Why does it matter whether a baby sleeps on their stomach or back?
Recent research has shown that there is a connection between the sleeping positions of babies and cot death.
The risk of cot death is greatly reduced if the baby sleeps on their back.
Can your baby sleep on its side?
To let your baby sleep on its side is safer than letting it sleep on its stomach. But the most recent studies show that the position is not as safe for your baby as sleeping on its back.
Babies sleeping on their side often end up on their tummy, which increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) significantly.
Should all babies sleep on their backs?
If your baby is healthy, it should sleep on its back.
Very rarely if a baby has a medical problem, their pediatrician may recommend that the baby sleeps on its stomach. If the baby suffers from any of these diseases, the doctor will advise parents which position the baby should sleep in.
Sleeping on their backs can cause babies' skulls to temporarily grow out of shape (plagiocephaly).
Parents can avoid this by laying their baby's head on the opposite side every time they put the baby to sleep. The shape will gradually become normal with time and almost never requires treatment.
When the baby is awake and the parents are talking to them or playing with them, the baby should be put on its stomach to counteract any distortion of the skull. Lie them across your knees on their tummy, if they don't like being on the mat. This is also a good way of training the muscles of the baby's stomach, back and neck