Baby sleep position may be disregarded as an unimportant issue by many. However, doctors believe that sleep positions and conditions are an important contributor to the occurrence of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents.
Making babies sleep on very soft, porous surfaces like sofas, soft mattresses, bean bags, pillows, waterbeds, lamb’s wools (with or without a parent) can also increase chances of SIDS.
Putting babies to sleep on their back also reduces the chance of choking on vomit. They also have lesser chances of rolling over and falling whilst sleeping on their back.
It is recommended to not keep soft toys and other paraphernalia on the baby’s bed. Huge blankets, quilts, stuffy pillows, soft toys can suffocate the babies while they sleep. Make sure that bed-sheets are tucked properly and the baby’s head is not covered while they are sleeping. Crib bumpers also pose a hazard to the baby.
There are a number of myths associated with the baby’s sleeping practice. Contrary to modern-day perceptions, swaddling indeed helps put the baby to sleep. Also, contrary to what most feel, letting pets stay or sleep beside a newborn is indeed a high-risk proposition.
However, parents can keep small side-pillows on either side of the baby to prevent them from rolling over in case the baby’s bed has no side railings.
Co-sleeping is also a hotly debatable topic. Sharing bed-space may increase the risk of SIDS. But having a baby in a crib or bassinet at a safe distance from your own bed would allow you to keep surveillance on your baby.
Also, myths of the kind that babies who sleep with their parents grow up to be spoilt or dependent have still not been proven.
Special attention must also be paid to the pillows a baby is given to use. For instance, pillows made of mustard seeds allow the baby’s head sit comfortably.
An adult pillow can provide support to an adult’s head and neck. But the same pillow can put unnecessary strain on the newborn’s neck and shoulders. However, many experts also opine that there is no need to use pillows for babies below the age of 18 months.
But one should make sure that the baby is not allergic to the pillow material. A right balance between too-soft and too-firm a pillow must be struck. Also, organic pillows lack harmful toxins, bleaches and dyes and can be favoured over synthetic covers.
Sleep postures and sleep paraphernalia can be dismissed as a trivial thing, but one should pay emphasis on how the babies are sleeping to avoid any complications.