When I became a first time parent, everything was unknown to me, from how my baby would develop to what sleep positions I should put him in. I heard all the sad stories about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), so I knew I didn’t want to put my newborn into the wrong sleeping position to further the risk. Now that I’ve had three children, I’ve grown to feel pretty confident that I made the right choices putting them to sleep in positions that were comfortable and safe for them. This article will detail a couple of the best infant sleep positions for your baby.
Sleep Position #1: On Infant’s Back
The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses having infants sleep on their back and claims it is the top way for your newborn to sleep. It helps reduce the risk of SIDS, and every parent wants to avoid that. SIDS has gone down by over 50% since The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with that suggestion in 1992.
In the beginning, it may be hard to get your child to sleep on his or her back, because your infant may fall asleep better at an angle or while lying against you. When your infant is finally asleep, carefully lay baby on his or her back in the crib. It may take some time for baby to get used to it, but just keep in mind that your infant will eventually become accustomed to the position.
If you are worried about your child getting flat head syndrome by always sleeping on his or her back, it is recommended that you let your infant fall asleep with the head in one position for a week, and then switch your infant’s head the other way for the next week.
Sleep Position #2: On Infant’s Side
Having an infants sleep on their side is not as frequently recommended as sleeping on their back, but it is still not as dangerous as sleeping on their stomach. A reason for having your infant sleep on his or her side may simply be that your infant refuses to fall asleep when positioned on his or her back.
Infant sleeping campaigns from overseas claim that when you have your child sleeping on their side, make sure that their dependent arm is in the forward position at a right angle to the body. This helps ensure that your child doesn’t roll over onto the stomach while sleeping. Place your infant’s head against the side of the crib for extra assurance. You can try this method to see if it works for you and your child.
As newborns get older and can turn over, they will fall into the position that is most comfortable for them to sleep in. If your infant is under 12 months, and it makes you nervous to see him or her sleeping on his or her stomach, simply turn your baby over onto his or her back or side gently. Be aware that your infant may wake up when you do this, but the peace of mind it will bring you is worth it.
Stephanie Brown, “What Are the Safest Infant Sleep Positions?” About.com.
“Questions and Answers for Professionals on Infant Sleeping Position and SIDS,” National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.