When you have a newborn baby it is very important as new parents to know about best and safest sleeping position for the baby. Why should we consider safe sleeping positions?
Because there is something called as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) which we don’t know much about. In short, SIDS is suddenly caused infant’s death during sleep due to unexplainable reasons. If you want to know more about this please click SIDS.
The most effective and safest sleeping position to avoid this risk is to make the baby sleep on it’s back.
Three common sleeping positions generally seen in babies are :
- On their back
- Sleeping on their stomach
- On their sides
Let us see a little detail about each of these sleeping positions.
Sleeping on back – Safest sleeping position
You should place the baby on it’s back whenever they nap or sleep at night. The reason behind this is that it keeps the airways open. Hence reducing the chances of suffocation.
The only disadvantage of this sleeping position is that babies might develop flat head spaces on their head due to sleeping in same position for long time. This is called as positional plagiocephaly. But you can rectify this by supporting their head with proper pillows which are specially designed for babies. In India we generally get the kids pillows made of Rai which will help keep their beautiful little heads round in shape.
Sleeping on stomach
There are a few reason why babies sleeping on their stomach in early days is discouraged by doctors. It puts pressure on baby’s mouth reducing the airway which in turn can cause difficulty in breathing. In the initial days if the baby sleeps on it’s stomach, there are possibilities that he or she could suffocate because they won’t be able to lift their heads to breathe or to cry in discomfort.
Also another side effect is that the baby will be breathing the same oxygen and also the microbes in the mattress as it’s right under it’s nose.
Sleeping on sides
Sleeping on sides seems dangerous because sometimes they might just by mistake turn onto their stomach and sleep that way.
Some doctors suggest you to put babies to sleep on sides only after feeding if they have not burped. This is so if they try to vomit it will come out directly and not go in again, which might cause the baby to choke. So the best way is to turn the baby onto it’s back after some time on their sides.
So you see putting the baby on the back for sleep is the best. You can sleep without any worries in this case. You should check on your baby at a regular intervals during the night time in case you are worried about your baby’s safety. This helped me sleep better knowing my baby is safe. I hope it helps you too.
Please note it is okay for babies to sleep on their stomach once they know how to lift their head to comfort their breathing or cry for help. My little one prefers to sleep on his stomach since he has started rolling over. Generally after midnight he would roll over onto his stomach and will keep changing positions throughout the night.
Let them choose their comfortable sleep position by themselves, so it will help them sleep longer. The sleep positions will keep changing as they grow.
Some tips to make the babies comfortable when they sleep and to avoid flat head syndrome are:
Increase “Tummy time” of your baby when he or she is awake.
Keep changing the baby’s head position while sleeping.
There are pillows available in the market specially designed to avoid developing any flat spots on baby’s head. You can use these pillows when the baby sleeps for long hours.
You can give them one or two naps on rockers or your chest or lap.
Give them regular cuddle times so as to avoid prolonged lying on their back in the same position.
Keep changing the direction of the cradle/crib if the baby tends to keep looking at something regularly.
Avoid loose and soft bedding which might lead to suffocation.
Please do not keep any soft toys/comforters in the crib with a sleeping baby
Swaddle them in baby blankets so it will keep them cozy and warm and they might sleep longer.
Keep the temperature of the room regulated. It should neither be too hot nor too cold. Also please dress the baby according to the temperature without too many layers.
If you want to know more about “Flat head syndrome” or “positional plagiocephaly” please refer the below link.