From the moment a baby is born we are told about safe sleeping practices and rightly so. SIDS is possibly one of the scariest things a parent of a young baby faces, probably because it is silent, has no warning and happens when we are relaxing with our baby asleep. Sleeping a baby on her back is the first recommendation on the SIDS and Kids website and is the policy at most Australian maternity hospitals.
It’s understandable then how anxious a lot of parents get when their little one starts rolling on to her belly to sleep – after all, it’s been drummed into us that we cannot sleep them on their tummies! We receive a lot of frantic emails asking us what parents are supposed to do once this happens.
Most back sleeping babies aren’t able to independently roll onto their tummies to sleep until somewhere around the age of 5 to 6 months. Until then it is advised that you sleep your little one on her back.
Once your little one can roll in her sleep the first thing you need to do is unswaddle her - it is dangerous to have her on her tummy without free use of her arms. The Baby Sleep Co. recommends transitioning her to a sleeping bag where her arms are free such as a GroBag.
If your little one is between 5-6 months and is rolling independently onto her tummy to sleep it is not necessary to wake during the night to return her to her back sleeping position.
It is important to remember to reduce the risk in other ways though:
•Sleep your baby on a firm well-fitting mattress and don’t have it tilted or elevated.
•Remove any ‘extra’ items from the cot (soft toys, sheepskins, pillows, doonas and cot bumpers)
•If using blankets instead of a sleeping bag, sleep your little one with their feet touching the end of the cot so they can’t wriggle down under the blankets
•To strengthen your little one’s neck and upper body muscles, try to give your little one extra tummy time in their wakeful hours. This will help to develop the muscles they need to be able to roll back over onto their back.
•Maintain a smoke-free household
With regards to SIDS recommendations, a lot of parents wonder when the right time to include a pillow in their child’s bedding. We recommend you do this once your little one has moved into a bed as anything extra in a cot can be used as a step up for them to climb out!
If you would like personalised help with any sleep issue for a child, newborn to 5 years, contact The Baby Sleep Co today on 0457 473 725 or click here to send us an email.
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