36 answers

Infant Likes to Sleep on Tummy

Hey moms,
I was wondering if I could get some feedback about letting a one month old sleep on his tummy. My first did well with being swaddled and sleeping on his back but this is my second and he really likes to sleep on his little tummy, he sleeps so much better! He typically breaks free of his swaddle and so I have been letting him sleep on his tummy some during the day when I am checking him constantly. Well, last night after a night of unrest, I finally let him go to the tummy at like 5am this morning, and he did do much better. I noticed of course that he would crash out on my shoulder and then as I go to lay him down, he would wake up. When I put him from my shoulder to his tummy he does great. What do you moms think? Anyone out there allow your little one to spend some time sleeping on the tummy or do most of you see this as a dangerous practice? Thanks for the feedback.

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Wow, I am so grateful for all these responses, really helpful. I still have not let him sleep on his tummy at night as I am just groggy and tired and don't want to risk not being able to be very vigilent. I am letting him sleep on his tummy some during the day. He is able to lift his head and turn it from one side to the other so I can't see a big risk there. I don't have anything near his little face, so I am going to just go with my gut. I am a careful mama but try not to be overly paranoid. He has a check-up on Monday so I am going to talk this out with the Pediatrician as well and will probably go with whatever he suggests. Thanks again, and to all the moms out there affected by sids, thanks for sharing you stories on here it is good for us all to stay aware of any risks to our kids. Thanks ladies!

Featured Answers

I raised all of my 5 children on their stomach and it was great. Now they came up with a theory, that it's not safe, I would do it again.

1 mom found this helpful

I waited for decent head control, and once we had that they slept on their backs. Severe sleep deprivation in mom and baby, in my book, is more dangerous. Good luck, you'll get through this!!

1 mom found this helpful

Both of my boys (the oldest is now 2 1/2 and the youngest is 7 months) will only sleep on their tummies. They slept on their backs for about a month and have been sleeping peacefully on their backs ever since!

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I think every baby has his own likes and dislikes. I would just make sure there is nothing soft around his face, especially if he is still not lifting his head well. They say some babies don't have the reflex to know they aren't getting oxygenated air and keep rebreathing their deoxygenated air and that can be one reason for SIDS. You know your baby....do what you think is right!

B.

3 moms found this helpful

I would recommend asking your pediatrician for one simple reason - there was a news story last week about breaking science in the understanding of SIDS. According to the research, there may be a reduced number of seratonin receptors in children who die of SIDS - perhaps making it easier to identify at risk babies.
http://dailynightly.msnbc.com/2006/10/better_understa.html

Our daughter, once she could roll over, preferred to be on her tummy. We asked the pediatrician, and he said as long as she could turn herself over and back, there was little we could do to prevent it.

I'd say gather as much information as you can, get informed and make your decision after that - none of us know for sure if it's safe or not. There are certainly stories in favor and against tummy sleeping.

2 moms found this helpful

I use to be a nurse in a pediatric ICU. I did see SIDS cases-very sad, I just can not imagine. All the cases I saw, the babies were sleeping on their tummy. I do think babies sleep better on their tummies (mine do), but that's the problem-they sleep too deeply. My son is 3 months. I do allow him to nap on his tummy when I can watch him. Hopefully some day soon they will have a test to see which babies are at risk of SIDS, but for now we have to assume all are at risk. Your baby might be fine sleeping on his tummy, as many are, but what if he is one of the ones that isn't. Just give him a few more months & he'll be able to roll over.

2 moms found this helpful

Most babies prefer to sleep on their tummies, but the fact remains that by putting a one-month old to sleep on his or her tummy increases the risk of SIDS death. Your child would likely be fine, but you would be knowingly subjecting them a more dangerous practice. My children wanted to sleep on their tummies too, but I always felt like if I knew the safer way, and didn't follow it, I would never be able to live with myself if anything happened. It is rare, but does happen. I too, know someone who lost their baby to SIDS. (I have also read that the Angelcare monitor has not been shown to reduce SIDS deaths at all. ) Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Both of mine were tummy sleepers, too. I practically stayed hovering over them the whole time they slept because I was so worried. But, my pediatrician told me that both kids were very strong. They could lift and turn their heads from day one, so there was no immediate danger of suffocation. He said that letting them get lots of good sleep was key and not to try to force them to sleep on their backs if that wasn't allowing them to get the hours of uninterrupted sleep they really need.

