I know that there is that whole “Back to Sleep” thing that we are told is the be-all and end-all to prevent SIDS. Mom tells me that I slept on my stomach, because wisdom at that time said stomach sleeping was better. Now, however, we all are supposed to ensure our babies sleep on their backs a la Corpse Pose. However, the rise in flathead syndrome (fancy name: positional plagiocephaly) is, in my non-expert opinion, not a co-incidence. Children nowadays go from sleeping on their backs, to being on their backs in car seats and strollers, and then being put on their backs for playtime. (Stay tuned for a future post about why I think the stroller I bought was the largest waste of $220 ever). Back when I was an infant, we slept on our tummies and then went into the car seats. It was the variety that kept the incidence of flat heads down.
So it’s no surprise that parents today actually have to be told to put their children onto their stomachs. We also are so geared to the stomach being nothing more than the pit of evil and despair, that parents start thinking that any time, awake or asleep, on the tummy is nothing short of WRONG WRONG WRONG YOU ARE A BAD PARENT AND SHOULD BE REPORTED OR HEXED.
My boy is a side sleeper, like his mama:
He sleeps longer and harder than anything else if he is allowed to sleep on his side. Since we breastfeed most frequently using the side-lying position, he will often fall asleep on his side and I often leave him until he awakens shortly afterwards wanting a burp. If put to sleep on his side, either in his bassinet or in a makeshift bed (ours, the couch, etc) he falls asleep faster and will stay asleep for longer. He doesn’t seem to care which side he is placed on.
Don’t get me wrong, we do put him on his back (note Daddy-rigged soother-holder-inner receiving blanket):
… and he almost always turns his head to that side.
Sidenote: Kale is sporting a footless sleeper from Fig Baby, a local company, made from 95% organic cotton and 5% spandex, and made entirely sweatshop free from “seed to shelf”. I love this sleeper not only for its non-traditional colour, but for the fact that it zips up so it’s “easy access”. The screen-printed image is of a boy jumping on a trampoline and a flock? herd? swarm? (whatever the hell a group of them is called) of butterflies flying across the sky. There are also butterflies on the back, near the nape of his neck. I’ve discovered that footless sleepers are the way to go when you have a long kid and I love the snug fit of this sleeper on Kale – loose clothing that gets all bunched up drives me crazy. Too bad about the $36 (yup, you read that right, for one stinkin’ sleeper) price tag on it, however – holy cripes. Good thing I got mine as part of a huge lot of baby clothes I paid hardly anything for. Huzzah for deals! End sidenote.
My two Hard and Fast Rules of Parenting (Number one: flexibility and Number two: common sense) tell me that if Kale is a side sleeper and gets better sleep when allowed to sleep on his side, then you know what? That’s how he can sleep. I take precautions to ensure that he doesn’t flop onto his tummy, and he’s a few short weeks from being able to flip himself over, anyway, and then this entire discussion will be moot.
One last photo. You KNOW this is my kid when he’s already flipping up the horns: