Skip to content

Understanding Strange Baby Sleeping Positions and Habits

Introduction to Unusual Baby Sleep Habits

Observing your baby sleeping is one of the tranquil moments of parenting. However, some children may develop unique, often strange, sleeping positions or habits. While these habits can sometimes signal more serious issues, they are typically part of a phase. This post will explore several strange baby sleeping positions and habits.

Baby Sleeps with Lights On

Understanding Light Dependence in Babies

It can be concerning for parents when their baby only sleeps with an overhead light on, disrupting normal sleep patterns and hindering the transition from daytime to sleep time. This behavior might be related to the fear of darkness, a common phase in many children. Gradually reducing the light source can often help ease this phase.

Baby Sleeps with Head Under a Pillow

Unraveling the Pillow Habit

If you’ve discovered your baby sleeping with their head under a pillow, they may be seeking security or attempting to block out noise. Using pillows and blankets as a form of cocoon is a comforting method for some children who fear the dark. This behavior usually passes as the child grows older and becomes less reliant on external comfort sources.

Baby Sleeps with Mouth Open

Mouth Breathing in Sleeping Babies

Mouth-breathing is another strange sleeping position observed in babies, leading to snoring, drooling, and potentially, in the long run, teeth grinding and sleep deprivation. This habit might indicate a medical condition making nasal breathing difficult or simply be a phase your baby is going through.

Baby Sticks Tongue Out at Night

Decoding the Tongue-Thrust Reflex

Seeing your baby sleep with their tongue sticking out might be amusing but can also spark concerns. Often, this strange sleeping position is part of the tongue-thrust reflex associated with breastfeeding. However, in some cases, it could hint at physical or genetic issues and should be examined during a routine wellness visit.

Familiar Baby Sleeping Positions and Their Meanings

Frog Position

Many parents wonder about the ‘frog’ position in which their baby sleeps. This is when the baby sleeps on their belly, with their hands and legs tucked under them, similar to a frog. This position is quite common in newborns, but if it persists, it may be worth discussing with your pediatrician.

Starfish Position

The ‘starfish’ sleeping position is when the baby sleeps on their back with arms and legs spread out. This is a common position and generally considered safe, especially in reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Sleeping with Arms Overhead

If your baby sleeps with their arms over their head, it’s usually a sign that they’re comfortable and in deep sleep. This position is quite normal and nothing to worry about.

Sleeping Sideways in the Bassinet

Some babies prefer to sleep sideways in the bassinet. This position may be comfortable for the baby, but parents should ensure that the baby’s face is not obstructed to maintain safe sleep.

Elevated Position

An elevated sleeping position, with the head slightly higher than the rest of the body, can be beneficial for babies who experience reflux or cold symptoms, as it helps keep their airways clear.

Common Movements in Sleep

Thrashing and Flailing

Some babies move quite a bit in their sleep, flailing their arms or thrashing around. This can be a part of their normal sleep cycle, especially during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep when most dreaming occurs. However, if these movements appear distressed or disruptive to their sleep, it might be wise to consult a healthcare provider.

Leg Slamming and Grunting

Many parents notice their babies slamming their legs down or grunting and lifting their legs in sleep. This might just be a way for them to soothe themselves back to sleep or to release gas. However, persistent grunting could indicate a condition known as Grunting Baby Syndrome, associated with difficulty in bowel movement.

Interpreting Rare and Unusual Sleeping Positions

Freefaller Sleeping Position

The freefaller sleeping position, where the baby sleeps on their stomach with arms around the pillow and head turned to one side, is often associated with a fun-loving, sociable personality. However, it’s crucial to remember that babies should always be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Sphinx and Ball Positions

In the Sphinx position, babies sleep on their stomach, propped up on their forearms. The ball position involves the baby curling up on their side or stomach. These positions might be comfortable for the baby, but it’s essential to ensure safe sleeping practices.

Dinosaur Hands

Dinosaur hands sleeping involves the baby resting their head on their hands while sleeping. This can be a sign of self-soothing and is generally harmless.

Sleep Disorders and Autism Signs in Relation to Sleep

Parasomnia and Rhythmic Movement Disorder

Parasomnia refers to disruptive sleep disorders that can occur during arousals from REM sleep or partial arousals from non-REM sleep. Rhythmic movement disorder involves repetitive movements, such as head banging or body rocking, during sleep and is typically seen in babies and toddlers. If you notice any unusual movements or behaviors related to your baby’s sleep, it’s crucial to consult a pediatrician.

Sleep Signs of Autism

Autistic children may show various signs related to sleep, such as unusual sleeping positions or patterns, difficulty falling asleep, or sleeping for unusually short or long periods. If you observe any consistent changes in your child’s sleep habits or patterns, it’s important to discuss them with a healthcare professional.

How Can Help

Understanding strange baby sleeping positions and habits can be challenging. is a valuable resource that can guide you through your child’s sleeping patterns and habits. offers comprehensive information, advice, and solutions for a wide range of sleep-related topics, including strange sleeping positions. By leveraging the insights provided on, you can ensure a more restful and peaceful sleep for your little one.


While strange baby sleeping positions and habits can be puzzling for parents, they are often just part of a phase and nothing to worry about. However, persistent or unusual sleep habits could sometimes indicate underlying issues and may require professional consultation. With the help of resources like, navigating these quirks can be less daunting, allowing you to better understand and manage your baby’s sleep habits.