As always, listen to your mommy instincts. You're the best key witness right now as to how your child is sleeping and what seems to be safe for your baby at this stage.

Enjoy the ride with baby number two!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
My grand-daughter is 8wks old and we also found that she really likes to sleep on her tummy as well. We let her take her naps on her tummy and she will sleep what seems like forever. She does great, we also put her on her side swaddled up as well. She does good both ways. I know that they say don't let them sleep on their tummies but there was a tragedy in our town and I am not trying to scare you but a 3 mo was asleep on his back and during the night he had spit or and it went back down and he I asume choked but anyway it was not a good, he passed away, so I am leary about leaving them on their back as well. Another thing we do is we have a pillow in her bed so it will keep her propped up while she is sleeping on her side. Hope this helps some.

1 mom found this helpful

Most doctors will tell you no. You shouldn't at least until they are able to move and lift their heads. There was an article recently that was published about SIDS. It was also on the news. You should probably find the article online and read it before you make any decisions. I do know a lot of people who let their babies sleep on their tummies, but that doesn't mean it will work for your child. If anything, try letting him sleep on his side. This may help.

1 mom found this helpful

I raised all of my 5 children on their stomach and it was great. Now they came up with a theory, that it's not safe, I would do it again.

1 mom found this helpful

With my first baby, he liked to be swaddled and was a side sleeper. With my newest baby girl, she has always been a tummy sleeper. When she was about a month old, I let her sleep on her tummy because she was able to turn her head from side to side while on her tummy. She began holding her head up at 2 days old, so her neck strength is pretty impressive. I do understand that the APA says it is safer for babies on their backs. However, I was sleeping within arms reach of my baby on her tummy and am a very light sleeper. I felt safe with my decision to let her sleep on her tummy. She started rolling over right when she turned 4 months, so I'm not so concerned about the tummy sleeping anymore.

1 mom found this helpful

Both my boys were tummy sleepers. I was really paranoid about it at first - listening to the first breathe over the monitor and getting a special breathing monitor, but I finally relaxed with the second, though we did try to get him to sleep on his back at first. But they are both fine. SO many babies sleep this way and are fine. They are finding more and more that SIDS has to do with genetics and other things, and back sleeping is more protective when the risk is already there - so if you have ever had SIDS in your family or if there is a smoker in the house I would stick with back sleeping. Otherwise - a good rest is important for him and you!

1 mom found this helpful

We tried and tried and tried to get both of our little boys to sleep on their backs, but after a lot of restless nights and a lot of internal debate and worry, we finally let them sleep as they wanted--on their tummy. That said, I would try everything I could think of first. But, don't feel like a terrible mama just because you want both you and your baby to get some quality sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

I have three (ages 4, 2, and 8 months) and ALL of them have always slept on their tummies. I tried the back for all of them (because I'm "supposed to") but they never seemed to sleep as well. All of mine are alive and kicking! I think there are plenty of other things out there that contribute to SIDS and you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with. If letting your baby sleep on his belly is going to cause you nights and nights of unrest due to worrying, then it's not worth it!

1 mom found this helpful

My son was the SAME way as your baby!! He would not stay asleep for more than a few minutes on his back so I let him lay on his tummy once and it was over with...no more sleeping on his back!!! He slept in our room until a week ago (still usually ends up in our bed or his cosleeper sometimes) and is still a belly sleeper.

The pediatrician told me when I asked about this that the back is ideal, but a few years ago, it was recommended for baby's to sleep on their sides and then their bellies. He said that most times, SIDS occurs for other reasons, not just the baby sleeping on his/her belly but a combination of things.

Still, it's not something to do lightly or do without worry. I made sure my son slept next to us until the highest threat of SIDS was over (past four months) and until he could roll over on his own. He also has GREAT head control so I was never worried that his face would get 'stuck' in the blankets.

Good luck - you have to do what you feel is right, but of course you are going to get mixed reviews about something this controversial!

