My baby always turns his head to the side when sleeping!
As parents, we all know that back is best when putting the baby into the crib or bassinet to sleep. Simple right? Well, it gives more for a parent to stress about. It is fine for the baby to turn his head to sleep; that is normal. Sleeping on their back greatly reduces the risk of SIDS happening to your little bundle.
When it first began, “Back is Best” also included the side position of sleeping as okay. Since then, it has been determined that many babies begin to roll over onto their stomachs when they begin on their sides. So ultimately, they retracted the statement of side sleeping. The concern that many parents and pediatricians are concerned with is the shape of the baby’s head.
The concerns about how much time the baby spends lying down on their backs is a legitimate concern. Flathead syndrome, SIDS, and Plagiocephaly can all become a factor when a baby sleeps. Is it bad to allow the baby’s head to remain turned to the side when they are sleeping? What can be done to prevent any of these issues?
Have you thought about SIDs?
Yes, the back will always remain as the best position for the baby to sleep. Yes, many babies will begin to roll over by nine months., so they will end up on their tummies any way. There is a reason to be aware of the positioning and ways to prevent the baby from flipping over. Sudden infant death syndrome is not imaginary, it is real, and it can happen to any baby. The baby may not be comfortable at all times and will become fussy or turn over. The parents can easily adjust the baby’s position as they check routinely throughout the night.
What about the baby turning his head to the side?
You would think that this would not hurt the baby. Right? Well, it could be a cause of flat head syndrome or positional Plagiocephaly. This will occur in the first six months of a baby’s life. Newborns spend most of their time sleeping, and for those that turn their heads when sleeping, it can happen without realizing it.
This sounds simpler than it may be for some parents. When your baby is sleeping, you must continue to check on your baby routinely. If you have one of those infants that turns their head, you can very easily readjust the infant’s head without waking them up. Repositioning the baby or even just the baby’s head will aid in preventing this condition.
Side sleepers unite
Yes, it has already been stated numerous times that back is best. However, some infants just cannot sleep on their backs. Luckily now, there are ways to allow your baby to be a side sleeper. Many times if you roll up a bath towel and wedge it in the front of your baby when he is sleeping, this is enough to prevent the child from rolling over all the way and not able to get air. There are also special pillows that can be purchased that allow you to place it around the side sleeping infant, which will also prevent the child from rolling over.
Head can still become flat.
Even side sleepers can develop flat head syndrome. Again, physically checking on the baby routinely will prevent this. You can reposition the infant to the other side easily enough without waking the baby.
Swaddling solves it
Swaddling your baby can prevent the baby from rolling over, only when you have a certain type of swaddle that does not allow the baby to roll. You may have an infant that despises swaddling or having their arms in the swaddle. There have been many babies that are swaddled without the arms inside. However, keep this thought in mind, a newborn has come out of a tight, cramped area that in no way was quiet. They still need to feel the security that swaddling provides.
Grow out of it
As the baby grows, they do not spend as much time laying flat on their backs. They do get to the stage where they can self adjust their heads. Meantime, rather than leaving your infant laying on their back so often, hold them more often, start practicing tummy time. Routinely check on the baby as they are sleeping and adjust the position of their head.
Treatment is available
Many infants develop flat spots on their heads. The sooner you recognize the issue, the better for baby. Your pediatrician will suggest a certain helmet for the baby to wear if he feels it is needed. The best treatment is prevention, physically go into your baby’s room and check, readjust the baby’s head routinely. Hold your infant more often, and practice tummy time.
Swings and things
You may think that letting your baby sleep in the sing would prevent any issues since the baby is not flat. This is not the case. It is possible for the baby’s head to tip forward and prevents breathing. There is a special type of bassinet, a bed that allows the parent to swaddle the baby, and the baby cannot rollover. The bed does rock and has white noise to help the baby calm down. It is still highly regarded as safer to routinely check on the infant until they are old enough to adjust themselves.
Becoming a parent is sometimes scary. You hear so many stories, so many negative things that could happen. How is it possible to protect your baby from all the scary things in life? There is no way to prevent all issues from happening. We, as parents, do the best we can. Flathead syndrome does improve over time, and when the baby can sit up on their own, the flat area will not get any worse.
Plagiocephaly is also not as noticeable when hair begins to grow in fuller. A flat spot is usually not that large to begin with, and if it is, the pediatrician will be able to determine the best method to take for your infant.