After months of ensuring that your baby is put to sleep lying on their back, it can seem strange or even concerning that your baby starts wanting to sleep on their knees with their butts in the air. Once your baby can sit up and crawl, you might notice that they will fall asleep on their knees more often. You may even find them that way when you wake them up in the morning, even if you put them to bed on their backs. This position, called the frog position by some, is very common for a baby between the ages of six to twelve months, and your baby will probably stop sleeping this way when they learn to walk. But until then, you are probably wondering why do babies do this, and should you be concerned?
1. Your baby sleeps this way because it’s comfortable.
Sleeping curled up on their knees with their butts in the air is comfortable and convenient for your baby. Just like some adults like to sleep curled up in a ball, so does your baby. This position might not look comfortable to you, but your baby disagrees. Once your baby starts sitting by themselves, they tend to fall asleep where they are. This means they might just let themselves tumble forward, curl up where they land, and take a nap. This napping position is also low effort, and when your baby finds themselves suddenly ready for a nap they don’t have to move much to fall asleep comfortably.
2. This position reminds them of the womb.
Your baby was positioned in the same way when they were in the womb. The womb was the most comfortable place that your baby has ever known. By sleeping in a frog position, they can replicate some of that comfort. Research suggests that this may be a contributing factor as to why some babies seem to rest more peacefully when they sleep in this position. However, some parents also report that their babies do not rest as well in this position. As in most things, your baby is unique, and what makes them most comfortable will vary.
3. Babies that love to be cuddled might favor this position.
If your baby is a cuddle, they might prefer this position over others. A baby that loves to be cuddled up to their parent might find this position more comfortable than a baby that does not. If your baby prefers to be held or rocked by you rather than sitting by themselves, they might seek this position out themselves. This might have something to do with the feeling of having something pressed up against their stomach and legs that mimics the feeling of being pressed against their parent’s chest.
4. This position allows your baby the most freedom of movement.
Your baby likes the feeling of being able to move. Once your baby starts moving around on their own, they will like to have the freedom to move at a moment’s notice. When a baby is laid on their back, it takes them more effort to roll over so that they can sit up or crawl. If they are already in position on their knees, then they can get straight back to moving around when their nap is over!
5. Sleeping in frog position is very common.
Most babies go through a period when they prefer to sleep in a frog position. While not every child will choose to sleep in this position, it is not uncommon among babies between the age of six and twelve months or even older. While some parents might worry that this behavior is strange or might be a symptom of something wrong, your child is not strange for choosing to sleep in this position. This is a perfectly normal stage in their development that they will probably grow out of when they start walking.
6. You shouldn’t worry too much.
Babies sleeping in the frog position is relatively safe. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be put to sleep on their backs to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by the time your baby can roll over and crawl, they are fine to sleep in this position. Having the strength and motor skills to roll over and get their legs underneath them well enough to curl into this position indicates they also have the motor skills to roll back over if they need to.
7. Don’t fight a losing battle.
Your baby will put themselves into this position to sleep no matter what you do. For a baby that finds this position comfortable, no amount of you rolling them onto their back to sleep will stop them. Some parents have reported waking up multiple times a night to turn their baby onto their backs, but their baby always rolls back over. Suppose this is the position that your baby wants to sleep in, its best not to fight it. You might even be making their sleep worse by disturbing them so often to turn them over. As a parent, you know that you have to choose your battles, and this is one that you probably won’t win.
All sleeping babies are precious, but a baby curled up to sleep on their knees with their little butt in the air is adorable. Rest assured that this position is both normal and safe and just enjoy this time admiring how cute they are when they just tumble over and curl up for a nap wherever they happen to be. After all, they’re going to wake up soon enough and be ready to get back to sitting up or crawling, and your moment of peace will be over.