Is It Ok For Newborn To Sleep On Side

Not Recommended For Sleep

My newborn baby rolled to the side while asleep – is that ok?!?!?!

Using baby slings and carriers is popular, and babies often fall asleep while being carried in them. If you use one, be sure to use it safely. Babies, especially who are less than 4 months old, or who were born prematurely or with a medical condition, have poor neck control and are at a higher risk of suffocation.

Keep your baby visible at all times. Make sure your baby is in an upright position. You should be able to see your babys face make sure it is not pressed into your body, your clothes or the carrier. Check your baby often and watch for overheating. For more information, visit .

Overheating increases your babys risk of SIDS

Swaddling is sometimes used to calm babies, but can also be a risk. Babies can get tangled or covered in the blanket if it comes loose, or can roll onto their tummy while still swaddled. These are risks for suffocation. If you swaddle your baby, be sure to do it safely:

  • Use a lightweight blanket. Make sure it stays well away from the babys nose and mouth.
  • Wrap your baby so they can still move their hips and legs.
  • Leave your babys hands free so they can show you when they are hungry.
  • It is very important to stop swaddling before your baby can roll. Swaddling is not safe for babies when they are on their tummies.

But Theres An Exception

The caveat to this rule is if you are still swaddling your baby. When you see early signs of rolling back to belly, such as rolling to their side, it is safest to begin the process of transitioning out of the swaddle. Trust me, you dont want that whole hot mess that happens if you have to ditch the swaddle and deal with middle-of-the-night rolls all at once. I recommend the Love to Dream Swaddle Up Transition Bag. It continues to decrease the effects of the startle reflex while also allowing for ditching the swaddle one arm at a time. I find that babys hands being near their face and mouth in this swaddle are also soothing to them and helps ease this big transition.

If your baby is rolling to their belly but not yet from tummy to back, consider using the Merlins Magic Sleep Suit. It will encourage safe back sleeping while you continue to work on rolling tummy to back during playtime.

Why Should Babies Not Sleep On Their Side

So we know why we should not place our babies down on their tummy to sleep, but why should babies not sleep on their side?

While it may seem less dangerous, it can still put babies in a vulnerable position and they could easily roll to their belly before they have the motor skills or strength to protect their airway while on their belly.

Studies have found that the side sleep position is unstable and increases the chance that infants will roll onto their stomachs.

Some other problems that side sleeping can lead to are:

  • Plagiocephaly is common. According to Healthline, A babys skull bones dont fully fuse and harden until several months after birth. Soft, pliable bones allow for easier passage through the birth canal and gives a babys brain ample room to grow.The soft bones also mean that a babys head can change shape. One common cause for flat head syndrome is regularly sleeping or lying in the same position.Yes, this is a cosmetic issue more than anything, however it can also lead to other issues like chronic ear infections because it can make the canals smaller and harder to drain fluid from.

Can back sleeping also cause plagiocephaly? Yes, absolutely. Positional plagiocephaly results from an infant being placed in the same position for long periods of time.

Brachycephaly may occur along with positional plagiocephaly.

The primary causes of positional plagiocephaly and brachycephaly are:

Techniques for repositioning include:

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Do Not Place Unnecessary Support Structures On The Bed:

Do not place support structures on the cribor the bed of the baby. These structures could be anything from home pillows to specially-made crib bumpers that have no proven record to provide any benefit or safety to the sleeping baby. Certain support structures like pillows may even cause the baby to roll over to the side in case he moves during his sleep.

Helping Your Baby Sleep

Can My Newborns Sleep On Their Side?

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.

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Beware Of Medical Claims About Sleep Positioners

Some manufacturers have advertised that their sleep positioners prevent SIDS gastroesophageal reflux disease , in which stomach acids back up into the esophagus or flat head syndrome , a deformation caused by pressure on one part of the skull.

Here are the facts:

The FDA intends to take action against device manufacturers who make unproven medical claims about their products. You can do your part to keep your baby safe by not using sleep positioners.

You can report an incident or injury from an infant sleep positioner to the FDAs MedWatch program.

