Should Babies Sleep on Their Back or Stomach?
When you have a baby, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. There’s a lot you can do to ensure this. Placing your baby in a safe position when they sleep is very easy, but it can make a big difference to your baby’s health.
Most parents have heard about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which occurs when a baby dies unexpectedly and without explanation before their first birthday. Thinking about SIDS can be very stressful for new parents. Fortunately, one of the most effective ways to prevent SIDS is also very simple.
Putting your baby to sleep on their back carries a much lower risk of SIDS than putting them to sleep on their stomach. In the past, parents were encouraged to put their babies to sleep on their stomach. But as research on SIDS became more common and new discoveries were made, scientists realized that babies who sleep on their stomach have an increased risk of SIDS.
The cause of SIDS is still unknown, as is the reason why back sleeping is safer for babies. Experts have theorized that there are several mechanisms that make stomach sleeping unsafe, including:
- Increased risk of upper airway obstruction
- The baby might re-breathe the air that they’ve already exhaled, which could lead to low oxygen levels and carbon dioxide buildup
- Overheating due to improper body heat dissipation
- Decreased reactions to noise and other stimuli that should wake them up
- Abnormally high blood pressure and heart rate while sleeping