Dear Doctor: Side or Tummy Sleeping?
My baby will only sleep on his side or
stomach. Should I let him?
We often hear this question. Parents are concerned because they have heard about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation.
SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants one to 12 months old. It is not known what causes SIDS, but since the Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign) began in 1994, the number of cases has steadily declined. The recommendation from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to always place your baby on his or her back to sleep.
UT Physicians follows the NIH recommendations to decrease your baby’s risk for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death:
• Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet
• Do not use blankets, pillows or crib bumpers
• Keep soft toys and bedding out of the crib
• Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby
• A baby should not sleep in an adult bed
• Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head
• Do not let your baby get too hot while sleeping
If your baby enjoys spending time on their stomach, be sure to add some tummy time during the day. While you are watching closely, place your baby on their tummy to help promote stronger neck and shoulder muscles. It also helps them build towards other milestones such as sitting up and crawling.
Krishnakumari Kanesan, M.D., is a pediatrician at UT Physicians Pediatric Center – Cinco Ranch located at 10450 Spring Green Blvd. Katy, TX 77494. To schedule an appointment, call 713-486-5870.