When Can Babies Sleep On Their Stomach? Right Time Unveiled Leave a comment

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For the growing babies, the first year of their life is all about new learning and development. It varies from adjustment to the sleep cycle to standing, sitting, sleeping, and cradling in the crib. According to experts, the safest position to sleep is back as it prevents sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) risks. But as little ones grow, they start rolling sideways or on their tummy. Is this position safe, or if not, when can babies sleep on their stomach? Well, experts suggest sleeping on the stomach is safe till babies don’t reach the age of 1 year. Parents must understand that sleep position impacts the safety and health of the little ones. Therefore, they need to be aware of the sleeping position of their kids. This article will help with the comprehensive guide on the concern related to sleep position! Keep reading below.

What happens when a baby sleeps on its stomach?

If babies sleep on their stomachs, the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increase. So, whenever you see your little one in this unsafe sleeping position, move them on their back. Some experts also believe that sleeping on the tummy raises the chances of air rebreathing. The expelled air from rebreathing causes a build-up of more carbon dioxide levels and a drop in oxygen levels which can be harmful for the health of the baby. The chances of such breathing issues are due to the wrong bedding, toys, and pillow near the face of the sleeping kids. Hence, always make sure the room environment is well-maintained at night with no soft toys and pillows in the crib.

Also Read: How To Get a Newborn to Sleep?

Why Can’t Babies Sleep On Their Stomach?

Putting your growing infants on their stomachs during their sleep time before the age of 1 year is not recommended as it carries alarming consequences, which include:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Making your little ones sleep on their stomach can significantly increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Well, SIDS is a health risk factor for growing babies during the first 6 months when they are highly vulnerable. Though, nowadays, infant death syndrome is rare, parents should not take it lightly. The best practice to avoid such health complications is back sleeping. It can be challenging to ensure they are on their back as most babies prefer to lay on their tummy but it’s not worth the trouble. A study shows a surprising 30% to 83% decline in the occurrence of SIDS since the safe sleep campaigns have been launched. These campaigns encourage parents to put the infants on the back instead of the tummy.

Suffocation

When babies are on their tummy, the risk of suffocation is likely higher. Rolling on the stomach without enough head control can block the airways of the babies, which can suffocate them. Therefore, child experts do not support stomach sleeping and side sleeping as it leads to accidental rolling. If your little ones show some rolling signs after 12 weeks of age or before this, it is recommended to remove the arms of the little arms from their swaddle, which does not stop their upper body from moving. If parents swaddle their growing babies beyond the point of rolling, they can turn out to face the side of the bedding which can cause problems in breathing properly. The same risks go with the weighted sleepsuits, so parents need to be cautious.

Also Read: When Should I Stop Swaddling?

Overheating

Babies sleeping on their bellies may be unable to release heat properly and maintain the correct body temperature. This situation can be severe if an infant has a low birth weight. While breathing, the warm breath can collect around the baby’s head and face. As the infants can’t move themselves to get relaxed, too much heat accumulation can lead to overheating. It can develop hyperthermia, also called high body temperature. So, better to avoid stomach sleeping and put the babies in a lightweight swaddle. Always uncover the face and head of the babies while making them sleep in a swaddle and closely look for signs of overheating. If the little ones are feeling too hot or sweating on their chest, adjust the blanket layer. As per the research, hyperthermia(high body temperature raises the SIDS risks.

Rebreathing

If parents put their babies to sleep on their stomachs, they may try to rebreathe the air trapped in the crib or bed. It can cause carbon dioxide levels to build up and oxygen levels to decrease. It may wake the babies regularly to breathe fresh air and feel fine. But all the little ones are different and are born with different strengths and energy. Some of the growing babies can slowly respond to such changes in breathing or may be unable to roll over quickly; this, in turn, can make them lose consciousness. This process of rebreathing can trigger the risk of SIDS.

When Can Babies Sleep On Their Stomach?

When can a baby sleep on its stomach? Parents can put babies on their stomachs for comfortable sleep until they are 1 year old. Before this age, they prefer a back sleeping position for their kids during the day and at night. Some growing infants, before they reach 1 year of age, can roll over from their back to stomach and then bounce back again. Most can roll in both manners by the age of 6 months only. So if babies have mastered and know how to firmly roll over(back to tummy and then again tummy to back), stomach sleeping is safe. There is no risk of SIDS at this point. This means there is no particular age when the babies are considered ready for stomach sleeping. It is just a matter of achieving a substantial developmental milestone in their life. But parents still have to keep the little ones on their backs till they turn 1 year old as prevention is better, which will significantly reduce the SIDS possibilities. Regarding stomach sleeping, it benefits by facilitating the comforts of taking a snap and making the life cycle longer.

