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Should I Help if Baby looks Uncomfortable?

The main element of sleep training is taking that step back from your baby’s sleep environment and allowing them to develop their abilities to fall asleep on their own.

Given this, it can cause a real “Should I or shouldn’t I” situation when you look at the baby monitor and see that your child has pushed themselves into an uncomfortable looking position against the side of their cot.

I see this issue predominately in little ones who have previously been either rocked or fed to sleep in Mummy’s arms and put into the cot already asleep. As silly as it sounds, this typically occurs in babies who have been assisted to sleep because they haven’t learned that they need to lie down in order for sleep to come easily.

Up until the start of their sleep program, these babies have been held in a certain position in Mummy or Daddy’s arms, which doesn’t allow baby to explore and find their comfortable independent sleeping position (we all have them!). They’re held in a nice, comfortable pose until they fall asleep, and then they wake up in their cot.

This often leads to babies falling asleep in some pretty amusing positions when they are eventually left to figure it out for themselves, as they try to discover what sort of position they need to be in, to fall asleep. Many will fall asleep sitting up, or even while they’re still on their feet, after a little time spent exploring their cot.

Obviously, priority one is always safety, so yes, you should absolutely go in and lie your baby on their back if they fall asleep in a position that’s not safe for them.

“Doesn’t that put us back to square one?” you may be asking.

Well, yes and no. There’s a good chance baby might wake up and want to interact with you. Lay them down, reassure them that’s it’s still time for sleep and then promptly leave the room. Don’t linger. Chances are they’ll find their way back to sleep before you know it. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than risking them falling over and hurting themselves.

But what about those times when they manage to wriggle their way into the corner of their cot? There are times when baby might not be in a dangerous sleeping position, but just one that looks really uncomfortable and awkward.

Well, what may seem uncomfortable looking to us adults, might be super comfortable to a baby. One of the most common scenarios I see are babies lying against the edge of their cot. As adults we equate this with sleeping against a wall, which is not something we would be terribly fond of.

Babies on the other hand, do seem to like to sleep while pushed up against something. It may be for a sense of security, or a feeling of being next to someone. Whatever the reason, they do seem to gravitate towards some kind of a surface to sleep against.

If they do end up a little squished against the side of their cot, or curled up into the corner, your best bet is to let them sleep. If they’re uncomfortable they’ll let you know, so let them do their thing!

Again, our number one concern is safety, so if baby has a limb hanging between the bars of the cot or has gotten into a position that might make it difficult to breathe, go ahead and reposition them. Just remember to make it as snappy and quiet as possible. Don’t hang around any longer than you need to. Make them safe and leave.

As for what to do when your other half gets into a position that only leaves you a few centimetres of space on the edge of the bed, you’re on your own with that one!!

Contact our sleep consultant today to book your free introductory consultation.


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