Periodically, someone on my home board will ask for recommendations on baby sleep positioners. Some moms say that they’ve used them because their baby has acid reflux, or it was the only way to keep their baby from rolling over in his or her sleep.
As usual, I have a bit more of a hard line approach to the use of baby sleep positioners. (I suspect that’s not a surprise to anyone who has ever read a blog posting or message board comment from me.)
I will not allow baby sleep positioners to enter my home. Period. There are a few really simple reasons for that, but it all comes down to one: baby sleep positioners are not safe.
Okay, so now is when people are going to come out of the wood work and announce that I’m wrong, I’m a know-it-all, I’m a big meanie, whatever. So, in effort to counteract that, I’ll go ahead and respond to the typical arguments made in favor of baby sleep positioners.
Don’t baby sleep positioners reduce SIDS?
Not according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They actually said point-blank, “Do not use wedges or infant positioners, since there’s no evidence that they reduce the risk of SIDS.” In fact, Consumer Reports points out that putting anything soft in the crib, including a sleep positioner, may increase rebreathing, which may increase the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
But I’m afraid my baby will roll over on her tummy, and that’s not safe, either!
Eventually, your baby will roll over. That’s a given. Eventually, your baby will crawl, stand, walk, and talk, too. Did you know that placing babies on their backs to sleep has actually slowed down rolling over? Part of the reason for babies rolling over later now is because they are sleeping on their backs. The only tummy time they get nowadays is supervised.
It’s a lot easier for a baby to use his arms to push himself over onto his back than to pivot his weight to put himself on his tummy. Generally, when babies get to the point of rolling over (and notice that I did say generally, not “always”) from their backs to their tummies in their sleep, they are older and the risk of SIDS is reduced.
What about reflux? Using a sleep positioned to keep my baby on her side helps with that.
Babies have always had reflux. (Not all babies, mind you, but it’s always been a known issue.) Sleep positioners were not always available. Once upon a time, moms would roll up a towel or blanket and put it underneath the crib mattress, which would put the crib at a slight angle and help. Have you considered that?
At the end of the day, the decision to use or not use a sleep positioner is entirely up to the parent. The decision to use one or not use one does not mean that the parent is a bad parent. Not in the least. It’s being done with the best of intentions. It’s not my goal to tell anyone else how to parent their children.
All that I can tell you is how I intend to keep my infant safe. Take that information, and use it how you will.
Did you use baby sleep positioners with your children?
Originally written March 5, 2010. All of my children are long out of their cribs now. I’ve dealt with reflux, milk intolerance, and other issues. And I never used a sleep positioner. I did, however, prop up the crib mattress with a pillow placed under the top of the mattress.