One night, you place your infant to sleep on his or her back, and then you go in to do a routine check and find that your little youngster is now asleep on their stomach!
The first instinct is to usually turn the baby back over to their back very carefully without waking him or her.
However, depending on your child’s age and development, it may or may not be necessary to return the child to sleep on their back. If you find that your baby sleeps on their stomach, follow these 5 tips:
Swaddle your baby
A baby that sleeps on their stomach can benefit from being swaddled to help him, or her get used to sleeping on their back. Follow these guidelines and tips for safe swaddling.
- Always place your baby to sleep on their back when swaddled.
- Never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their stomach because that increases the likelihood of suffocation and SIDS.
- To prevent lose blankets as a result of the infant possibly breaking free from the swaddle in the middle of the night, remember to snugly swaddle your baby.
- Do not swaddle your baby too tight, but do not swaddle too lovely either.
- Invest in the help of experienced parents and caregivers in your family to help you achieve the perfect swaddle for your baby.
- Consider room sharing while your baby is still a very young infant so that you can immediately fix any out of the ordinary situation as it happens.
Once a baby learns how to roll over independently, discontinue swaddling him or her so less chance of suffocation by loose blankets.
Place your baby down to sleep on their back
As mentioned earlier, a baby that sleeps their on the stomach must be consistently placed on their back to sleep for him or her to get used to it. Whether you can swaddle your baby or not based on their developmental stage, follow these tips for when placing your baby on their back to sleep.
- Place the baby on their back in the crib while drowsy.
- Lightly brush where your baby’s nose connects to their face to help soothe him or her to sleep faster.
- Sing lullabies or softly whisper to your baby to calm him or her more to lessen their desire to roll over and fight sleep.
- Have some light white noise in the background to calm the baby’s body and senses.
A baby that sleeps on their stomach just needs consistency when taught how to sleep on his or her back.
Talk to your pediatrician
To come up with a solution for a baby that sleeps on their stomach, the best thing to do is talk to your pediatrician.
He or she will do the following when recommending to you to let your baby that sleeps on their stomach continue to do so or not.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing a baby on their back to sleep for the first full year of life to reduce SIDS risk. Pediatricians will take this into account, but there may be exceptions. Read on!
- The pediatrician will take into account the baby’s age. For example, a 1-month-old barely out of the womb should definitely not be sleeping on their stomach, but a full-term, healthy 8 months old may be able to sleep on their stomach before their first birthday.
- The child’s development will also be considered. As stated in the example earlier, if a full-term, healthy 8 months old is rolling over from front to back and back to front, he or she may be ready for sleeping on their stomach if that is their preference.
- Overall, the rule of thumb is that if a baby can usually roll over without any issues, he or she can sleep on their back or stomach. This means the baby is fully capable of receiving the proper airflow, no matter the desired sleep position. This is great for a baby that sleeps on their stomach already!
While the American Academy of Pediatrics May has its recommendations related to a baby that sleeps on their stomach, not every baby will start sleeping on their stomach at age 1.
Make a safe sleep environment
No matter if you have a baby that sleeps on their stomach or someone miraculously stays sleeping on their back the whole night, remember to always make a safe sleep environment for your little one.
Follow these guidelines that will help you create a safe sleep environment for your baby.
- Put a fitted crib sheet on your baby’s crib mattress.
- Do not put extra blankets, toys, or stuffed animals in the crib. It’s tempting and cute to let junior sleep with his favorite teddy bear, but wait until he’s older before allowing that.
- Dress your baby lightly for bed and keep the room cool. Overheating is one of the major causes of SIDS.
- If bed-sharing, keep pillows and blankets away from your baby’s face and give ample room between you and your baby for both of you to comfortably sleep.
A baby who sleeps on their stomach should definitely not have loose blankets under him or her so they do not get mixed up during movement at night, causing possible suffocation.
Use your best judgment as a parent
Ultimately, if you have a baby that sleeps on their stomach, just use your best judgment as a parent.
Ask yourself these questions when determining whether your baby who sleeps on their stomach is developmentally able to do so.
- Can my baby roll over front to back and back to front?
- Was my baby born full-term and healthy? If not, when can I schedule a consultation with my pediatrician about my baby that sleeps on their stomach?
- Is the sleep environment safe for my baby?
- What are the testimonials of other parents related to this subject?
- Can you learn from these testimonials to apply to your parenting experience?
- What is ultimately best for my baby right now?
Don’t be scared of the outcome related to your baby that sleeps on their stomach. If this is happening already, the chances are that he or she is just hitting another monumental milestone in their development.
Never be afraid to ask questions to other parents and especially your child’s pediatrician. Your support system is your best asset during your parenting journey, especially when it comes to complicated infant sleep safety standards.
Stay confident and positive in your role as a parent, and you’ll eventually become one of those parents counseling newbie parents one day.