Something that new moms hear over and over again is "Your baby should sleep on their back to prevent SIDS!"
While this is true, the safest position to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is to have your baby sleep on their back, but what do you do when your baby starts rolling around?
By the time your little one starts rolling over to sleep on their tummy, the risk of SIDS has greatly reduced.
I once spent a whole hour awake in the middle of the night, like a crazy person, watching my baby and rolling her to her back over and over again because she kept rolling to her tummy.
When she was still very little and I breastfed her at night, it was still easy, I rolled her on her side so she can nurse and when she was done, I rolled her back onto her back to sleep.
But since being able to roll all over the place, it has caused me so much stress. I feel so uncomfortable watching her sleep on her stomach. Which is strange, since the older generation always had their babies sleep on their stomachs because it was believed to be most comfortable, the weight on the tummy settled the winds and cramps.
It does seem true, my little girl does seem most comfortable on her tummy. So what to do? And what about reflux and spit up? What about the possibility of choking on a wind?
So the rules are as follows:
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back.
- If they suffer from reflux you need to consult with your doctor about their sleep position. The doctor may suggest a positional wedge.
- When your baby brings up milk, they will most likely just turn their head to the side. (Luckily we have co-sleeping or baby monitors to keen an eye on them)
- If your baby rolled to their stomach by themselves, it is safe to leave them in that position. As long as they got to their stomachs themselves and can thus roll back if they want to. By the age they are able to roll to their stomachs, the risk of SIDS has also reduced.
Babies below 4 months of age are most at risk for SIDS and 90% of SIDS cases happen with babies younger than 6 months. Babies can start rolling from their stomachs to their backs around 4 months and from their backs to their stomachs around 5 to 6 months.
Therefore, by the time your little one starts rolling over to sleep on their tummy, the risk of SIDS has greatly reduced.
When my baby was still really small, she would suffer from the worst projectile vomits and would start vomiting in her sleep. I thus had her sleep on her side directly after her night feed, so that the milk can run out and not cause her to choke. Then once her stomach had settled, I would roll her to her back.
I felt comfortable having her on her side, since we were co-sleeping and I was right there keeping an eye on her. That also meant that I had to quickly get out of the way of rivers of vomit running my way in bed plenty a time.