|Although the nurse at the hospital recommended that my baby
always sleep on her back, my mother-in-law is really concerned
that I am doing the wrong thing. She says the baby can choke
on her back, and that on the tummy is safer and helps with
wind as well. Can you help me to clear up this confusion?
When you were a baby you probably were put down on your
stomach. That was the way things were done in those days.
However, because of the research which has shown a close
link between babies who sleep on their stomachs and a risk
of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( also called Cot Death),
the advice you will get from all health workers is that
it is safer for babies to sleep on their backs.
Research has also shown that, contrary to what your mother-in-law
believes, babies are not of a higher risk of choking on
their backs than on their fronts. They are also less prone
to a wide range of infections and generally healthier.
Generally babies are content to sleep on their backs, especially
if they have slept that way from day one! A very few babies
do get unsettled on their backs. A tiny baby’s uncoordinated
arms and legs do tend to move around when they are asleep
and can wake a baby with a fright. Generally swaddling should
solve that problem by making them feel snug and secure,
and keeping those limbs tucked away safely!
Some mothers complain about the bald spot that tends to
form on the backs of the heads of babies who sleep on their
backs all the time. Babies tend to look at the same spot
near the cot when you put them down to sleep. If you lay
the baby down her head at the top of the cot one time, and
then put her down next time with her head at the foot of
the bed, this should help the bald spot problem to some
Because we do not put our babies down to sleep on their
tummies any more, it is important that they spend some time
of every day on the stomach, but they must be supervised.
Learning to lift the head up from the bed while on their
stomachs is an important skill for a baby to learn, and
vital in developing strong back muscles. However, there
are babies who really object to this position. It is no
point in upsetting the baby. Instead you will have to be
inventive and creative in encouraging baby into this position.
You could make a game of it, lie on the bed with your face
next to baby, or put a favorite toy in front of baby. This
may distract her from the despised position for long enough
for her to find it comfortable. Ideally your baby should
spend time in this position every day, so start with a short
time and try and extend the time just a little every day.
Baby Sleep - Compromise
Baby Sleep - Controlled Crying
Baby Sleep - Cot in parents’ room
Baby Sleep - Doing it your way
Baby Sleep - Overtiredness
Baby Sleep - Own Room
Baby Sleep - Sharing Mother’s Bed
Baby Sleep - Teaching baby to sleep