Q&A: What Is The Proper Newborn Sleep Incline? (Safe & Sound Slumber)

  • Learn why it’s important to properly position baby for sleep 
  • Know and understand the recommended sleep incline for baby 
  • Find out when doctors say babies should sleep at an incline 
  • Plus, what to use to securely prop up a baby while sleeping

Are you looking for the right way to put your newborn to sleep?

Do you want to know the proper position in which you should place your little one to sleep?

Confused about whether you should let your newborn sleep flat or place a pillow under the head?

When you have a newborn baby at home, it is important to check about even the most regular of things. For instance, you may wonder if you have to be extra careful while you are helping baby to sleep, or helping them to lie down on the bed. You may be concerned about how to do it in such a way that it does not cause any pressure on your newborn’s neck. Most new parents go through these questions, so this article will help you find out information about your baby’s sleep position.

We will first talk about why it is so important that you place your newborn properly to sleep, and what could go wrong if the sleeping position is not right. Also, we talk about some situations when you may need to change this up a bit and also talk about whether or not it is safe to use a newborn pillow.

Why is properly positioning a newborn for sleep so important?

baby sleep incline reflux
  • The way you put your newborn to sleep and the exact position in which your newborn will be sleeping has a lot of effect on your newborn’s overall safety.
  • In fact, it can also greatly impact your newborn’s quality of sleep, as well as for how long your newborn stays asleep.
  • When you place your newborn to sleep in the right way, it will make it easier for them to breathe through the night. If your newborn does not have any interruptions or discomfort while breathing, it will help them sleep for longer and not wake up in the middle of their sleep. 

Could the wrong position of sleeping be potentially harmful for your little one?

It is important that you place your baby to sleep on the back at all times, whether it is for a lengthy night time sleep or even for shorter naps during the day, as recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP). This can prevent the risk of SIDS.

Under normal circumstances, what is the recommended sleep incline for baby?

According to experts, under normal circumstances, the safest position to put your newborn baby to sleep is to let your baby lie on his or her back.

infant incline sleeping
  • The sleeping on the back position is considered to be the safest, especially as it can help to reduce the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you have a healthy newborn who has been examined by the doctors and is not suffering from any health risks, this is the safest and most comfortable position for your baby to sleep in.
  • In addition, placing your newborn to sleep on the back position will also help to keep other issues at bay.
  • It is also said that in fact, placing your newborn to sleep on the back can also help to reduce instances of spitting up and choking.
  • In addition, you also have to make sure that you are placing your newborn to sleep on a firm surface, and not on blankets or sofa or on the couch. You should place your newborn on crib mattresses that are safety approved and should not place your baby on any pillows, quilts or other items that have a soft surface.
  • Babies can easily get used to the way you put them to sleep. Research also suggests that if a baby is regularly put to sleep on the back position, but is then placed on the stomach position to sleep, even if it is for a shorter nap, it can pose the risk of SIDS. Apparently, this risk can be up to seven to eight times higher as compared to those babies who have always been placed on their stomach or on their side to sleep.

When do paediatricians typically recommend an incline for newborn sleep?

Of course there are situations when your baby may be in discomfort, and you may feel that it is best to let your baby sleep on the stomach position for the time being. Here are a few such instances in which your baby may actually find it easier to sleep if you place him or her in the stomach position for sleeping.

1. When baby is congested

  • Some babies suffer from a condition known as Robin syndrome, which is a type of condition in which the baby’s upper airway is not formed properly. As a result, baby may suffer from acute congestion and obstruction in the airways, which makes it difficult to breathe properly.
  • Also, if a newborn catches a cold, it can be very difficult for the baby to be able to breathe properly, and this risk gets higher while baby is asleep.
  • In such a condition, placing your newborn on the stomach position may help to ease the breathing a little bit and may make sleep time a little safer and comfortable.
toddler sleep incline

2. When baby has acid reflux

  • In some cases, babies also suffer from acid reflux, in which case you may notice a lot of spitting and milk coming out.
  • Also, some babies suffer from severe gastroesophageal reflux, in which case, putting them to sleep on their stomach with the head slightly at an elevated angle can make things a little easier for your little one.

Do keep this in mind:

  • Whatever the situation, it is important that you first get your newborn examined by the paediatrician and share your concern with them about what will be the best and safest position to put your baby to sleep in such a situation.
  • If your baby’s paediatrician gives you the go ahead, you may place baby to sleep on the stomach.
  • However, do remember that in order to make sure that your newborn is completely safe, a responsible and alert adult should always supervise the baby, especially if he or she has been placed on the stomach to sleep.

What can you use to properly prop baby up at an incline while sleeping?

Most paediatricians and experts suggest that in order to keep your baby absolutely safe at the time of sleep, it is best that you do not use any pillows or sheets around your baby. This can help to reduce the risk of accidental suffocation that can increase the risk of SIDS.

If you really have to put your infant’s head to an incline during sleep time, you can try placing a very small and thin infant pillow right under your infant’s head. Most of these are shaped in such a way that they will fit right under your infant’s head. Alternatively, you can take a small and soft hand towel and place it in a folded position under baby’s sheet around the head area. This can also help to put your newborn’s head in a slightly elevated position.

While you could try these out, make sure you are constantly checking on your newborn to make sure they are sleeping safe.