Sleep position and your baby: Does she need to sleep on her back?

My baby sleeps best on her belly. Do I need to put her to sleep on her back, as the doctor recommends? Does she need to continue sleeping on her back when she is older and is able to roll over?


Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with a statement concerning the sleeping position of newborns. There have been several studies from other countries that found a lower incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies from populations that put their newborns to sleep on their backs, in other words not on their tummies. Based on this research, the Academy has recommended that all newborns be placed on their backs when put to sleep.

Once your child is well out of the newborn period and presumably can roll over both from back-to-stomach and stomach-to-back, she will most likely shift around to a different position while she is asleep. Once she gets to this age, the best sleeping position is the one in which she is most comfortable.

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