What If Your Baby Rolls Onto Her Stomach During Sleep
If you notice your baby has rolled onto her stomach or side during sleep, gently return her to her back. If your baby is older and he is able to roll over both ways by himself, you don’t have to return him to his back. However, when you put your baby down for nighttime sleep or a nap, always place your baby on his back.
When Is It Safe For My Baby To Sleep On Their Stomach
Experts agree that its safe for a baby to sleep on their stomach as long as they can get there themself. When they are old enough to freely roll forward and back, they may choose to sleep on their stomach and that is OK, says Dr. Elizabeth Murray, DO, a pediatrician at Golisano Childrens Hospital in Rochester, NY, and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Its why theres no specific age or month when an infant is deemed ready to sleep on their stomach, says Joan Becker Friedman, RN, certified child sleep consultant at Milwaukee, Wisconsins Pea Pod Sleep Consultants. Its a matter of reaching developmental milestones.
When your baby can roll from back to front and front to back independently, its fine for them to sleep face down. But you should still put them down on their backs until they are 12-months-old, as per AAP recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS. If your baby was born prematurely, adjust their age based on their due date before placing them in the crib on their stomach.
And once your baby establishes a preference for stomach sleeping, dont worry about rolling them to their back. The key here is the baby has to be able to easily move themself into and out of that position, Dr. Murray says.
Every baby is different. Be sure to consult with a pediatrician if you have any questions about your infant sleeping on their stomach.
Baby Sleeping On Stomach: Your Questions Answered
The single most effective thing you can do to lower your babys risk of sudden unexpected infant death is to place your sweet nugget on their back for all naps and nights, according to the National Institutes of Health. Despite sleep experts and pediatricians shouting this from the rooftops for more than 20 years, research shows that only about 44% of moms surveyed always follow this gold-standard sleep advice. Part of the reason for eschewing this recommendation:
Some parents think sleeping on your tummy is simply more comfortable for Baby. They believe that their baby prefers sleeping in their stomach. The thing is, when it comes to sleep safety, theres way more to consider than your babys perceived coziness. To help parents understand why back-sleeping is always preferred to sleeping on your tummy, we answer your most-asked questions on babies and belly snoozing.
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Why Do Babies Like Sleeping On Their Tummy
It is a fact that some if not most babies really like sleeping on their tummy. This becomes a problem especially when mothers who try to follow the AAP guidelines encounter a baby who cant seem to settle on their back and insist on sleeping on their tummy. And even some pediatricians have confessed that they do have cases wherein the baby settles almost immediately when lain on their tummy.
Although there is no definite study on this, doctors presume that babies startle less often when on their tummy. When not startled often, babies tend to sleep longer and quicker.
When To Call The Doctor
Theres no reason to be concerned if your baby decides for herself that she prefers to roll over and sleep on her stomach, as long as you’ve followed safe sleep practices at bedtime.
But if you have any concerns about your babys sleeping patterns , dont hesitate to check in with your doctor.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
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Baby Sleeping On Stomach
As many SIDS researchers point out, most babies will naturally assume the sleeping position that will allow them to breathe freely and comfortably, so provided your baby is healthy and full-term, and that your healthcare provider is on board, it is probably okay to allow your baby to sleep on his stomach, if he just wont sleep on his back.
Should My 7 Week Old Be Rolling Over
Babies can start rolling over as young as 3 to 4 months old, says Deena Blanchard, MD, a pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics in New York City. It takes them a few months after birth to build up the necessary strengthincluding neck and arm muscles and good head controlto pull off this physical feat.
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Always Put Your Baby Down To Sleep On Her Back
Twenty-eight percent of moms say they have put their baby to sleep on his stomach, a practice that leaves babies at increased risk for SIDS. And of those who take this risk, 47 percent do it before their baby turns 3 months old. “That’s when the risk of SIDS is highest, in the first four months,” says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night.
Many of these parents are what we’d call “conscientious objectors,” Carr says. “They think that what they’re doing is somehow better or safer than what their pediatrician is telling them.” Parents who are desperate not to hear their baby cry, for example, may find ways to rationalize stomach-sleeping. Dr. Moon notes: “It’s true, babies do wake up more easily when they’re on their back. But that may actually protect them from SIDS. Infants who sleep on their stomach don’t arouse as well, which means they can get in trouble with their oxygen levels and never wake up.”
Another common justification for stomach-sleeping was worry that Baby would choke from reflux. No evidence supports this. In fact, stomach-sleeping is riskier than back-sleeping when it comes to choking concerns, Dr. Moon says.
Promote Safe Sound And Stress
Proper sleep recommendations can help ensure your little one is cozy, safe, and ready to snuggle up to those dreamy Zs, regardless of his preferred sleep position. That means your baby will get the rest he needs for his developing body and brain while youll get the rest, you need to keep up with your growing child, day after day.
Want to learn more ways to promote safe and restful slumbers?
With the SneakPeek At-Home Early DNA Traits Test, you can discover your babys unique sleep preferences as predicted by his own DNA. Find out his:
- Sleep latency The amount of time it takes for him to fall asleep
- Sleep efficiency The amount of time spent actually sleeping
- Sleep duration The ideal length of time he needs to sleep to feel rested
- Chronotype His natural predisposition to be an early rise or a late snoozer
With this personalized sleep insight, you can kiss sleep troubles goodnight. Choose SneakPeek Traits.
