What’s the best sleep position for babies???
Sleep positions have not changed for nearly 20 years. Sleeping on the back has been found to be the safest position. Placing a baby on his/her back to sleep decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), previously known as “crib death.” I do not recommend placing infants on their stomachs or sides, unless they are awake and supervised, and then only for play time in small intervals. It is safe to do awake tummy play time for 15 to 20 minutes two to three times each day, but again the child should be supervised.
Some babies do seem to prefer to sleep on their stomachs. I know that this can be a difficult situation, but it is so much safer to sleep them on their backs that I continue to encourage parents to keep trying. Eventually, most babies will accept a back sleeping position as normal if we keep laying them in that position while full, dry, and drowsy. Remember the saying: Back to sleep!
Facts about babies sleep schedules:
- Newborns do little more than eat, mess their diapers, and sleep. They sleep up to 17 hours each day, but usually in short 1 to 2 hour intervals.
- Around 2 months of age, babies’ sleep cycles tend to regulate a bit. They fall into a mid-morning and afternoon nap. They will still usually wake to feed once or twice a night, but tend to have longer wakeful periods during the day. They may sleep in 4 or 5 hour intervals at night. Their total sleep time is about 15 hours/day.
- From 4 to 6 months, the two-nap-a-day cycle will continue, but you may notice that one of the naps will get shorter (usually the morning nap). The nighttime sleep cycles continue to lengthen, thankfully. At this age, the total daily sleep time decreases to around 14 hours/day. They sleep longer at night, and less during the day. You may notice that they even have an occasional night when they “sleep through,” but then start feeding in the night again. This is usually due to growth spurts, which occur at various times. Be patient. Most babies will sleep through the night by 6 months, some even sooner.
We can all agree that this baby picture is adorable, but it reminds us, that babies should not sleep on the tummy! It also reminds us NOT to leave any child alone in or around water. Remember, this baby was well supervised during this photo session with parents and the photographer close at hand. Still, the picture is so sweet…