How Much Sleep’s Normal

Theres no normal amount of sleep and some babies sleep more than others. New babies sleep a lot sometimes as much as 18 hours a day for the first month or so. But your baby probably wont sleep for more than a few hours at a time to begin with.

If your baby seems unusually sleepy they might be unwell. Always trust your instincts and get medical advice if youre worried.

Dont expect your baby to sleep several times a day and wake only for feeds and to smile, there will be some crying and grumbling.

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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.

Key Points On Why Back To Sleep Is Safest:

When is it safe to let your baby sleep on their stomach?
  • 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 .

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The Back Sleeping Position Is Best For Preterm Babies

Preterm babies are at increased risk for SUDI, including SIDS, compared to full term babies.49-51 Studies in the UK and New Zealand have reported that at least four times as many SIDS infants were born preterm compared to control infants who did not die and these proportional differences have remained unchanged since the introduction of public campaigns for reducing the risks.52-53 The association between the prone sleeping position and SIDS among low birth weight babies is equal to or stronger than that in babies born at term.27 It has been suggested that if the mothers of preterm or low birth weight infants followed the safe sleeping recommendations and all placed their infants supine in a cot by the parental bed, this would potentially reduce the overall SIDS rate by a further 20% 52.

Why The Right Position Is Important

The right position of sleep helps avoid SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Till your baby is one year old, he or she is at a risk of SIDS, therefore, as a mother you should always be alert about the sleeping habits of your baby.

Medical experts and pediatricians have their own recommendations and guidelines for safe sleeping habits of babies. However, some babies might not conform to these standards and develop their own styles. Thus, the most pertinent question that still remains wide open is Is it safe for a baby to sleep on her chosen side?

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Baby Sleeping On Side Vs Back

Is it safe for babies to be put down to sleep on their sides or tummies? The short answer is no. You should put baby to sleep on his back from birth and continue to do so until he is 1 year old. While the incidence of SIDS is highest for the first six months, the recommendation of back to sleep applies for the whole first year.

Even with this basic message down-pat, you might be wondering why side and tummy sleeping positions are so risky before baby rolls himself over. Heres a look at the potential dangers.

Stomach sleeping increases the risk of SIDS up to 12.9 times, research shows. Side sleeping, too, makes SIDS more likely, though SIDS is still very rare, with an incidence rate of .035 percent, or 35 deaths in 100,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Infants tend to sleep more deeply on their stomachs, which experts suggest may mute their arousal responses. That could prevent them from waking up during normal episodes of sleep apnea, so they can resume normal breathing patterns.

Stomach or side sleeping can also set the stage for rebreathing, where a baby breathes in his own exhaled air, causing his oxygen levels to drop and his carbon dioxide levels to rise. Rebreathing might be even more likely to happen if a baby is sleeping on a soft mattress or with blankets, pillows or stuffed animals near his face.

Place Your Baby On Their Back To Sleep

Baby Sleeping on Side: What Can Happen and When Is It Safe?

Place your baby on their back to sleep from the very beginning for both day and night sleeps. This will reduce the risk of cot death.

It’s not as safe for babies to sleep on their side or tummy as on their back. Healthy babies placed on their backs are not more likely to choke.

Once your baby is old enough to roll over, there’s no need to worry if they turn onto their tummy or side while sleeping.

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My Side Sleeping Advice

Always place your baby on her back for all sleep times until your chubby is one year old. If your baby can roll both ways , it is then safe for your baby to sleep on her side.

Lindsey Hennigar – Sleep Consultant

Lindsey Hennigar is a certified pediatric sleep coach and owner of The Sleep Ranch with more than two years of sleep coaching experience. She has helped hundreds of families worldwide get the restorative sleep they need.

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.

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Tummy Time Is Always Good For Play

While you shouldnt put your baby on their tummy to SLEEP, always remember that it is crucial to their development to put them on their tummy to PLAY. With the dawn of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1994 came a rise in developmental delay due to parents fearing the tummy down position. As long as your baby is awake and supervised, tummy time play is not only okay, but it is vital to them cruising through their motor milestones with ease.

So whether youre here to be prepared or low key middle-of-the-night panicked, Im giving you a virtual hug around the neck. You got this!

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