1 mom found this helpful

Try getting an angelcare monitor. You slide it under the mattress and it sounds an alarm if they stop breathing for 20 seconds. You have to get used to turning it off every time you pick up the baby, but it allowed all of us to sleep better (my son because he was on his tummy, me because I wasn't paranoid about SIDS). Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J., I have three kids. My 2nd and 3rd slept on their tummy from the moment they got home. I wish I had done this with my first. Babies digest better on their tummy. If you are breastfeeding, the risk of SIDS is drastically reduced. SIDS is strongly linked to environmental factors--think of things that off-gas and the baby is breathing face down (vinyl blinds, which contain lead, new carpeting, which can offgas for up to 7 years, vinyl wallpaper, new furniture that has not been allowd to air out for 3 months prior to baby's arrival, etc.) When my mother had her children, they told her to put your baby to sleep on their tummy so they won't choke. It is now much more common for a baby to have a flat head because they are not getting enought tummy time. If your baby sleeps better on his tummy, let him sleep on his tummy. Let mama get some rest!

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't. Lots of babies did fine on their tummies, but anything that contributes to SIDS was always too dangerous for me. They all like to sleep on tummies, because it makes them feel more "closed in," but that is one of the reasons it is more dangerous. It puts them in a deeper sleep. My ped. said that when they are able to turn over, then it is safer, but still put them in bed on their backs and let them turn over. One way to solve the sleep problem may be to rock him (if that is how you're getting him to sleep) by holding him on his back more in a feeding position. Love on him after you lay him down. I've alway put mine down awake and loved on them, rubbing their tummies, humming, singing, etc, til they went to sleep, then later, til they were almost there, then later, just laying them down relaxed. I know lots of kids are fine sleeping on their tummies, but obviously the risk is there. Lots of kids have survived lots of things, but it doesn't mean we should risk it. Good luck to you. I know those first few months are rough. I'm going through it for the third time. My baby is 1 month old, and just remember, you will sleep again!! I'll be thinking of you!

Oh, and also, never put any blankets or anything in there except the ones you're swaddling with. And when he can kick it off, stop swaddling. That's one of the things that can hurt his breathing also.

1 mom found this helpful

Since the beginning of the Back to Sleep Campaign, SIDS rates have declined more than 50%. HOW can you mothers argue with that?!? Yes, guidelines are always changing, usually for the better. 50 years ago it was considered fine to smoke and drink while you were pregnant. Are you going to take that up too, just because that is what used to be ok? Sure, you can find risk in everything, your carseat straps could injure your child's shoulder. Would you stop using it?

Ok, done with my rant, I am not directing this at you. I am just shocked that the overwhelming majority of advice to this question has been something that is in direct conflict with the recommendations of the experts, in a question of life and death. This isn't a lighthearted question about whether you should keep socks on them, or something like that. This is life and death. A friend of mine lost her baby to SIDS last week. This hits a nerve with me!

SIDS does still happen. And sure, maybe sometimes it is caused by chemicals and blankets, but not always. Not with statistics like that. You can not check on them often enough to save them if they stop breathing, unless you are check every single minute. You can not be sure you will wake up because they stop breathing. You CAN NOT. Yes, they sleep better. That is the problem, they sleep too deep. I occassionally let mine sleep on his belly during the day (like 3 times total) while I sat on the couch next to him. It wasn't worth it to me. If you decide you have to do this, please talk to you doctor about the angel monitor and whether it works. I don't know anything about it. Once they roll over, you can let them sleep however they are comfortable. I have been sleep deprived for over two years now, with many many nights of multiple wakings. I still would not consider doing this for the sake of a few hours sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

A lady I know just lost her 4 mos. old to SIDS and he was on his back. I let all of mine sleep on their tummy if they needed to. I just made sure they were in a blanket sleeper and made sure they had nothing around them. Have you tried the blankets that swaddle them the right way and then velcro with a positioner to keep him snuggled in? Just wondering? By the way it won't be like this forever... you will sleep again! Hang in there mom!

1 mom found this helpful

If you keep the bedding tight, there should be no danger of smothering, which is why they tell you to put the baby on its back. You should let him sleep in the position that is comfortable for him. Dress him warm--with only a sheet to cover him--and let him go to sleep how he wants to. Check on him peridically to see if layers need to come off.

If you put him on his back, there's a danger of choking on vomit. You can always find a danger.

