Baby Sleeping On The Side: All You Need To Know
SIDS is one of the biggest concerns when you have a newborn. And this is rightfully so because it is a serious threat and one of the leading causes of infant deaths globally. As a mom, there are many things that you can do to minimize the risk of SIDS, but sometimes things are just beyond your control. One of these few things that you can do is to ensure that your little one sleeps in the right environment and the right sleep position.
Most health experts and pediatricians will recommend that babies should sleep on their back for at least the first six months as it reduces the risk of SIDS significantly. But, some babies will always end up rolling on their side. Even if you return them to the back they always end up on their side.
But, is it safer for babies to sleep on their side? Well, there are varying opinions out there, but understanding the possible risks of sleeping on the side and also what to do to make it a safer sleep position should be your main priority as a parent.
Is It Okay Or Safe For Babies To Sleep On The Side?
It is natural for infants to roll over to the side, and this is more so if you swaddle them. But, can newborns sleep on the side? The rolling over is a sign that your baby is developing well, and so it is okay but quite risky for newborns to sleep on the side. However, this is only so if they roll over to the side on their own and you do not put them to sleep that way.
You will also want to pay more attention to your baby when you notice that he tends to roll to the side. And besides from keeping a watchful eye, you can also roll a blanket and place it in front of the infant to prevent him from rolling further and onto his stomach. Also, some experts will advise that you place the lower hand in front to make it physically impossible for the child to roll onto the stomach.
But, there are also other significant risks that come from sleeping on the side besides from then increase the risk of SIDS. Key among them is the risk of choking. Sleeping on the side can create torsion in the baby’s windpipe and hence making breathing difficult. Also, it can lead to the accumulation of regurgitated food around the tracheal opening and pose a choking hazard.
How Can You Prevent Side Sleeping?
Baby sleeping on side might not be as dangerous as sleeping on the stomach, but you still cannot take chances with the safety of your little one. And so the best move is to try and prevent it so that you can get some peace of mind. Here are some tips to help you with this.
#1. Always Place Baby On The Back
The best and probably the simplest precaution that every mom can take is to always place the child to sleep on the back whether he is sleeping in the crib or cradle. And besides from reducing the risk of SIDS, sleeping on the back also reduces upper respiratory infections.
#2. Do Not Place Unnecessary Pillows
Unnecessary support structures such as pillows and crib bumpers can cause your baby to roll to the side. And so it is important to remove all of them from the crib or cradle and only leave that one that is necessary for the child’s comfort.
#3. Avoid Wedges and Sleep Positioners
Sleep positioners and wedges are not good for babies and so you should never use them. Some are even designed to encourage the baby to sleep on the side. Also, avoid the ones that are designed to help the baby sleep on the back as they can increase the risk of suffocation.
#4. Avoid Swaddling
Swaddling is one of the reasons why many babies will end up sleeping on the side and so you should also avoid it. And this is because it will create a smooth cylindrical surface around the infant and make it easy for him to roll over. If you want to make the infant comfortable, you should try other things such as buying a humidifier and a warm and safe baby blanket.
As your baby develops and starts to move, he is more likely to end up rolling to the side. But for a newborn, this should not be a problem because they rarely move at all.
While sleeping on the side is not as dangerous as sleeping on the back it still increases the risk of SIDS and so the wise move is to avoid it. And this should not be a problem if you follow the tips above. But, regardless of whether your baby rolls over to the side or not, the most important thing is to keep a watchful eye at all times. The best way to do this is to have him as close to you as possible as he sleeps, but never in the same bed.