There is lots of talk about how a baby should sleep, especially during the first few months. Many parents and experts say that a baby should sleep on their backs. However, there are some that say that the position does not really matter as long as the baby is comfortable, then it does not matter what position they sleep in. So which is which? Do we let infants from birth to 9 months sleep on their backs or on their tummies?
Parents and experts may have different views on this topic. A group says that a child less than 9 months old should sleep on their backs. The only time they can start sleeping on their tummies is when they are able to roll on their tummies or by the time the baby reaches 9 months.
Having a baby sleep on their back prevents SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Some experts say that when a baby is less than 9 months old and sleeps on their tummy, the risk of SIDS becomes higher for that infant. The experts do agree that there are also other causes of SIDS and it is not just because a baby sleeps on their tummy. But as a general rule, these parents and experts agree that a baby under 9 months should sleep on their back and only when they learn to roll over then that would be the time they can sleep on their tummies.
Another group of parents and experts say that it did not matter what position the baby would sleep. The important thing was that the baby was comfortable in that position then it was fine. However, they do admit that as a precaution for babies who were less than 9 months old, they would let the baby sleep on their back first if possible. In some cases, there were babies who would not go to sleep unless they were on their tummies. The advice for this kind of situation is to leave the baby as they sleep, but the parents or guardian should check up on the baby more often than a baby who sleeps on their back. This way, the baby gets to sleep properly and the parents can rest and be assured that nothing will happen to their child.
This group also admits that while sleeping on their tummy can be a cause for SIDS they themselves believe that it would be best for a baby to sleep on their back. However, in some cases there may be a baby who just cannot sleep on their back and would rather sleep on their tummy. This is when this group believes in letting the child sleep as they want to show that the child will not have sleep issues as they grow older. They also suggest that for these infants it would be ideal to set up a monitoring schedule just to be on the safe side. They suggest that the parents make sure to look in on the child while they sleep more often than usual, again just to be on the safe side.
Studies have shown that sleeping on their tummies can be a factor for SIDS. However, the same study also confirms that while it may be a factor, it does not mean that if an infant sleeps on their tummy, they will die of SIDS. They go on to say that the chances of that happening are one in every thousand babies.
So which side is telling the truth and which do parents follow? The two sides agree that it will be better to be on the safe side rather than regret your choice in the future. So in normal cases, the best solution would be to have a child or infant 9 months or less should ideally sleep on their back. Only when the child can roll over on their tummies would they be allowed to sleep on their tummies if they choose to do so.
For children who can only sleep if they are on their tummies, the second group’s advice would be ideal. Do not force the infant to sleep on their back, but make sure that the parents make an extra effort to check on their baby more often than an infant who sleeps in the proper position.