1 mom found this helpful

I waited for decent head control, and once we had that they slept on their backs. Severe sleep deprivation in mom and baby, in my book, is more dangerous. Good luck, you'll get through this!!

1 mom found this helpful

I have one daughter, now 3 years old, and she slept on her tummy. I tried the back for her because that was what I was told and what I was supposed to do but she would scream her lungs out! I too think there are other things out there that contribute to SIDS and I had to do what worked for us as a family. I just made sure that all of her bedding was really tight and nothing around her to prevent smothering. Oh yes, checked on her periodically too. All went fine. Thankfully, she is alive and kicking and doing FINE! Good Luck!

P.S. BTW, once they start learning to rollover, all the back sleeping will be out the window and I thinkg they naturally prefer to be on their tummy. We asked our pediatrician at her 3-month check-up and was told that once she could roll by herself, there is not a whole lot we can do to prevent it.

1 mom found this helpful

Sleep or no sleep that is the question! Ha! Both my kids are tummy sleepers. With my first I followed the rules until I was just so tired I couldn't do it anymore and at 3 months I put him on his tummy. With my daughter who is now 10 months old at a week old I put her on her tummy and at 6 weeks old she would sleep through the night! Gotta do what you gotta do to get sleep for all! For the first fews days check on him a lot. If he can pick his head up; he should be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

Statistically it is much safer for baby to be on his back. That's the reason this country has seen a dramatic decrease in SIDS related deaths. After the Back to Sleep program was launched the number of case dropped significantly. US researchers began looking at Scandinavian countries to see why they had such lower incidences of SIDS and one of the biggest factors was that they put their babies to sleep on their backs. Our friend's pediatrician told her it would be ok for nap time (as she could watch the baby closely like you have ) but not for nighttime. Just not worth the risk imho. He's only a month old and adjusting to life on the outside and that takes time and patience.

Try using the swaddle blankets that use velcro to help keep him from kicking out.

1 mom found this helpful

my new born (feb 2) likes to sleep on her tummy. she sleeps fine durring the day but at night! we swaddle her with her arms free as she seems to like this better. she will sleep on my sholder or in my arms but as soon as i lay her down she is awake again! i end up holding her and sleeping on the couch! something i was terrified of doing with my son as i was scared i would drop him. the risk for sids is much higher when infants sleep on there tummy. i would rather miss out on sleep than have a infant suffer from sids.

1 mom found this helpful

I see you have a lot of good advice here already--the best being to talk to your pediatrician before making a decision for your son.

Tummy sleeping promotes deep sleeping but remember that deep sleeping does not mean SAFE sleeping! Babies sleep more deeply on their tummy and therefore do not wake or become aroused from sleep as easily in situations that are life threatening. Back sleepers leave face and internal organs exposed and are more able to radiate heat. A tummy sleeper, especially ones who sleep with blankets or in the bed may get beneath covers and become overheated as heat escapes through head/face so while a back sleeper will protest blankets over face, a tummy sleeper who is face down, will not fight extra covers and are at risk for becoming overheated. Tummy sleepers may also not get as much oxygen if they are breathing recycled air when faces are nuzzled up against mattress.

There may not be concrete scientific evidence that can be linked to back sleeping significantly reducing the risk of SIDS, but if you look at the studies which clearly prove by the incredible decrease in occurrences of SIDS since the launch of the Back to Sleep campaign, it it quite obvious, in my opinion.

You never mention that your son in uncomfortable or unhappy on his back so after checking with the pediatrician and ruling out any medical reasons as to why he SHOULD sleep on his tummy, I suggest buying a halo sleep sack with swaddle that he can't escape and get him back to sleeping on his BACK! Save his time on the tummy for tummy time when he can strength those neck muscles and work on head control and soon enough he will be rolling over and then it's really up to him what way he will sleep--your job now, and when he chooses tummy or back--is to make sure he is as safe as you can make him! Good luck mama!

1 mom found this helpful

I let both of my children sleep both ways. My 3 month old prefers her stomach and I have watched her to make sure she doesn't move too much. I don't think it's too bad so long as the surface is very flat and there isn't anything soft they can put there face into.

