Should Newborns Sleep on Their Back? Yes and Here’s Why!

Bringing home our first baby was an amazing, but scary experience and I kept remembering the nurse reminding me to always put your baby on its back to sleep. I remember reading all the books, but still nothing completely prepares you for the first one, there is so much to think about and you are overwhelmed.  I remember going through all of the safe sleep guidelines making sure that I was following each one.

As a parent, one of your top priorities is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your newborn. This includes making sure that they are sleeping in a safe position that reduces their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In this article, I will discuss the safest sleep positions for your baby and provide you with valuable tips to ensure they sleep soundly through the night.

The Importance of Newborn Sleep Safety

Newborns spend most of their time sleeping, which is why it’s essential to make sure they are sleeping safely. SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. It’s a sudden and unexplained death that usually happens during sleep. While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, research has shown that certain sleep positions increase the risk of SIDS.

As a parent, you can take steps to reduce the risk of SIDS by ensuring your baby sleeps in the safest position possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)recommends that babies be placed on their backs to sleep for the first year of life.

The Safest Sleep Position for Newborns – Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is the safest sleep position for newborns. In addition to reducing the risk of SIDS, back sleeping offers other benefits for newborns. When a baby sleeps on their back, they are more likely to wake up if they need to be fed or have their diaper change. Back sleeping allows for better airflow and can reduce the risk of suffocation.

Tips for Safe Sleep Practices

In addition to placing your baby on their back to sleep, there are other safe sleep practices you can follow to reduce the risk of SIDS. When it comes to choosing the right sleep surface and environment for your baby, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Use a firm sleep surface. A firm mattress or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet is the safest sleep surface for your baby.
  2. Avoid soft bedding. Soft bedding can increase the risk of suffocation and should be avoided. This includes pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.
  3. Keep the sleep area free of objects. The sleep area should be free of any objects that could potentially cover your baby’s face, including crib bumpers and toys.
  4. Room share, but not bed share. The AAP recommends that parents room share with their baby for at least the first six months of life, but bed sharing is not recommended.
  5. Dress your baby appropriately. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS, so make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for the temperature in the room.
  6. Choose a safe crib or bassinet. Make sure the crib or bassinet you choose meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) .
  7. Control the temperature in the room. The room should be kept at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. (Between 18-22 C or 68-72 F).
  8. Use a white noise machine. White noise can help your baby sleep better by blocking out other noises that may disturb them.
  9. Use a sleep sack. Using a sleep sack can help your baby feel secure and comfortable while they sleep and keep them safe from suffocation from blankets.

Other Sleep-Related Safety Considerations

In addition to sleep position and environment, there are other sleep-related safety considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Avoid smoking around your baby. Secondhand smoke can increase the risk of SIDS.
  2. Breastfeed if possible. Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS.
  3. Avoid alcohol and drug use. Alcohol and drug use can increase the risk of SIDS.
  4. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for vaccinations.

Common Sleep-Related Concerns and How to Address Them

Newborns can have trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons. Here are some common sleep-related concerns and how to address them.

  1. If your baby has reflux, talk to your doctor about ways to help them be more comfortable.
  2. If your baby has colic, try swaddling them or using a white noise machine to help them sleep.
  3. Night waking. If your baby is waking frequently at night, try establishing a consistent bedtime routine and start establishing your sleep goals for the coming months.
  4. Sleep regression at 4 months. If your baby experiences a 4 month sleep regression, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and make sure they are getting enough daytime sleep. If your baby’s sleep does not start to improve, I encourage you to book a Free Sleep Goals Strategy Session with me so we can discuss how we can start to get your little one’s sleep on track.

Ensuring Your Baby Sleeps Safely and Soundly

I want to remind you that, as a parent, it’s natural to worry about your baby’s safety, especially when they are sleeping. By following safe sleep practices and choosing the right sleep position and environment, you can reduce the risk of SIDS and ensure your baby sleeps soundly through the night. Remember, back sleeping is the safest sleep position for newborns, and it’s important to avoid stomach and side sleeping. With a little bit of effort, you can help your baby sleep safe and sound.

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