greatest scientific contributions has been to show how parents serve as a kind of biological jumper cable, or outsourced regulator, to a newborn baby when she is completing her gestation outside her mothers body. When parents and babies sleep together, their heart rates, brain waves, sleep states, oxygen levels, temperature, and breathing influence one another.

To a biological anthropologist, this mutual influence implies that the offsprings growth is intended to occur most safely inside that biological system, near an adults body, especially in the first few months of life while the babys own physiology is the most immature. For example, animal studies found that when baby monkeys were separated from their mothers, their bodies went into severe stress. A small study of 25 four- to ten-month-old babies who were separated for sleep training showed that even though the babies behavior quieted on the third night, their levels of cortisol remained high.

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How To Prevent Side

Thereâs no way to prevent your baby from rolling onto her side or stomach during sleep, but what you can do is ensure that you always put her down to sleep on her back.If she happens to roll onto her side or stomach, gently return her to her back. Keep doing this during the first year until you are confident your baby can roll herself over both ways without any difficulty.

Side Sleeping And Torticollis Risk

Torti, what? It may sound unfamiliar, but if youve ever woken up with a sprain in your neck from sleeping funny, you already know what torticollis is. Unfortunately, newborns can also get a kind of torticollis .

It most commonly happens from birth but can develop up to 3 months later. When it develops after birth, it can be because your baby sleeps on their side, which is less supportive for the neck and head.

Torticollis in babies can be hard to miss because they dont yet move their necks very much. But if your sweet little one has this neck condition, you may notice signs like:

  • tilting the head in one direction
  • preferring to breastfeed on one side only
  • moving their eyes to look over their shoulder at you rather than turning their head to follow you
  • being unable to turn the head completely

Torticollis can also affect how your baby sleeps. Your baby may prefer sleeping on one side or turning their head to the same side every night to be more comfortable. But this isnt ideal. Continue to place your baby on their back.

Talk to your babys pediatrician if you notice any of the symptoms of torticollis. It can often be treated with neck-strengthening exercises that you do with your baby at home. A physical therapist can also help. Youll need follow-up appointments with your babys doctor.

Harlequin color change happens because blood pools in the smaller blood vessels on the side that the baby is lying on. It goes away as the baby grows.

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At What Age Can Your Baby Sleep On His Stomach

After your baby turns 1, you should still place your baby in her crib on her back. During sleep she can roll over into any sleeping position she prefers, including sleeping on her stomach.Itâs OK for your baby to be on his stomach when he’s awake in the daytime during a head-and-neck-strengthening practice called tummy time. Be sure tummy time sessions are supervised at all times by you or another adult.

Join The Conversation On Cnn Parenting’s Facebook Page

My son sleeps better on his side or tummy, but I’m scared of SIDS. What can I do?
  • See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Parenting on.
  • Please join me in October and all year long by telling new parents about exhaustions role in sudden unexplained infant death and by sharing the sleep-boosting tips mentioned here. I am confident that we will dramatically improve the health of American parents and babies as we put more energy and emphasis on helping parents promote better infant sleep.

    Dr. Harvey Karp is the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and founder and CEO of, the maker of innovative tools to help babies sleep.

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    Sudi Including Sids And Fatal Sleeping Accidents: Risk Factors

    When a baby dies unexpectedly and for no obvious reason, its often described as sudden unexpected death in infancy . SUDI is a broad term that includes SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents.

    Deaths from SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents have decreased a lot in Australia. This is because we understand more about safe sleeping practices for our babies, and weve been following these practices. These safe sleeping practices can reduce the risk of SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents.

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