1 mom found this helpful

Both of my boys (the oldest is now 2 1/2 and the youngest is 7 months) will only sleep on their tummies. They slept on their backs for about a month and have been sleeping peacefully on their backs ever since!

HI J.,

There are a lot of thoughts and ideas out there about SIDS and tummy sleeping. I personally think that the only problem with tummy sleeping is the chemicals that are right in the baby's face from a new mattress (that outgasses) and laundry detergents that have chlorine bleach in them. Bleach is a neuro-toxin and will also cause respiratory distress. It can be absorbed through the skin as well so what you swaddle your little one counts too. I use an inexpensive natural one that I order online or you can shop at Publix and pick up Seventh Generation. Avoid the natural cleaners from the Clorox people....They are looking at saving the environment more than saving our health as are several other "green" companies.

Both my daughters refused to sleep on their back....

God bless,

M.

When my sons were babies, 18 yrs ago, I was told to put them on their tummies, that was safest. 5 years later for my daughter it was on her side or back that was safest. You are watching your baby closely, and it seems he can move himself enough to be able to breath, kick, etc. Let him sleep in a position that allows him to truly get rest. If, and it most likely won't, something did happen it is not because of anything you did. Just reading some of the responses shows SIDS can happen in either position. I want to say maybe it is more the hand of God than position. And PLEASE that is nothing against God. I have very strong faith and trust in God. He has his plan for you and your family; Many blessings.

I think it is fine. When I raised my three kids (in the 80;s) they told us to have them sleep on their tummy cause if they were on their back and spit up they could choke. so go figure.

The rules for "SIDS" change every 10 years, when my siblings were babies it was put them on their tummies so if they spit up they don't choke on it. They don't really know what causes SIDS. My oldest was a tummy sleeper, my youngest was a back sleeper until he was a few months old then he decied he was more comfortable on his back.

I'd let him sleep on his tummy.

My son was the same way. When I would lay him down on his back he would wake instantly, but on his tummy he was out and he would sleep so much deeper. It made me a nervous wreck! I tried everything to keep him on his back and nothing would work! I found an inclined sleep positioner at target, the sides are are a little higher so it was harder for him to roll out of it. I also have the angelcare monitor. As he got older I would slowly start letting him do more tummy sleeping, and by 8 months he only slept on his tummy.We had lots and lots off tummy time and played alot of peek a boo type games with blankets or towels hiding his face to help him learn to move things away from his face and build neck and back muscles. Instead of using blankets or bedding I always put him in footed pj's or a swaddle sac. He did amazingly well, and he is still a tummy sleeper.

This is from the Mayo clinic....
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-infant-death-synd...

Hi J... Congratulations!
Our daughter would only sleep on her tummy. They swaddled her in the hospital and would turn her on her side, but she still figured out how to roll to her tummy.. When we got home, I just made sure she was not surrounded by stuff... Can your child lift his head at all? Our daughter actually lifted her head the moment she was laid on my tummy in the delivery room, so I think that was the main reason I really did not worry..

I let my babies sleep on their tummies for the same reason. They were happier and it just felt more natural. I am aware of the "danger factor" we hear about. I would follow your instincts and do what seems to make your baby the happiest. Also, sleeping on the tummy is good for preventing the "flat head".
Congratulations on your new baby!

I like the recommendation of the angelcare monitor to alert you if they stop breathing. This should give you peace of mind since he sleeps better on his tummy. Our kids slept on their back or side when they were young. When they learned to roll over on their own it was over and they started on their back and slept on their stomachs.

I swaddled them in the beginning but my kids, like yours, would break free. They have sleeper sacks both long sleeve and tank style that I love. In the stores they typically only go up to 1 yr but you can find them on line for up to 2 yr olds. Both my kids have used them until they grew out of them during the colder months. I felt good knowing they had a "blanket" on them that was safe while they were still young. My son now sleeps with blankets (3yrs). My daugther is 17 mo and still using the sleeper sack but is almost to tall for it. She should make it through until it starts warming up. Next winter she'll start getting a blanket.

I had 3 children and one of my daughters did better sleeping on her tummy, so that's how I put her down to sleep each time. During the course of sleeping she would turn to her side every once in a while, but she always started out on her tummy. She is 32 years old today, doing great, and has a daughter of her own.

C.
Austin, TX

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