Everyone says that newborns should sleep on their backs, but when I swaddle my newborn and lay him down in the bassinet, he immediately rolls to one side or the other. Is that ok (I guess from a SIDS risk perspective) or is it just as bad as letting a newborn sleep on his stomach?

I would literally have to sandwich the kid between two rolled up cloths to get him to remain on his back.

4 Answers 4


The main concern with side sleeping and infants is when they are swaddled, if there's a chance they could roll to their front, they could be unable to breathe. As the companies who sell swaddles will tell you, cease use of the swaddle when the infant can roll over to their tummies.

"At Summer Infant, we are committed to educating caregivers on the importance of safe sleep and the benefits of swaddling, while providing products to meet these needs,” said Carol Bramson, president and chief executive officer of Summer Infant. "Once babies can roll over, it's time to stop swaddling, but then the challenge becomes learning to sleep with their arms out. This is how the ideas for our SwaddleMe WrapSack and ComfortMe Wearable Blanket were born.”

And from a swaddle safety site:

Swaddled babies should NEVER sleep face-down. So if your baby is starting to roll over on to her tummy while she sleeps, that is a strong sign that it’s time to stop swaddling your baby. Remember, when it comes to swaddling, safety first!

In general (outside of a swaddle), if he is rolling to his side on his own (or even onto his stomach), side sleeping is fine - provided you are not putting him in that position yourself.

No. Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby's growth. Most babies start rolling over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age. If your baby rolls over on his or her own during sleep, you do not need to turn the baby back over onto his or her back. The important thing is that your baby start every sleep time on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS, and that there is no soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under baby, over baby, or anywhere in baby's sleep area.

My son preferred side sleeping (though he couldn't roll over to that position in a swaddle), and our pediatrician said that it was fine as long as he was putting himself in that position.

  • Awesome answer. My baby's less than a week old so I don't think he is able to roll to his tummy but he definitely goes onto his side when swaddled. I think I'm going to just pay very close attention to when he is able to roll onto his tummy and then cease swaddling st that point.
    – Brian
    Mar 6, 2017 at 20:58
  • 1
    It's possible that when he's a bit older he'll stop getting on his side. That's what happened with mine. He started being happy on his back at night, though when he went to daycare at 3 months, they let him nap on his side. Then when he started getting to big for the swaddle, we left him out of it at night and he started rolling to his side again.
    – Catija
    Mar 6, 2017 at 21:00


It looks like if your baby is 2 months old, swaddling can be eased out. The concern seems to be rolling over while swaddled.

There are so many opinions, and I never did this with my daughter as I adopted her at 4 years.

I hope there will be many experienced parents who will weigh in.


We are quite lucky with our newborn. Put him on his back and he stays there...for now.

We did originally swaddle but found that he actually didn't like it so what we found were sleeping bags. Here is a picture of ours:

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The brilliant thing about these is their arms are out and they have a little freedom but not too much and are kept warm. It also creates a bit of buffer so they don't quite have as much freedom to roll or flip completely.

We were told to place them on their back and should they flip onto their front, that this is OK however we just didn't like that thought ourselves and so these sleeping bags seem to help reduce that.


No, it is not recommended for a newborn to sleep on their side. The safest sleep position for a newborn is on their back. This sleep position is recommended by pediatricians and healthcare professionals to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Sleeping on the back helps keep the airways clear and reduces the chances of suffocation or breathing difficulties. It is the position that has been extensively studied and proven to be the safest for infants during sleep.

It's important to note that once a baby can roll over independently, they may naturally assume different sleep positions, including sleeping on their side or stomach. However, it is still recommended to initially place them on their back for sleep and let them find their own comfortable position.

If your newborn consistently rolls onto their side during sleep, it's important to gently and safely guide them back onto their back. You can use rolled-up blankets or sleep positioners specifically designed for this purpose. However, it's crucial to follow safe sleep guidelines and consult with your pediatrician or healthcare provider for guidance specific to your baby's needs.

Always prioritize your baby's safety during sleep by following safe sleep practices, such as placing them on their back, using a firm and flat sleep surface, and keeping the sleep environment free of loose bedding or soft objects that could pose suffocation hazards.

  • 1
    Do you have sources for claims about re-positioning and/or using sleep positioners? The NHS guidelines advise that once a child can get themselves onto their front or side, its ok to leave them, and that you should not use things like rolled up blankets unless recommended to by medical professionals.
    – R Davies
    Jun 27, 2023 at 14:26

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