Baby Sleeping Posture

Most adults are fully aware of the importance of good baby sleeping posture-a Monday morning with a stiff neck is more than sufficient to get the point across! For babies, however, the need is even greater as their bones, muscles and general body shape are all changing and developing each and every night. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of all parents to ensure their baby sleeping position is correct, but what exactly is the best possible position a baby can sleep in?

What’s the Best Baby Sleeping Posture?

One of the most frightening realities all parents must face is that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) takes place more often inthe babies who sleep on their stomach, also known as prone position. As such, it’s generally advised that stomach-sleeping should be written-off entirely andbabies should be encouraged to sleep on their backs. Babies sleeping on their sides are also known to be at greater risk of SIDS than back-sleeping babies. Other factors have also been highlighted as potential dangerous during SIDS research, including loose bedding, overly soft sleeping surfaces and any conditions in which the baby will become too hot while asleep.

Babies left to sleep on their stomachs while on very soft bedding areas are said to be at the highest risk of SIDS of all.Various other external factors also come into play, including whether or not the parents of the baby smoke, if the baby was delivered prematurely and whether or not immediate post-natal care was sufficient, all of which can influence SIDS risk.

Since back-sleeping became the official recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics,the annual rate of babies losing their lives to SIDS has plummeted by over 50%. Some parents worry that a baby may be more likely to choke while sleeping on their backs, but evidence suggests that vomiting while asleep is in fact more common when a baby sleeps on his or her belly.

Another significant concern shared by millions of parents is that the flat head syndrome–a condition some believe is caused by back sleeping. The problem is that though prior studies have indeed linked back sleeping babies with an elevated risk of FHS, there are considerably more benefits and fewer dangers in doing so.

Want to see a visual guide to learn baby sleeping posture for a good night’s sleep? Check out the video here:

Safety Tips on Baby Sleeping

In terms of ensuring your baby sleeps safeat night, there are some rules to follow and tips to bear in mind that take precedence over others.

1. Bedding

  • Avoid overly soft sleeping areas, instead selecting firm and tight-fitting mattresses onto which baby should be placed back-down.
  • Get rid of all excess accessories, toys and blankets when baby will be sleeping – basically everything apart from the mattress and bedding.
  • Blankets can be replaced with sleepers, which are not only much more convenient but also safer.
  • Keep an eye on your baby’s head position during sleep and ensure he/she doesn’t slip under the covers.
  • Pull blankets up only as far as your baby’s chest, never right up to their head.
  • Do not allow your baby to sleep on standard sofas, waterbeds, pillows or any other soft surfaces.
  • Pacifiers have been linked with lower rates of SIDS, and therefore, should be offered to all babies while sleeping, though not forced upon them.

2. Room Sharing

Official guidelines suggest that room sharing is a great idea, but parents should not be tempted to share an actual bed with their baby.

  • For the first six months after the baby’s birth, consider placing the crib close to your own bed for the sake of both convenience and peace of mind.
  • Twins should not be allowed to share the same bed, nor should older babies be allowed to sleep with younger siblings.
  • Resting with your baby or carrying out a feeding in your own bed is fine, but they should be returned to their own bed for sleep.
  • Bed sharing can be lethal if either or both of the parents smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs.

3. Preventions for SIDS

In terms of preventing SIDS, there are certain simple steps any parent can take for the safety of their infant.

  • Solid links have been drawn between breastfeeding and a lower risk of SIDS, therefore comes highly recommended.
  • Immunization can reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS by over 50%, therefore it is considered essential.
  • Before making any adjustments to a baby’s crib or daily sleeping position, consult an expert.
  • Don’t use other baby seats, carriers and strollers for regular napping during daytime as very few promote a healthy sleeping position.
  • Use only those accessories, monitors, positioners and mattresses that have been officially certified as 100% safe for use by professionals.
  • Never place a crib or sleeping area within reach of any other external hazards such as cables or sharp objects.

Myths & Facts About Baby Sleep That You Should Know

There are so many conflicting myths on the subject of healthy sleep for infants. Some examples are of course more common and detrimental than others. The followings are some of the examples.

Myth

Facts

Explanation

You’re able to control when your baby sleeps and how long he or she sleeps.

You don’t get to say in your baby’s natural sleep patterns–you can only wake them up unnaturally if you choose to.

Creating a sleep schedule is possible as a child grows, but for newborns it is totally impossible.

Swaddling doesn’t really work, it’s outdated and ineffective.

If done properly, it’s one of the most effective ways of soothing and comforting a baby.

Swaddling is an old-time technique for comforting infants, and it doesn’t present the risk of overheating which most new parents worry about.

Napping in strollers, carriers and car seats doesn’t count as restful sleep.

No matter where your child falls asleep, sleep is sleep!

Just as long as your baby is in a safe sleeping position, it doesn’t matter where they fall asleep.

A bedtime bottle with added rice cereal means a restful night.

In reality, there’s simply no evidence at all to support this theory.

It may work, or it may make things even more difficult for the baby’s parents, so there’s really nothing to gain by trying.