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Written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
26 August 2020

Should I adjust my baby's sleeping position?

Allowing your child to learn how to get themselves into a comfortable position and soothe themselves to sleep is one of the objectives in sleep training. So when you check the baby monitor and notice that your child has pushed herself into an uncomfortable-looking ball against the side of their cot, it can really make you wonder "Should I or shouldn't I?"

This is fairly common in babies who have been fed or carried to sleep and then placed into crib already asleep . The lying down part has therefore always been done for them. Which can lead to these babies not being familiar with how to lie themselves down for sleep and so they might choose strange looking postures initially. After spending some time exploring their crib, many babies will nod off while they are still standing or even while they are still sitting up.

So should you adjust them?

As safety is always a top issue with babies, you should definitely go in and lay your child on their back if they fall asleep in an unsafe posture.

You might be thinking, "But won't that wake them up and reset the whole thing?"

Yes and no, I suppose. Baby may wake up and want to engage with you, but if you put them down, tell them that it's still time for sleep, and then remove yourself, chances are strong that they'll fall back asleep soon. It's not perfect, but it's preferable to the possibility of them toppling over.

But what about the times that they have curled into a corner, and altho it does not look unsafe, it look uncomfortable? The funny thing is that, a baby may find something to be really comfortable even though it looks mighty awkward to us adults. The most typical situations I observe is babies curled up on the edge of their cot, or with the tops of their heads up against a corner of the crib. Which obviously do not look comfortable at all to us adults. 

Nonetheless, infants do appear to prefer to snooze against something. Whatever the reason, they do seem to like to sleep against some form of surface, whether it be for a feeling of security or being close to someone. The best option is to let them sleep if they do wind up a little pressed up against the side of the cot or curled up in the corner.

Again, safety is our top priority, so move the baby if a limb is protruding from the crib bars or if they are in a position where it would be difficult for them to breathe. Just be mindful to get them back into a secure sleeping position as quickly and quietly as you can, and don't stay any longer than necessary.

And that's a wrap! Sleep well.

Article written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Based in Singapore
Trained in the Sleep Sense Program

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