You’ve just brought your newborn home, and all of the morning sickness, discomfort, and labor pain was worth it.
Your child is perfect in your eyes, and you cherish them.
Now that you’re home, you start worrying about safe sleeping positions.
Some people swear that your newborn sleeping on side is the best way for them to sleep, others claim that sleeping on their stomachs or back is the best.
This article will go over which position is safe for your newborn to sleep on, along with what SIDS is and how to prevent this tragedy from happening to your family.
- What is SIDS?
- What is the Best Way to Decrease the Risk of SIDS?
- Is it Okay if My Newborn Sleeps on Their Side?
- What Should I Do If I Notice My Newborn Rolling to Their Side or Tummy When They Sleep?
- What is the Safest Sleeping Position for My Newborn and Why?
What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the unexplained death of a newborn during sleep. Before this happened, the baby was a healthy child under one year old. The cause of SIDS is still largely unknown, but it is hypothesized that SIDS could be due to an abnormality in your infant’s brain. Specifically, the area to do with breathing and waking up. It is believed that there are both environmental and physical factors that can contribute to SIDS, and they are listed below.
- Co-Sleeping. The SIDS risk is decreased if the infant sleeps in the parent’s room. However, if they’re placed on the bed with the parents, there are more soft surfaces to restrict their airways.
- Incorrect Sleeping Positions. A baby that is put in a wrong sleeping position usually can’t move themselves if they have problems. If they’re set incorrectly, they can have trouble breathing, or even stop breathing altogether.
- Sleeping on Soft Surfaces. If a baby is placed face down on a soft comforter or surface, their airway can become blocked. If you drape a blanket over an infant’s head, their airway could also end up restricted.
- Abnormalities in the Brain. As stated above, it is believed that infants who are born with brain problems are at a higher risk of SIDS. The part of the brain that helps to control breathing while sleeping is too immature to function as it is supposed to, and this results in tragedy.
- Lower Birth Weight. A baby that is part of multiple births, or born prematurely has a lower birth weight. There is also an increased chance that the child’s brain isn’t fully developed yet.
- Respiratory Issues. A cold can contribute to a newborn having respiratory problems, and this can increase the chances of SIDS.
Check this video bellow for more information, higher risk by gender and race:
You can also read: 5 Reasons a Baby Wakes Up Crying Hysterically at Night.
What is the Best Way to Decrease the Risk of SIDS?
There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of your baby falling victim to SIDS. The first thing is to place them on their backs to sleep every time you put them down for a nap for the night. The second thing you can do is to have a designated sleeping area for your baby that isn’t a plush surface. You should also make sure there is no loose bedding, toys, or soft objects in the designated sleeping area. These steps can take a lot of the worry out of putting your baby to sleep safely and effectively.
Is it Okay if My Newborn Sleeps on Their Side?
If you swaddle your infant, you may notice them rolling onto their sides. This is natural, and rolling over is a progressive step in your baby’s development. Your newborn sleeping on side is fine, as long as you don’t place them there, and they roll that way themselves. You will want to pay more attention to your child if you notice the rolling onto their sides, and if they’re still swaddled, it is a sign that it’s time to begin phasing swaddling out. The phasing out process usually starts at around two months.
I want to mention that at this day the AAP has labeled swaddling an “unsafe” practice in childcare settings, and in Minnesota swaddling is illegal for child care centers since 2012. You can read more about the Swaddling ban here!
What Should I Do If I Notice My Newborn Sleeping on Side or Rolling to Their Tummy When They Sleep?
You newborn may decide that they don’t want to sleep on their back and begin rolling onto their sides or tummies. Your newborn sleeping on side or rolling over is acceptable if they do it themselves after you’ve placed them on their backs. This is one instance where it is okay to leave them there for the duration of the time they’ll sleep. If you newborn is still swaddled and starts rolling to their sides, there is an increased risk that they’ll roll onto their stomach and not be able to breathe. If you’re afraid of this happening, you can either look into alternative swaddling methods or start phasing them out of swaddling altogether. Do not sandwich your child between pillows in an attempt to keep them on their backs; this can present bigger hazards.
What is the Safest Sleeping Position for My Newborn and Why?
According to the NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development), the best position for baby to sleep is on their backs. This position can decrease the chances of your child not being able to breathe properly, as well as lower the risk of fevers, stuffy noses, and respiratory issues. Placing your newborn on their back to sleep is essential in the first year of your newborn’s life because this is the time frame that the risk of death by SIDS is at its highest point. Your baby might not like sleeping on their back right away, but the sooner you start putting them in this position, the quicker they will get used to it.
Related article: What to Do if Your Baby Wakes Up Every Hour at Night?
Your newborn and your children are the most important things in your life. You want to protect them from anything and everything that might hurt them. If you follow the advice and steps that are listed in this article, you can increase the chances of your newborn having a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.
Video credits: Osmose