In Which Position Should a Baby Sleep?
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In Which Position Should a Baby Sleep?

Sleep may have been something you took for granted before you became a mom. After you have a baby, however, it seems as if you can think of nothing but sleep. Not only are you most likely sleep deprived, but you also have to think about the best sleep situation for your baby.

Place on Back

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, recommends that you should place your healthy baby to sleep on her back. This has reduced the rate of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, by 50 percent, according to the KidsHealth website. Premature infants should sleep on their backs, too. A baby with a medical condition may need to be in a different position. Your doctor would advise you about that.


SIDS is the unexplained death of infants who are younger than 1 year old. Most SIDS deaths occur in infants who are 2 to 4 months old. Babies die from SIDS more often in cold weather. Native American and African-American infants are more likely to die from SIDS than are Caucasian babies. Also, boy babies are more likely to die from SIDS. Some risk factors that are in your control and that you should not do are smoking around your infant, overheating your infant from excessive sleepwear and putting your baby to sleep on his stomach. Of the risk factors you can control, stomach sleeping carries the highest risk, according to the KidsHealth website.

Stomach Sleeping Danger

Babies who sleep on their stomachs could obstruct their breathing and could breathe in their own carbon dioxide. Also, if the bedding is soft, a baby on her stomach could suffocate if she is face down. Putting pillows, blankets or stuffed animals near a baby’s face can also increase the risk of suffocation. You cannot count on babies rousing themselves to get more air.

Concerns About the Back

Some parents object to placing an infant on his back for fear of the baby choking on spit-up or vomit. The AAP says there is no increased risk of healthy babies doing that. If your infant has a reflux disease, you would need to consult with your doctor. Having a flat head is a concern, however, when your infant spend too much time on his back. You can help minimize this condition by placing your baby on his tummy more often while he is awake.

Side Sleeping

Placing your baby on her side would work if you could guarantee that your baby would stay on her side all night. The AAP believes that the risk is too great for an infant rolling over onto her stomach if you place her on her side, so the AAP does not recommend side sleeping, either.

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