1 Baby Sleep Rule Every Mom Needs to Follow

babyWalk into any OB/GYN or pediatrician's office and you're likely to see a poster that urges parents to place their babies on their backs when they go to sleep to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Or Google SIDS and you're likely to come across article after article -- many written by professionals -- recommending babies don't sleep on their tummies or on their sides to prevent this very tragic thing. But in spite of the efforts of the American Pediatric Academy and various child advocacy groups, new research has found that about 30 percent of infants still don't sleep on their backs.

According to the National Infant Sleep Position Study, the "Back to Sleep" campaign, which was first introduced 20 years ago, increased baby back sleep from from 13 percent in 1992 to 72 percent in 2001, and at the same time, reports of SIDS were cut in half. But research is now showing that, partly because some parents are worried about babies choking on spit-up (something that should not happen), babies are being placed on their bellies or sides to sleep.

A little terrifying.

When it comes to our babies, no one knows them as well as we do -- not even a doctor with a fancy degree. I'm a big believer in following our guts (IE, maternal instinct) when it comes to parenting and not always blindly doing what the pediatrician tells us to do. But when it can potentially be a matter of life and death, and there are numerous studies backing it up, shouldn't we, as parents, heed doctors' advice? Isn't that the smart, responsible thing to do? Why chance something like that?

Parenting, like many relationships, is about compromise. Things don't always go as we'd like them to or as we think they should. We may know that our child would sleep perfectly soundly on their stomachs or be nervous about them choking on spit-up, but we need to take it a step further in a situation like this. Come to terms with our limitations and knowledge and accept the fact that, in this case, doctor knows best, not mom.

Of course, maternal instinct and gut feelings play a huge role in motherhood -- as they should; they are often right. But a good parent knows when to set their thoughts and philosophies aside in favor of professional advice when necessary. Especially when a child's life is at stake.

Have you ever let your baby sleep on their belly?


Image via Oleg Sidorenko/Flickr

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nonmember avatar FarmersWife

Absolutely. Safest place for MY infants, is on their belly, laying on my chest. This was initially a gut instinct, verified as safe and natural by my midwife. Within my child's first month I woke up TWICE feeling panic and not knowing why. My "sound asleep" baby was not breathing, as I tried to wake him his lips went blue, then he took a breath. We'll never know why, or what would have happened had he not been on top of me. Even my pediatrician agrees there may have been a reason I felt we needed skin-to-skin during all sleep. But I firmly believe there is NO one size fits all. Each mom, baby, family, parenting situation is different and in one case or another they're all right!!!! Studies on safety are great, but to think its a one size fits all no matter what... That's ignorant.

morga... morgani6904

My youngest will only sleep on his side. He is almost four months old and has always rolled onto his side since he was born. Putting him on his back means nothing cause he'll just roll to where he's comfortable.

Blues... Blueshark77

She used to sleep on her back until she learned to roll over. Now she sleeps on her back, side, and tummy as she moves around in her sleep. We have a motion sensor monitor so if she stops breathing it would set off an alarm. Highly recommend a motion monitor.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I have a motion monitor, but after learning more about it decided against it. The one I got doesn't alert until after 30 seconds of no movement/breathing, which seemed a bit long for me. But I got no comfort knowing that if he choked and couldn't breathe I wouldn't get an alert until he was unconscious.... Just wasn't the piece of mind I needed, personally.

nonmember avatar jennifer

I don't have a choice in the matter...almost from day one my daughter rolled to her side when I laid her down, and from about 4 months she started rolling to her belly, even if she was sound asleep...it's automatic. The doctor said it's fine as long as she's the one rolling over. She sleeps in our room right now, so she's never more than an arm's length away from me.

nonmember avatar Tracie

I sleep my baby on his side. I have been told that if he spits up he will turn his head to the side. I'm sorry but I have watched him, waiting for him to do this but he does not. He panics and gasps. I eventually give in and pick him up only for vomit to run out of his nose and be spat everywhere as he fights for air. Obviously it has made it into his airways. There is an exception to every rule, and my son is it. He sleeps peacefully on his side curled into my chest all night, and that's where he'll stay.

nonmember avatar April

From the time my daughter was born(shes almost 4 now), she WOULD NOT sleep on her back. Her first week home, Id lay her on her back and shed scream all night. Finally my bf placed her on her belly, and she was out in a half second. Ever since then she has always slept on her tummy.

LaDiosa LaDiosa

My daughter slept on her tummy from day one sometimes on her daddy's belly and most of the time next to me in the bed. She refused to sleep on her back or side so I let her sleep how she wanted to. She's now 5 and a very happy and secure child.

nonmember avatar Krissy

I have a now 3 yr old son and when he was born I wrapped him up and laid him on his side in the infant bed at the hospital so I could go to the bathroom. And all of a sudden I hear him choking and not being able to move really fast luckily my mom came in and turned him. A nurse had laid him on his back and left. If it wasn't for my mom my son prolly would've choked to death because of some stupid nurse

gypsy... gypsy_rose

My Dr had both my boys on their bellies for extreme gas issues. They would just scream when on their backs. It caused physical pain. Gas drops did nothing to help. They spit up a LOT less on their bellies.

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