Baby Sleeping on Stomach: When Is It Safe?

Watching your precious little one dwell into a goodnight sleep is so heartwarming, right? But did you know that there’s actually a safe sleeping position for newborns? As per experts, in the first year of her life, your baby should always sleep on her back. On the other hand, sleeping on the stomach is considered an unsafe sleeping position. It’s because an infant sleeping on the stomach can run the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Read on to know more about sleeping positions for your infant, when babies can sleep safely on their stomachs, and how you can ensure a safe sleep environment for your baby.

When Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomachs?

Initially, in the first year of your baby’s life, you should always put her to sleep on her back. Once your baby turns one year old, you can let her sleep in any position of her choice, even sleeping on the stomach is allowed. But it’s still best to lay her in the crib on her back. This is important because the back-sleeping position can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Is It Safe for Your Baby to Sleep On Her Stomach?

It isn’t safe to put babies to sleep on their stomachs. That’s because this position increases the risk of SIDS. The same goes for placing your baby to sleep on her side. From the side-sleeping position, your little one can easily roll onto her stomach and end up in this unsafe sleeping position. It’s important to reposition your baby onto her back if you see her change to a side or stomach position. However, some older babies are able to roll themselves back onto their backs after rolling onto their sides or stomachs. If your older baby is comfortable rolling in both directions (back to stomach and stomach to back), then you do not have to reposition her. Always make sure that there is nothing in the crib beside your baby. Some researchers believe that sleeping on the stomach face down can block airways and impair a baby’s breathing. Stomach sleeping may also increase the chance of your baby “rebreathing” the air she already expelled. Rebreathing expelled air causes a decline in oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide. The chance of this increases if your baby’s crib contains a soft mattress, bedding, stuffed animals, or a pillow near her face. Until your baby reaches her first birthday, always place your baby in her crib on her back. Make sure the crib has a firm crib mattress that’s covered with a tight-fitting sheet. The crib shouldn’t contain any loose bedding, bumper pads, blankets, quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals. It should be completely empty.

What If Your Baby Rolls onto Her Stomach During Sleep?

Babies tend to roll over in their sleep as they grow older. In case you notice your baby has rolled onto her stomach or side during sleep, you should gently return her to the original position On the other hand, if your baby is older and can roll over on both sides by herself, then you can let her sleep as she is. However, when you put her down for nighttime sleep or a nap, always lay your baby on her back.

At What Age Can Your Baby Sleep on Her Stomach?

After your baby turns one, you should still place your baby in her crib on her back. During sleep, she can roll over into any sleeping position she prefers, including sleeping on her stomach. It’s OK for your baby to be on her stomach when she’s awake in the daytime during a head-and-neck-strengthening practice called tummy time. Be sure tummy time sessions are supervised at all times by you or another adult.

What Should You Do if Your Baby Prefers Sleeping on Her Stomach?

Some babies may prefer to sleep on their stomachs. Even so, you should always place your baby in her crib on her back. If during sleep your baby ends up rolling onto her stomach or side, return her to her back. Continue to do this until your baby is older and can confidently roll both ways (back to side or stomach, side or stomach to back).

The Bottom Line

By now, you would have understood that putting your baby to sleep on her back is the best and the safest sleeping position for a newborn. It reduces the risk of SIDS, which otherwise would increase if your newborn were to sleep on her stomach. If your baby under the age of one rolls onto her stomach or side, you must return her to the back position. Keep in mind that once your baby is able to roll around all by herself, you can let her sleep in any sleeping position which comforts her. And for you - you can watch your baby take a goodnight sleep till the time she wakes up again to brighten your day!

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