Sleeping is a very important part of your baby’s growth. They may not sleep for long hours together but they will take plenty of naps throughout the day. The sleep allows their body to recharge itself and prepare for another day of kicking out and being as cute as ever. As an adult, you too need to get a full night’s rest to be able to function properly the next day.
When it is night time, you may find it more comfortable to sleep on your side. However, you should never put your baby to sleep on their side - even if it seems like they enjoy it. Sleeping on the side puts your baby at risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). There are several other possible health risks associated with putting your baby to sleep on the side.
Why Sleeping On The Side Is Unsafe For Infants
I] Flathead syndrome
The bones in your little one’s skull are still soft and it keeps growing along with their brain. If your baby rests his/her head on the same spot for a certain amount of time, they may develop what is called a flat head. This can lead to stunted brain growth due to not having enough room to grow. If this is diagnosed early, there are ways to correct this. Baby helmets/braces can help train the bones in your baby’s skull to realign themselves.
II] Suffocation or choking
When your baby sleeps on the side, it can block their air passageways and thus cause them to face breathing difficulties. Also, if your baby were to turn from the side position to their tummy, it can cause food to travel back up through the food pipe and hence cause them to choke. Hence this position can cause some serious life-threatening problems.
Sleeping on the side can cause your baby’s neck to tilt towards the side. Their chin would point towards their shoulder. This happens due to the shortening of the muscle that connects the head to the neck. The babies may turn their head from.
IV] Restricted blood flow
If your baby sleeps on the side, you may notice a colour change in their skin soon enough. The side they sleep on would turn a reddish-pink and the other half of their body would be normal. When you turn them on their backs, they will soon return to their normal colour. It is said that this is caused due to their still developing blood vessels.
What You Should Do To Keep Your Baby Safe
- The safest sleeping position for babies to sleep is on their backs.
- Make sure to avoid crowding their sleeping area with cushions as this can help them turn over.
- If you swaddle them before putting them to bed, make sure not to over swaddle them. This can make it easy for them to roll over even if they aren’t physically ready to roll over.
- If you want to keep them from scratching themselves, simply dress them up in a onesie or full-sleeve baby clothes.
- Alternate your baby’s sleeping positions. If you place your baby on his/her back with the head tilting slightly to the left one night, you should ensure that their head is tilted slightly towards the right the next night.
- You can allow your baby to sleep on the side after they turn one.