Having a new baby means worrying about all kinds of things you probably never thought twice about before. For instance, sleeping positions probably cause you some amount of concern. With this in mind, you may wonder: is it OK if my baby sleeps on their side?
As far as most childcare experts are concerned, sleeping babies belong on their backs. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, placing your baby on her back to sleep, on a sleep surface that's free from loose bedding or other objects, is the best way to lessen the risk of SIDS. Chances are, your pediatricians and other child care advisors have already hammered this home to you.
But i spite of your research and knowledge in this area, your baby may be intent on sleeping however she pleases. Some kids are just natural roly polies. As explained by the Safe & Healthy Children's Coalition of Collier County, if your baby rolls to her side on her own, you can likely let her stay that way for sleep (provided she's already able to completely roll over on her own). With that said, it's still smart to lay your baby on her back at the start of each nap.
For what it's worth, it may be difficult to determine the level of safety presented by side sleeping. According to the website for Dr. Sears, sleeping on the back is the safest position for a baby, whereas sleeping on the stomach is the most likely position to cause SIDS. Side sleeping is somewhere between these two extremes, as further explained by the website for Dr. Sears.
So what is a concerned parent supposed to do with this information? If your baby's side sleeping is keeping you up at night, then don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician for advice. You may determine your baby is old enough for side sleeping, or even find ways to keep your baby put all night long. With that said, it's smart to know al the common sleep dangers for babies. But by working with your doctor, you can come up with a plan to help your baby snooze as safely a possible.