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Hi Red Nose team, our 6 weeks old baby is having some trouble sleeping on his back, and we suspect it is because of reflux (we're seeing a lactation consultant and pediatrician to help us with this issue). During the day and between feeds, our little one likes to sleep on his mom, tummy down. We are a bit concerned as my wife read somewhere that babies sleeping on their tummy are more prone to SIDS, even when monitored. Is this true? Thank you for your advice and all the best, Ben

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Posted a response on 15/4/19


Hi Ben,

Thank you for contacting Red Nose with your question.

Red Nose recognises that the safest position to place baby to sleep is on their back.

As you have said, placing baby to sleep on their tummy, especially if on a lounge on parents chest, is high risk.

A parent falling asleep with a baby prone (on the tummy) on the parent’s chest and unobserved can be problematic as prone positioning reduces baby’s arousal mechanisms that protect baby’s airway; baby’s nose may become obstructed by clothing, or parent’s body or breast; or an unobserved baby may become positioned with his/her chin to chest, which will also obstruct baby’s airway

See more info here: https://rednose.org.au/article/sharing-a-sleep-surface-with-a-baby

Red Nose also has the following information about reflux, which you may find helpful.(GOR - reflux):
• Babies with GOR should be placed to sleep on their back from birth on a firm, flat mattress that is not elevated
• In babies with GOR, the risk of sudden death when baby is in the tummy or side sleeping positions outweighs any benefits of tummy or left side positioning of babies.
• Elevating the sleeping surface for back sleeping babies does not reduce GOR and is not recommended
For more info: https://rednose.org.au/article/sleeping-position-for-babies-with-gastro-oesophageal-reflux-gor

It might be helpful to also discuss with your Health Professional in relation to some settling techniques.

Kind regards, Red Nose

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