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so how bad is it to put a baby to sleep on their side?

(15 Posts)
warthog Mon 15-Sep-08 10:50:51

my three week old loves sleeping on her side. she can manoeuvre onto her side on her own. as soon as i move her onto her back she wakes up. so how bad is it? do i persevere with getting her to sleep on her back or relax?

Personally I would relax. The advice used to be to put them to sleep on their side, the advice about putting them on their back is more recent. You could always put a small rolled up towel or blanket in front of her so she can't roll onto her front. I know plenty of people on here have said they've left their babies to it and enjoyed a better night's sleep all round.

igivein Mon 15-Sep-08 12:15:32

As I'm sure you're aware, the 'back to bed' advice is aimed at reducing cot death, and is important up until the baby can roll over, then it doesn't matter so much any more, but there are other factors which are equally (if not more) important:
Have the baby in the same room with you.
Don't smoke.
Don't let the baby get too warm (this one's the real biggy!).
If she wriggles onto her side anyway I'd do what JATGB says and prop her in this position.
And try not to worry too much!

nooname Mon 15-Sep-08 12:21:45

I sympathise as ds was like this - he could not sleep on his back so side was the only option.

The back to sleep advice is all very well unless you get a baby who hasn't read it!

Agree with igivein - make sure you take all other precautions but accept that this is one you can't win - you just can't force a baby to sleep on their back if they can't.

In ds' case he would just flail his arms and constantly wake himself up.

MrsBick Mon 15-Sep-08 12:27:58

i had this with my DS. he had reflux and would sometimes vomit when he fell asleep. i was so worried about him choking and he could sleep better on his side.
we put a rolled up towel next to him & it really helped

LittleMoosh Mon 15-Sep-08 12:36:21

I let both my DS's sleep how they wanted. Although I did put them down to sleep on their backs they always moved position, especially my youngest (now 21 months). He was fully rolling over at 8 weeks so impossible to make him sleep on his back.
I made sure they didn't overheat, neither my partner or I smoke, no pets, they both slept in the same room as us and I was always was checking on them (still do check on them now and eldest is now 6 YO)

neolara Mon 15-Sep-08 12:37:47

My DD would NOT sleep on her back. After 3 months of 3 hours sleep a night, my mum put her on her side and she instantaneously fell asleep. It was like a reflex. She went from hysterical screaming while being on her back, to being asleep within (literally) 3 seconds after being turned on her side. I wedged her in with rolled up towels and a bag of rice. The HV disapproved, but I guess she had not choice but to give the party line.

The only down-side in my experience was that as my dd got stronger the towels did not hold her in place and she repeatedly fell onto her back. Cue 6 weeks of my having to get up 15 to 20 times a night to turn her onto her side. It only resolved itself at 5 1/2 months when she learned to roll over by herself at which point she got herself onto her side and continued to sleep like this for the next few years.

flubdub Mon 15-Sep-08 12:40:09

When I had ds1 (three yrs ago) the first thing the midwife did was swaddle him and put him on his side.

nooname Mon 15-Sep-08 12:43:20

Flubdub - I understood that swaddling is not a good idea as newborns can overheat really easily and may not be able to get out of a swaddle to cool themselves down.

When I was pg with ds (3 years ago) we were advised not to swaddle for this reason. The advice was that if you did swaddle to sleep you should unwrap them once they are asleep.

CrushWithEyeliner Mon 15-Sep-08 12:45:36

I have done so from birth with DD but never swaddled. She is nearly 2 and still sleeps this way bless her.

squiffy Mon 15-Sep-08 12:46:02

You can buy something called a 'sleep positioner' from baby shops if your baby does this - it keeps her in position on her side without risk that she may knock blankets away and turn onto her front or end up stuck with blankets too close to her airways.

pinata Mon 15-Sep-08 16:38:12

well, my DD has slept on her front since she was only a few days old - we knew all the advice, but she never settled on her back and just looked plain uncomfortable

i panicked for a few days, then relaxed. we have no other SIDS risk factors. she is now 9.5mo and can obviously move herself into any position she wants and she never ever sleeps on her back

i would say look at the advice and then decide for yourself and your own situation. but if your baby can move herself into a position she prefers, it seems crazy to move her out of it and wake her up, especially at a time when i'm sure you could do with as much sleep as possible

jambot Mon 15-Sep-08 17:00:48

DD slept on her side from birth until she started doing her own thing at about 7 months. I used a foam "sleep positioner " that kept her on her side. I would change her from her left to her right side when I fed her in the night. She was very happy like that. She would startle so much when on her back, even swaddled that I changed to side sleeping and she slept much better.

LeonieD Mon 15-Sep-08 17:03:09

Message withdrawn

Boboma Mon 15-Sep-08 20:04:32

My DD never slept on her back at all due to a medical reason. I remember worrying about her sleeping on her side from the SIDS risk, but it turned out that she was 100% fine. She always looked very comfy on her side too - curled up in a semi-foetal position. Very sweet! I'd say go for it. I would with another baby, even if there was no medical reason. And it is definitely good for keeping a round head!

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