Can a Newborn Sleep on their Side
For new parents, one of the most challenging parts of caring for a newborn is ensuring that they are sleeping comfortably and safely. With all the different advice available, it can be difficult to determine the best sleeping position for your little one. One question that frequently arises is whether a newborn can sleep on their side. In this article, we will explore this topic in depth and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Is it safe for babies to sleep on their side?
The short answer is no, it is not safe for babies to sleep on their side. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be placed to sleep on their backs for the first year of life or until they are able to roll over on their own. This is because research has shown that back sleeping is the safest position for babies to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
When babies are placed on their side, they may roll onto their stomach, which increases the risk of SIDS. Additionally, side sleeping can also increase the risk of choking and aspiration, especially if the baby spits up or regurgitates during sleep. It is important to note that the risk of SIDS is highest in the first six months of life, so it is essential to follow safe sleep practices during this time.
Can newborns sleep on their side on me?
While it is not safe for babies to sleep on their side, some parents may wonder if it is safe for their baby to sleep on their side while on their chest or stomach. This is often referred to as “co-sleeping” or “bed-sharing”. However, the AAP strongly advises against bed-sharing with infants, regardless of sleeping position.
Bed-sharing increases the risk of accidental suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment. It can also increase the risk of SIDS, especially if the adult is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is excessively tired. If you choose to co-sleep, it is important to follow safe sleep guidelines, such as placing the baby on a firm, flat surface with no blankets, pillows, or other soft objects around them.
Alternatives to side sleeping
If your baby prefers sleeping on their side, there are some alternatives that you can consider. One option is to swaddle your baby to help them feel secure and comfortable. Swaddling involves wrapping your baby in a blanket, with their arms and legs snugly tucked in. However, it is important to stop swaddling once your baby begins to roll over.
Another alternative is to use a sleep sack, which is a wearable blanket that keeps your baby warm and secure without the need for loose blankets. Sleep sacks are available in a range of sizes and thicknesses, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for your baby’s age and sleeping environment.
In summary, can a newborn sleep on their side? The answer is no, it is not safe for babies to sleep on their side. The AAP recommends that babies be placed to sleep on their backs for the first year of life or until they are able to roll over on their own. Side sleeping can increase the risk of SIDS, choking, and aspiration. If your baby prefers sleeping on their side, alternatives such as swaddling and using a sleep sack can be considered. It is important to follow safe sleep guidelines to ensure that your baby is sleeping comfortably and safely. While co-sleeping may be tempting, it is important to avoid bed-sharing and to place your baby in their own crib or bassinet to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related accidents.
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