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The Safest Sleeping Position for My Newborn
When we think of newborns, we think of them sleeping most of the time, which is exactly what they do as they grow steadily. But, have you ever thought about what the safest position is for them?
Sleeping on the back, or the supine position, has been identified to be the safest position for newborns, whether it is during naptime or night sleep. And there are reasons for that, which you can read below as I, a newborn sleep consultant in Singapore, share my knowledge and experience with you.
Why should babies sleep on their backs?
There is ongoing research about babies not sleeping on their backs leading to SIDS, which has shown significant results. SIDS stands for “sudden infant death syndrome”. This is a term for when a baby suddenly dies in his or her sleep, usually for no apparent reason.
As to why it is related to a baby’s sleeping position, it is because babies are extremely vulnerable and are not strong enough to lift their heads yet. Sleeping on their belly means their airway is compromised to a certain degree and they get less oxygen. This could lead to them having trouble breathing and possibly suffocating from a blocked airway.
Tips for safe sleep for babies
Now that we know why babies should sleep on their backs, here are some things we can do to make it even safer for them. And you know what? I did the very same for my boys too, as advised by my own baby sleep consultant at the time, and I stand by these tips as they keep my children safe.
- Make sure your baby sleeps on a firm surface as soft surfaces can cause suffocation.
- Make sure your baby sleeps near you and/or your spouse so that you are always around in case of an emergency.
- Less is more. Keep it simple with toys, bedding, and blankets to prevent choking or a blocked airway.
- Monitor room temperature so that it is not too hot or too cold.
- Get your baby’s vaccinations up-to-date.
Common concerns for babies sleeping on their backs
We all know that babies can be a handful, especially when change is involved. So, if your baby is not used to sleeping on his or her back, you may have the following concerns when you try to implement the change.
1. What if my baby rolls over to his side or tummy during sleep?
When babies are able to roll around, they are probably at the age when they are strong enough to keep their nose and mouth free for breathing, which already lowers the risk of SIDS. But, regardless, always put them to sleep on their backs as a form of prevention and so that they can get used to this position.
2. Will my baby choke on his vomit if he throws up during sleep?
While some parents may worry about their newborns choking on their vomit in their sleep, although it sounds plausible, there has been no evidence found to support this concern. It is still recommended to let babies sleep on their backs as the risk of SIDS is higher than baby choking on their vomit.
3. Does this mean babies cannot be on their tummies at all?
No, babies can be on their tummies, but ideally only when they are awake. Doing tummy time while they are awake can actually help them strengthen their back, stomach, and neck muscles, thus reducing the risk of SIDS. So, go ahead and do more tummy time with your little one.
Sleeping in the supine position is the safest for babies as it reduces the risk of SIDS. However, getting a baby to sleep on his back can be quite a challenge, especially if there is a lot of fussiness involved. It will take time and effort, but the safety of our babies should not be compromised.
If all else fails, you can sign up for newborn sleep family plan packages where a baby sleep consultant like myself will guide you on this journey. Newborn sleep family plan packages can be very helpful in assisting both baby and parents in getting restful sleep, while also providing valuable tips for safe sleep. So, if it sounds like something you need, please do not hesitate to contact me here to get a FREE 15 minute discovery call.