As we have got the answer of when can babies sleep on their stomach, we will now look for the answer to the concerning question of what parents should do in case their babies feel most comfortable when sleeping on their stomach.

Also Read: The Science Behind Healthy Baby Sleep: Understanding Sleep Cycles and Patterns

What To Do If Babies Are Most Comfortable Sleeping On Their Stomach?

Some babies have a Moro reflex that can easily make them wake up when sleeping on their back. This may force the little ones to prefer sleeping on their stomach as it is much more comfortable. However, sleeping in this position is not safe. It is believed that some babies sleep so peacefully on their tummy that it becomes challenging to get awake when their breathing quickly hits a dangerous spot. It can be risky for health. So, if your little ones aren’t ready to sleep on their back, use effective tricks for better safety. The best way to make them feel comfortable is by tapping their calming reflex, a switch-off button for fussiness. You can do this using swaddle. Thin swaddles make the babies happier as they feel like they are in the womb. Turn on white noise, it blocks external disturbances such as the sound of a moving fan or TV and makes it easy for the babies to fall and stay asleep on their back. Research says pacifiers can prevent SIDS risks.

Also Read:The 10 Best White Noise Machines of 2024

What If Your Baby Rolls Onto Their Stomach During Sleep?

When babies reach the age of 6 months, they can effortlessly and independently roll into their stomachs. When this occurs, you can change the position. Also, before bedtime, ensure your little ones are on their back sleeping position in a safe environment that is clear of soft objects and overly loose blankets. For parents to see their baby sleep on their stomach during the night can be a panic moment, but the good news is that they can be stress-free as SIDS is dramatically low in infants who manage to flip themselves from back to belly. When your growing kid is strong enough to switch the position, they have the power to sense trouble and protect themselves by moving to a safe position. It is important to remember that when babies start showing much movement, it’s time to avoid putting them in a swaddle.

Also Read: Sleep Schedule for Your Newborn: Tips for Restful Nights

Is It OK For Baby To Sleep On Tummy?

Looking for the answer to your question, “Can newborns sleep on their tummy”? Well, for a baby sleeping on the stomach, the chances of SIDS are more. The same goes for the sleeping side as from this sleep position, infants can easily roll into the belly and end up dozing off in this position the entire night. So, if parents ever see their infant sleeping on their belly or side sleep position, moving them onto their back is crucial. However, when it comes to older babies, after turning to the side or stomach, they can push themselves onto their backs. If they are comfortable doing so, parents do not have to make them face up. Just make sure no other objects are present besides your little ones in the crib.

Also Read: The 3-Month Sleep Regression Explained- Symptoms, Duration, and Relief Strategies

Summing Up

This article answered the question of when can babies sleep on their stomach. We learn that taking care of babies involves a lot of work. The safest way to put the little ones to sleep is back sleeping when they reach the age of 1 year. While there is no solid binding age for the safety of stomach sleeping, infants who can roll from their back to their belly during the night can stay in that position. Parents do not have to turn them back. But, to prevent the risk of SIDS, it will be better to prefer back sleeping until a child is 1 year old. Remember that if your growing baby is facing problems while sleeping or you are exhausted from making them sleep comfortably, it is time to consult a licensed pediatrician. They can provide you with guidance and resources to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can infants sleep on their bellies?

Infants can sleep on their bellies once they roll over on different sides. Some babies master it before turning to the age of 1 year, while most can do it by 6 months.

Can babies sleep on their stomachs at 6 months?

Putting the little ones on their stomach at 6 months can raise the chances of SIDS. So, it will be better to wait until they turn 1 year.

Is a 4-month-old sleeping on stomach fine?

No, babies can’t sleep on their stomachs. If they do, there will be fewer chances of breathing in air, which can lead to SIDS.

Can babies sleep on their stomach?

No, babies can’t sleep on their stomachs. If they do, there will be fewer chances of breathing in air, which can lead to SIDS.

At what age can babies sleep on their stomachs?

Experts recommend the age of 1 year is best when babies are ready to sleep on their stomachs.

Should infants sleep on their backs or stomachs?

Putting the infants on their backs for night sleep and day naps is always recommended. This reduces the risks of SIDS and other issues related to sleep.

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