Information on baby sleep has certainly evolved over the years. The rules our parents were told to follow were drastically different than what new research suggests today. Well meaning relatives, friends, or even strangers may give you conflicting advice on what worked in their day. And although it can seem like a lot of handle or like the new findings don't really matter (we survived, didn't we?), how you put your baby to sleep is actually very important. Should you put your baby to sleep on it's side or back? Research on SIDS prevention states that the difference is very important.
According to Parents, it's a common myth that putting your baby to sleep on their side is as safe as putting them on their back. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) noted that putting your baby on their back to sleep is one of the biggest things you can do to reduce their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) That, along with keeping their bed free of blankets, pillows, crib pads, or other suffocation hazards will greatly reduce your baby's risk.
However, as your baby grows, and learns how to roll over on their own, you may find that they naturally roll to their side in their sleep. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, if your baby is old enough to roll over on its own (about four to six months,) there's no need to roll them back over while they're asleep. Placing them on their back when you lay them down is enough, since their body is mature enough to move itself as needed.
Although it may seem like a small thing, the risks aren't worth taking. Making sure that that your baby is safely placed on their back to sleep until they're old enough to roll on their own will ensure their sleep environment is as safe as possible.