Not everyone realizes that the baby’s sleeping position can affect the baby’s well-being and safety, but it does.
Everything can affect the baby’s health and safety, even the seemingly simple and taken-for-granted sleeping position.
There are several facts that suggest that babies are best when put on their backs – as well as the reasons.
But you also need to know that these suggestions are based on the general and standard condition, not babies with certain (medical) conditions – whose pediatricians may suggest certain positions to help them develop and grow.
Babies and SIDS
SIDS is short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is quite high in America alone.
The unexpected death often happens to babies – related to their sleeping positions.
Newborn babies don’t have the ability to remove themselves from dangerous positions because of their lack of movement ability.
When a baby is burrowed in a soft mattress, for instance, they won’t be able to move.
After all, babies don’t have the ability to save themselves – it is their parents’ job.
That’s why it is crucial to pay attention to the proper position and the surrounding environment of the baby.
The Deal about Baby’s Sleeping Position
There are several suggested best baby sleeping positions as well as the not-so-good ones.
But each position isn’t 100% true or perfect as each even has its own flaws – no matter how minor it is.
Back Sleeping Position
As it was mentioned before, the back is the most ideal position for babies, especially the newborn ones.
The healthy ones are better placed on the backs for night sleep, short resting periods, or naps.
There are several reasons for it:
This position was claimed to reduce SIDS because this position will keep the airways to stay open.
Since this position had been recommended in 1992, the rate of SIDS has been decreasing for more than 50%.
That’s why this position is campaigned as the best sleeping position for babies.
However, such a position isn’t 100% perfect.
There are several risks that are associated with such a position.
First, it may cause positional plagiocephaly, an issue where the head is misshapen or flattened.
It may also cause brachycephaly, an issue of the flattening back of the skill.
To avoid such a thing, parents need to reposition the head.
Parents can do these things:
- They can reduce the spent time (of the babies) in car-seats or carriers
- They can increase tummy time moment when the baby is awake
- They can do more cuddle time
- They can make the baby rest or sleep on the other side than the flat side
- They can change the baby’s direction in the crib, so the babies don’t have to point to one direction only or to view only the same thing
Stomach Sleeping Position
There are several theories or reasons why this position may not be the best one for the babies, especially the newborn ones.
First, the position is said to press the baby’s jaw which can lead to restrictive breath and reduced airway access.
Second, most parents are worried that the baby may suffocate, especially if the mattress is super soft.
Third, in prone position and situation, it is possible that the baby’s face would be too close to the sheets, which may lead to them having difficulty in breathing.
And then, there is a constant concern that the babies may breathe in the microbes that are within the mattress.
However, sleeping on the stomach isn’t always bad.
There are several medical conditions where doctors may suggest this position for the babies.
The conditions include:
- Colic. Doctors believe that babies with colic can relieve the gas better with this position. But don’t do it right away after feeding. You need to give it enough time between the feeding time and sleeping time.
- Vomit. Babies who often vomit will be safer when sleeping on the stomach. When babies sleep on their back and they vomit, they may choke from their own vomit – they aren’t strong enough to turn their heads. But as the baby grows older and they can move their heads, they can always turn the heads aside and throw out the stomach content. But it is only applicable for older babies.
- Gastroesophageal reflux, a type of upper-airway malformation, such as Pierre Robin Syndrome. Such a condition can lead to acute obstruction of the airway. But especially, for this reason, you need to consult a professional pediatrician to really get the right advice. It’s better to have a second, or even third and fourth, opinion.
The decision about this position should be considered on the baby’s condition and sleeping habits.
Like me, personally, my second baby liked this position so much.
She slept better and longer in this position, whereas my first baby preferred the sleep on the back position.
Naturally, I always observed the second baby’s condition.
If you aren’t sure about it, then don’t do it.
Again, each baby is different and they have their own preference too.
Always adjust it to your baby’s condition, preference, and habits.
Side Sleeping Position
This is considered the riskiest position for babies because they may finally roll and then sleep on their stomach – significantly increasing SIDS risks.
Safe Sleeping Tips
- Don’t put the babies on soft surfaces, like lamb’s wool, pillow, waterbed, sofa, or mattress.
- Make sure that they sleep on a soft but firm surface so the possibility of SIDS can be minimized
- Never cover the baby’s face or head. It is also possible not to cover the baby with anything. Any cover can potentially put them in danger. Make sure that they wear something comfy – not too warm and not too cold either.
- If you put the baby in a crib, make sure that it is simple. No quilts, comforter, or wedges that can put them in danger
- Maintain a comfortable environment. It should be dark and comfortable with minimal noise as little as possible. Using white noise is also possible to help the baby sleeps better.
In the overall end, make sure that the babies are comfortable and they are within a good position.
The matter of baby sleeping position shouldn’t be considered lightly or taken for granted.