With regard to SIDs, is there a risk of choking when my baby sleeps on his or her back?
Not usually, babies automatically swallow or cough up fluids. Doctors have found no increase in choking or other problems in babies sleeping on their backs.
What about side sleeping?
To keep your baby safest when he or she is sleeping, always use the back sleep position rather than the side position. Babies who sleep on their sides can roll onto their stomachs. A baby sleeping on his or her stomach is at greater risk of SIDS.
Some infants may have health conditions that require them to sleep on their stomachs such as reflux.
If you are unsure about the best sleep position for your baby, be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse.
Some products claim to be designed to keep a baby in one position. These products have not been tested for safety and are NOT recommended.
Are there times when my baby can be on his or her stomach?
Yes, place your baby on his or her stomach for “tummy time,” when he or she is awake and someone is watching. When the baby is awake, tummy time is good because it helps your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles get stronger.
Will my baby get “flat spots” on his or her head from back sleeping?
For the most part, flat spots on the back of the baby’s head go away a few months after the baby learns to sit up. Tummy time, when your baby is awake, is one way to reduce flat spots. Another way is to change the direction you place your baby down to sleep. Doing this means the baby is not always sleeping on the same side of his or her head. If you think your baby has a more serious problem, talk to your doctor or nurse.
What other things can I do to keep my baby healthy?
- Eat the right foods if you are nursing.
- Get frequent check-ups with your doctor or nurse.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Take your baby for scheduled well-baby check-ups.
- Make sure your baby gets his or her shots on time.
- Enjoy your baby!