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A Guide to the New Rules of Parenting: Why Babies Can't Sleep on Their Stomach and More

by Erin Dower

Parenting practices, trends, and tools are always evolving. If you're an expectant mom or grandparent who's more familiar with parenting trends from the disco era, use this list to catch up on today's written and unwritten rules of raising a baby. From the latest equipment safety guidelines to new feeding and sleep recommendations, quite a few things have changed in the past few decades!

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baby sleeping on back

Sleep Position for Baby


What's Out: Placing a baby facing down on her belly to sleep

What's In: Always placing a baby on her back to sleep, until he is strong enough to roll over from his back to his tummy on his own (usually around age 6 months)

Why? In previous decades, parents would sometimes place their infant on their tummy to sleep to help ward off a flat head and also in hopes of preventing their baby from choking on spit-up, but pediatricians now recommend that infants always be placed on their back for sleep in order to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). These days, babies only do "tummy time" when they're awake and alert.

Next: Cribs and Crib Accessories

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