Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep on His Back
by Stef Daniel
Less than a decade ago, parents were told that infants should sleep on their tummies. As research and studies indicated that infants sleeping on their tummy were at an increased risk for SIDS, the recommendations quickly changed, and many campaigns were launched to ensure that new parents knew the proper sleeping position. Evidence was conclusive that babies were safer and should always be put to sleep lying on their backs.
As a new parent, it is normal to worry. So you place your baby in their crib every night, on their back. Most of the time, you will wake to check on them and find that they are in the same position they were when you left them. Then, one night as you check on them, before you head off to bed, they are laying on their belly, sleeping soundly. It is a scary feeling, and suddenly everything you have ever learned about sleep positioning is being tested. How can you force a baby to sleep on their back, especially as they grow and become stronger, more independent, and completely able to roll all over the place? Well, the truth is that sometimes you can’t control how your baby ends up in their crib, but there are some things you can do to ensure they remain on their backs for a longer period of time. Here are just a few:
- For younger babies or those who don’t mind it, swaddling techniques can keep them secure while sleeping. Simply hold or rock them to sleep while swaddled in a receiving blanket and place them in the crib that way. Swaddling also prevents an infant from waking themselves up with their uncontrollable and jerky actions.
- If your baby is only able to roll over in one direction, try laying your baby a few inches away from the side of the crib in which they would roll, instead of the middle. This can help keep them from rolling to their good side.
- Use a wedge, approved by your pediatrician, and place them on it while they sleep. They will need more strength to be able to wiggle out of it.
- Never use pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads or anything cushioned in the crib while your baby is sleeping. They can use these for leverage, and it can actually help them to roll over.
- Unless your baby has a reflux or breathing problem, do not place their heads on a pillow while they are sleeping on their back. A firm mattress is optimal.
- Ask your pediatrician for advice.
Generally, some children are just uncomfortable on their backs and will move and squirm as soon as they are able to. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to wake every hour just to check on your baby. Moving the crib into the bedroom, using monitors that detect movement, and doing all that you can to ensure they get a good and safe night’s sleep is really all you can do. By remaining vigilant in the infant days and always putting your baby to sleep on their back, they will become accustomed to it and will most likely prefer it as time goes on. If they do, that is great for you – but if they don’t – try not to fret and worry yourself sick. Sometimes, the fact that they are sleeping at all is what new parents should cling to.
What do you think? Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep on His Back