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5 Helpful Tips To Ensure That Your Baby Does Not Sleep On His Side

4 min read

Watching the baby sleep peacefully is the most pleasant sight for any parent. It is so true that a well-slept baby is a happy baby. The position in which the baby sleeps is also as important as a good sleep for a new born baby. As a mother you should always be alert about the sleeping habits of your baby and take care of their sleeping position, especially during the initial few months after the birth.
baby sleeping on side

Is It Safe For Your Baby To Sleep On One Side?

Many pediatricians and medical specialists insist that the babies should sleep on their back especially during the first six months of their life. Nevertheless, some babies might not follow this recommended posture and develop their own sleeping style. Thus, the most relevant question that still remains wide open is “Is it safe for a baby to sleep on one side?”
No, it is not safe for a baby to sleep on one side. Here are two reasons why:

  • SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: SIDS refers to the sudden death of otherwise healthy infants, usually under six months of age. Sleeping position is one of the most important risk factors associated with SIDS, and for this reason, the syndrome is also known as cot death or crib death. While the causes of SIDS are not yet known, it is seen that infants who sleep on their tummy face a higher risk of SIDS than the babies who sleep on their back. And this is the reason why we say sleeping on one side is not safe for your child – because, it is easy for the baby who is sleeping on his side to roll onto his tummy and this can be dangerous. Read more about SIDS here: What Is SIDS?
  • Flat Spots: Since babies have soft heads, if they sleep in the same position for a long time, then their soft skull flattens out at that spot, which could result in problems in the appearance of babies’ heads. While there are no medical implications to flat spots, many parents worry about the shape of their babies’ heads. When you sleep on one side, then the skull plates of that side will leave a flat spot there, giving the baby an asymmetrical appearance. Now, sleeping on the back can cause flat spots, however, they get rectified themselves as the baby grows. Flat spots on the side of the head are slightly more difficult to reposition by itself. Read more about flat spots here: What Are The Soft Spots On My Baby’s Head?

While flat spots are not really any reason to worry, SIDS definitely should get your antennas up. This is serious stuff guys. We hear many parents saying that “my baby sleeps on his side, already like a grown up” or that “my baby is more comfortable on his side, and his comfort matters”. Let us reiterate – comfort is not more important than safety. A good night’s sleep does not trump being alive. And we are very sure your baby will give you many reasons to be proud of, but let “sleeping on his side from birth” be not one of them.
So, what if your baby prefers to sleep on his side. What do you do then?
baby sleeping

5 Helpful Tips To Ensure That Your Baby Does Not Sleep On His Side
  1. Prevention is better than a work-around. From birth, put your baby to sleep on his back. Do not let him experience the comfort of sleeping on his side. This will ensure that a habit is not initiated
  2. Ensure your baby gets a lot of tummy play time when he is awake
  3. Always change your baby’s position to sleeping on back, if you notice a deviation
  4. Even when sleeping on the back, make sure you move your baby’s head position often to avoid flat spots
  5. If a baby falls asleep on his side, then keep a pillow wedge in front of him so that he does not roll onto his tummy by mistake. Never keep a wedge on his back because that will make it easier for him to slip into a tummy down position

Even during the daytime naps, make sure that your baby sleeps on his back rather than on the side. Under certain medical circumstances your doctor might advise to make your baby sleep on his side or tummy. But remember that this is only in special medical cases and in such the mother has to be very vigilant.
The danger of SIDS drop drastically after the baby turns six months and disappear completely after baby turns a year old. This is because, by the time they turn six months, they can comfortably move from a back position to a tummy position, and vice versa if they are distressed. They are also more capable of moving their head and neck from one direction to another if something, like a pillow, is suffocating them. So, it is ok for babies above six months to sleep on their sides. However, exercise caution in this case. And once the baby turns one year, then do not worry about the sleeping position at all.
Sleeping position is just one of the many things you need to know and take care of with respect to your baby’s sleep. To know more about other topics, read our articles on Baby Sleep and Rest

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