Baby Won’t Sleep On Back – What Should We Do?

baby won't sleep on back

Most parents feel so confused when taking care of their babies as they have to face to lots of troubles. One of the most challenging troubles is that baby won’t sleep on back. They wonder whether it’s safe or unsafe for their infants and how to deal with this situation.

When babies are growing and becoming stronger, it’s even harder for parents to adjust babies’ sleep position. However, there is no need for you to worry, because in this post, we will provide you with beneficial tips to ensure that your babies sleep on their backs, not their tummies for a long time.

Is It Essential for Babies to Sleep on Back?

There is a wide range of positions to put babies to sleep. Some love being their side a little bit or much; some prefer lying on their tummy; others get used to sleeping on their back. However, it’s said that the safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs.

If the babies’ face is close to the sheets, they may re-breath carbon dioxide and not have enough oxygen. Therefore, the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) will be reduced.

Moreover, baby can suffocate when sleeping on stomach on a soft mattress, especially in water beds. That is the reason why parents shouldn’t let babies sleep on water beds. Besides, babies are not recommended to lie with face against the mattress because bacteria in mattress can affect their breathing.

The following video will show you how to position your baby for sleep:

Many parents used to assume that it’s very dangerous if babies vomit when sleeping on back. Thus, they let their babies sleep on tummy to help them feel more comfortable. However, this issue is quite complex because sleeping on stomach can bring more dangers.

Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep on Back

#1. Don’t Use Sleep Positioners

If you have the intention of using them, you need to be careful because there are 12 cases that babies died because they suffocated in or between a sleep positioner, or the side of bassinet (according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration – FDA).

As a result, you shouldn’t use pillows or bumper pads while babies are sleeping. It’s recommended to place them directly on the sleep surface. However, if you want to use a wedge (one kind of sleep positioners), you can consult the advice from your pediatrician.

#2. Swaddling Techniques

For babies at the very first few months, swaddling will keep them safe and in a certain position when they are sleeping. Moreover, it protects them from waking themselves up by jerky and uncontrollable actions.

However, according to a study published in 2016, swaddling is a factor contributing to the increase in SIDS risk for babies while they are sleeping on their tummy. But the correlation of swaddling and SIDS risk is not clear for the babies sleeping on back. Therefore, it’s considered as one of the best ways to make baby sleep on back.

#3. Keep Babies Sleep on Chest

This is a natural position that other primates usually do with their babies. When babies sleep on parent’s chest, they will have a secure environment. But you should put their head higher than their bottom. Thanks to the movement and breathing of parents, the babies’ breathing is stimulated. Therefore, this position is very safe.

#4. Putting Babies on Bed

Firstly, you need to feed them or hold and rock them until they feel asleep in your arms. But they are only in REM sleep, and if you place them immediately, they may be wakened up and start fussing and crying. Therefore, you have to keep them in your arms about 20 minutes to lead them to a deeper sleep. After that, you can put them to sleep on back in bed, bassinet, cot or crib more easily.


Moms and dads should always try to create the safest sleep environment for their baby – avoiding sleep positioners, applying swaddling, using crib or bed, etc. If you can get your little one to sleep on his/her side, add a pacifier – studies have proven that it can reduce the risk of SIDS.

If your little one prefers sleeping on his back, that is great! But if not, don’t worry because there are always solutions to everything.

Now you know why your baby won’t sleep on back and how to solve this problem. If you have any question, feel free to contact us. We will reply as soon as possible. Thank you!

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