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Front sleeping at 3 Months old

(20 Posts)
thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 00:52:06

I've previously been doing everything that is currently 'advised' ie; back sleeping, short sessions in a bouncer chair, and only in the car seat whilst actually being driven, but my son has developed severe plagiocephaly, which includes his ear becoming misaligned by over an inch, and he has developed mild torticollis. When on his back he always sleeps with his head facing sideways to his right, (if I turn his head, he moves it back again) and his right ear has been pushed forwards by an inch. His face looks larger on the right side also.

The consultant told us to relieve pressure on the back of his head by tummy time and side sleeping.......He HATES tummy time during the day when he's awake. We also failed to keep him propped up on his side to sleep.

However, he gets on well sleeping on his front. My mum and everyone of the previous generation tell me that all babies used to sleep on their tummies. My mum also seems to think that back sleeping is the cause of so many ear infections now, which she tells me her children never had. I can well believe this as when on his back I've seen sicky spit roll down my DS's face and into his ear...

I'm struggling to find reasons and statistics by googling to ascertain why the back to sleep campaign was launched, other than a vague mention that it has reduced sids. But then I think that less people smoke nowadays and there are many other factors that have improved since the back to sleep campaign, so what are the real risks and the numbers??

At the moment I'm weighing up the odds of putting him to sleep on his front, to give him a chance of his face and head evening out, which will have a very real impact on his future life and confidence. Or putting him on his back because of current government advise.

Squaffle Sat 07-Jan-17 09:53:44

Sorry, I don't have specific advice about front sleeping but didn't want to read and run.

Our DD had severe torticollis and mild plagiocephaly from birth to around 4 months. She was the same as your DS in that if she lay on her back her head was always completely over to the right, including when she was awake/playing. At 3 months she started sleeping on her (left) side and this seemed to help with her head shape. We also used a Babymoov lovenest pillow in her pram which kept her head more central. It all righted itself when she started to hold her head up more and became more interested in her surroundings. Now at 9 months you'd never know there was a problem, but looking back at photos it was so marked.

Good luck whatever you decide x

Scrumptiouscrumpets Sat 07-Jan-17 10:12:03

Tummy sleeping is an independent risk factor for SIDS. This means even a full term, healthy, breastfed baby that is not exposed to cigarette smoke, has a dummy to go to sleep with and is appropriately dressed is still at a higher risk of SIDS compared to the same baby which is put to sleep on his back.

Many babies sleep wonderfully on their tummies. I can understand the temptation to do so. But rates of cot death have fallen to less than half the rate they were before the Back to sleep campaign. Putting your baby to sleep on his back is one of the most important things you can do to ensure safe sleep.

What previous generations did is irrelevant: advice changes because we gain more knowledge about things. The current advice is based on very sound science.

As for the ear infections: your mum is referring to infections of the middle ear. These are caused by bacteria from the nose which reach the middle ear via a tube connecting the middle ear and the oral cavity (the Eustachian tube). Milk running into the ear from outside doesn't cause middle ear infections.

I would follow your consultant's advice and not your mum's.

There are caps with little pillows sewn into them which keep a baby's head on one side, have a look on Google for them and check with your consultant if they might be an option for your LO.

By the way, it is normal for babies to not like tummy time initially. Keep putting him on his tummy as often as possible when he's awake, and you will see how he will get used to it. He'll cry after a couple of seconds the first weeks, then he'll manage a minute, then two, and so on.

dementedpixie Sat 07-Jan-17 10:20:34

I used a baby sleep pillow when ds started getting a flat head. It was a goi goi pillow but think it's now called lilla kuddis.

hollmes Sat 07-Jan-17 10:22:55

I wouldn't risk tummy sleeping. It is not a vague connection, it is a very clear and evidence based risk factor for SIDS.

An alternative to awake tummy time is carrying in a sling. You could check out your local sling meet for advice.

There are also a wide range of baby sleep positioners and wedges to keep baby on their side whilst asleep.

It is highly unlikely that your baby would die from SIDS, but if they did and you had put them on their tummy to slee

hollmes Sat 07-Jan-17 10:23:34

Sorry hit post by mistake.

If you'd put them on their tummy to sleep would you be able to live with that?

FATEdestiny Sat 07-Jan-17 11:10:44

vague mention that it has reduced sids


Since the back to sleep campaign was launched in 1994 SIDS deaths have declined by 50%.

littledinaco Sat 07-Jan-17 12:50:25

I second the Lilla kuddis pillow pp mentioned.

Also, maybe a sling instead of pram.

