Ah, new parenthood. The exciting world of sleepless nights and constant worrying about your little bundle of joy. One of the biggest debates in parenting is whether babies should sleep on their back or belly. Well, folks, buckle up because we're about to tackle this question head-on (or tummy-down?).
Back Sleeping: The Benefits
Back sleeping has been endorsed as the safest position for infants to snooze since 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Here are some reasons why you should put your baby down with their back facing up:
- Reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Better breathing due to open airways
- Less stress on developing skulls which can reduce the risk of flat-head syndrome
Belly Sleeping: The Risks
Just like wearing white after Labor Day, stomach sleeping is now seen as an outdated practice that has too many risks associated with it.
According to Dr. Craig Canapari from Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut:
"I generally do not recommend stomach sleeping for any child at any age.”
Here are a few reasons why doctors discourage parents from putting their newborns down onto their tummy:
- Increased chance of suffocation
- Higher likelihood they will re-breathe carbon dioxide which can lead to brain damage
- A higher incidence rate if SIDS
Side Sleeping: A Compromise?
"But wait!" you exclaim while reading this article from one foot away from your phone screen in a dark room during another middle-of-the-night feed, "What about side-sleeping?".
Well honey, let me be blunt - it's neither here nor there! There are no real benefits offered by zonking out lying perpendicular when compared against either front-facing or back-facing positions. However, in case you needed bullet intervals to show you what this particular tummy-tamer cannot do:
- It won't prevent SIDS as well as back sleeping
- It doesn't offer any developmental benefits
- The risk of regurgitation during this position can lead to choking
So, it's Back Sleeping all the way?
Now that we've looked at why either side or stomach sleep is not recommended for infants, let's talk about how parents can encourage their kidlet to enjoy some sweet slumber while lying flat on their back.
Here are several tips from pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann:
- Swaddle your baby until they learn how to roll over onto their belly themselves.
- Eliminate loose bedding and toys that could potentially pose a suffocation hazard.
- Utilize clothing items such as zip-up onesies instead of blankets which may cover the baby’s airways.
Note: once a child has learned how roll over naturally around four-six months old then there is no need for swaddling beyond possible assisting with longer naps/earlier bedtimes
But wait! What if my infant already passed away face down? Can I change them?
Agrimonia (Williams), RNa, says that aside from calling 911 ASAP (mic drop), “Lay your child out onto a hard surface, such as a floor or table and tilt up the chin slightly toward the ceiling.”
Wait - I changed my mind; just read everything out loud simultaneously like you're reenacting an episode of "The Office". What fun!
As far as inducing vomiting goes after finding from-the-back sleeping babies in inhospitable positions? Nope! Don’t even think about it unless medical personnel gives an express command.
Other methods may include CPR training so caregivers will know precisely what steps must happen should their tot become unresponsive.
It bears repeating – call an ambulance! Make certain that you get help right away instead of trying to solve the problem on your own.
So, there you have it kids - back sleeping is the clear blueprint for success as far as kipping style goes during a baby's napping hours. Side sleep, while offering an aesthetically pleasing perspective, simply has too many cons to be a respectable option.
And yes – I am aware that this article might provoke some people in their opinions! But remember (while brandishing finger guns towards no one at all) knowledge truly does equal power; so keep snoozing back side up little ones and stay safe when canoodled in Soft Sleepy land!