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A Parent’s Guide To Safe Sleep For Babies
Back in 2014, we worked with American Baby to poll 4,547 moms in partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization devoted to preventing childhood injuries. These moms, all of whom had babies age 1 and younger, recognized the rules96 percent know a baby should sleep alone, on his back, in a crib. But yet they still veered off course when caring for their own infant.
This is a risky move, since about 3,500 infants die each year from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome . Even if parents follow all the rules for safety, some incidences of SUID, including cases of sudden infant death syndrome , would still occur. Not all cases can be explained, says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “But the number would be much lower” if parents followed proper safety protocols.
We’re not interested in finger-wagging: “Moms who ignore sleep rules aren’t bad parents!” Carr says. “Their baby is crying and they make a decision that seems okay at 3 a.m.”
Find out if you’re making any of the missteps our survey uncovered, and learn the best ways to ensure safe sleep for babies.
What To Do If Baby Sleeps Face Down
You can try to turn her face if you see her with face down, but often, like rolling to tummy, babies will just go back to the position of comfort. Always place baby on back to sleep. Increasing tummy time when awake is also helpful. If you are still wrapping her, this need to be ceased she needs her arms free.
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Baby Sleeping On The Belly: Safe Sleeping Guidelines
There are multiple ways to ensure your baby is safe and well-rested, and that your babys sleeping position on the stomach doesnt cause any harm.
- Use a firm mattress: Using a firm mattress will ensure that your little one gets all the support he needs. Do not put him down on a pillow, waterbed, couch, or any other soft surface as it may encumber the quality of the air he breathes in. Experts also recommend that you do not place anything inside the crib while your baby sleeps.
- Remove bumper pads: These accessories are quite common, and almost every crib will come with the option of having the pads fitted. However, it is recommended that you avoid installing these in your babys crib as they can be a suffocation hazard.
- Dont let your baby become too warm: Knowing the right temperature for your baby to sleep in can be daunting. However, if you feel comfortable in the room in short-sleeved clothing, then the temperature is ideal. It is generally recommended to keep the room temperature between 23 and 25-degree celsius.
- Avoid covering the babys head: The light blankets you use for your baby should only cover him up to his chest with his arms outside the blanket. This ensures that the blanket doesnt shift towards the babys head.
- Use a pacifier: These devices can be a great tool to calm your baby enough to let him get good quality sleep. However, if he is uncomfortable with it, or if it falls out while he sleeps, do not force it.
Is It Safe For A Baby To Sleep On The Stomach
It is theorised that a baby in the first twelve months of his life should not sleep on his stomach because he will re-breathe his own air. This makes him breathe recycled air, which contains less oxygen and reduces the functionality of the lungs. This can also lead to SIDS. Thus, one risk of the baby sleeping on the stomach is fatality due to a lack of oxygen. It is recommended by doctors that parents be cautious not to let a baby sleeping on his belly stay in this position for more than a few minutes.
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Should I Call My Doctor If Repositioning Isnt Helping
Flat head syndrome can be corrected or minimized with infant repositioning techniques. Starting early and staying consistent helps. If repositioning isnt working, or if your babys neck muscles seem tense, call your healthcare provider. Physical therapy or a helmet may help.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Repositioning is a useful technique to help babies recover from plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. You should never put a baby to sleep on the stomach or side positions associated with SIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about keeping your baby healthy while sleeping.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/12/2020.
What If My Baby Can’t Get Used To Sleeping On His Or Her Back
The baby’s comfort is important, but safety is more important. Parents and caregivers should place babies on their backs to sleep even if they seem less comfortable or sleep more lightly than when on their stomachs.
A baby who wakes frequently during the night is actually normal and should not be viewed as a “poor sleeper.”
Some babies don’t like sleeping on their backs at first, but most get used to it quickly. The earlier you start placing your baby on his or her back to sleep, the more quickly your baby will adjust to the position.
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Is It Safer To Swaddle My Baby For Sleep
Many parents are told to swaddle their newborns for sleeping. Although swaddling is safer than using a blanket , if a baby is swaddled at an older age than what is recommended, there is still a danger the swaddled baby will roll onto their stomach and be trapped face-down. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies always sleep face-up. Swaddling can also lead to overheating if it is combined with dressing the baby in several layers.
If you do choose to swaddle your baby, always place them on their back and leave room in the swaddle for their hips and knees to move. You should stop swaddling your baby before they start trying to roll over, which happens around the 3-month mark at the earliest.
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Dont Assume The Mellow Sleepy Newborn Phase Will Last Forever
We hate to break it to you, but your dozy, peaceful infant who simply falls asleep, milk-drunk, after a feeding may not always be this way. The first few weeks are not always indicative of the kind of sleeper you happened to score in the newborn sleep lottery. Some babies randomly sleep through the night early on but it doesnt mean this will continue indefinitely. Have you weathered the four-month sleep regression yet? Yeah, you might want to read up on that. And even though nursing to sleep or rocking to sleep before naps and bedtime might be working for you now, know that sometimes IT JUST STOPS WORKING. If youre one of the lucky parents with a unicorn baby , try not to gloat. It doesnt necessarily mean that youre doing it right, while that other mom with the colicky, sleepless baby hasnt figured it out. Believe us, shes trying.
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