If you can find a good cranio osteopath, they can make a massive difference. It can often be pressure elsewhere (such as neck/shoulders) that causes baby to lie in a set position to one side. This can quite often be easily fixed by a good osteo.

thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 15:51:42

Hi all,

I have Lilla Kudis pillows. My elder son used them. He used to sleep with his face straight up and had flat head syndrome which caused the back of his head to flatten, but that did not cause any other disfigurement. He is nearly 4 and the back of his head is still very flat, but his face has great symmetry (always did have) and he looks fine.

It's the way my baby's face is twisted is what is concerning me so much.
My DS's consultant also confirmed that pillows alone will not help my baby in this instance. Incidentally when I asked my consultant about front sleeping, she said

There is also new evidence that some people, now in their early 20s, the 1990s babies who were the first to be placed on their backs, are now suffering confidence problems caused by their disfigured head shapes, particularly the men who have less hair. Some of this generation also have difficulty in purchasing Safety helmets that fit etc.

thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:02:40

Sorry the above got posted before I'd finished typing !

The consultant has advised me to eliminate pressure on the back of the head. When I mentioned helmets, she said the NHS doesn't recommended them. I clearly got the impression that without her saying so directly to me, that the only way to improve thefficiency severe plagiocephaly that he has will be to front or side sleep him.

thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:06:46

Sorry about bizarre typos! The infuriating predictive text on my phone constantly changes words and grammar when it doesn't need changing!

hollmes Sat 07-Jan-17 16:12:33


Think about it.

Possible self consciousness about appearance in adulthood, vs possible sudden death in infancy.

Which risk do you prefer?

FATEdestiny Sat 07-Jan-17 16:30:58

Babies start rolling naturally by about 4-6 months.

The risks of front sleeping are well researched, undisputed and highly significant. Considering all other SIDS risk, front sleeping is the single most significant.

Having said that - everyone judges risk in a personal way according to their own risk management. Lots of people make an informed and calculated decision to ignore SIDS risk factors. But they do so while understanding the risks involved.

OP - you seem to want to pretend the risks of front sleeping dont exist. That's not a wise. It's just ignorant of the facts.

thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:37:20

But that is why I need to see the figures to really assess the risk, and how many other lifestyle changes have reduced sids since the 80s. Also the demographic..

The HV girls are obviously very, very clear about not front sleeping, but none of the head girls I've asked can give me any more detailed information. The more experienced consultant was far more relaxed...she didn't directly tell me not to.

I suffered self confidence issues during my childhood and teens which affected my life. I had eczema on my face, and the antibiotics I was given in the 70s as a baby and young child to treat cellulitis caused by the eczema caused my teeth to grow yellow and soften. When I finally got my teeth done in my 20s, it was like my life had just began. I was a different, happy person.

Cosmetic issues are more important than people give credit for. x

My son is about to start sessions with a cranial osteopath. So I'll also hopefully get help there and see results.

FATEdestiny Sat 07-Jan-17 16:43:34

Google "Lullaby Trust Evidence Base"

It's a pdf summarising the evidence data the NHS use to inform SIDS recommendations.

Back to Sleep data is indisputable.

thearty1 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:49:28

Thank you for the link. x

FATEdestiny Sat 07-Jan-17 16:52:53

thearty1 - if you want to put your DS on his front to sleep, then own that decision.

Don't do it on the basis that the evidence doesn't exist. Don't bury your head in the sand with regards to risk. Don't do it because other people do. Do it because YOU have decided it is right for your child.

Loads of people put their child on their front to sleep. Loads of smokers cosleep. Loads of babies sleep in car seats for extended periods. These are all risks. Calculated and informed risks.

The bottom line is this:

If your son dies and the post mortem days Sudden Infant Death due to sleeping position - will you think: "I knew this was a risk and while I am devastated, I did the right thing". Or will you carry the guilt of wishing you did things differently.

eurochick Sat 07-Jan-17 17:05:42

The risks are clear but plenty of people do put their babies to sleep on their fronts without consequence (just like I remember sliding about in cars with no rear seat belts as a child with no consequences - I got lucky). In your shoes I would be inclined to keep your baby upright as much as possible during the day by using a sling, putting him on your chest, encouraging tummy time, etc.

tissuesosoft Sat 07-Jan-17 17:13:12

Hi OP, going to send you some info about this- will explain in message why not explaining here! Nothing bad but outing

Loops81 Mon 09-Jan-17 16:00:00

thearty1, I feel your pain, we went through the same with our daughter - I know it's difficult to relax at night knowing they are lying in the same old position and there's nothing you can do! We used a few different kinds of pillows and eventually started lying her on her side for part of the night (she was around 7 months at this stage). As soon as she began rolling around on her own and crawling/cruising during the day, I saw an improvement and now (almost 3) it's barely noticeable at all. Do what feels right to you.

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