Baby Sleeping on Stomach

image001For many years, parents tend to put infants on stomach-down sleeping position. Baby sleeping on stomach seems to sleep better since it prevents the limb reflex from taking place, which is commonly observed in sleeping on back. Nevertheless, this sleeping position’s popularity dropped down for years due to safety concerns, but it does not stop other parents from putting babies in this manner. Read on to learn about the risks of putting your baby to sleep on stomach and how you can prevent dangers from happening.

Baby Sleeping on Stomach—Is It Dangerous?

While sleeping on stomach offer benefits for babies, given that they actually like the position, experts advise parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs during their first years to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or lessen its risk of occurring. Statistics show that the risk of SIDS is high during the first to fourth month. However, several reports also show infants up to a year old to be at risk. Even if the infant has improved its muscular strength to roll from back to stomach position, experts still recommend back-sleeping position until he reaches that age.

Looking at a developmental perspective, an infant at his early months still lack sufficient motor control to support position changes. Several babies are observed to roll over between their fourth or fifth month. The process starts by rolling from belly to back and then the baby will learn to roll from his back to belly. This self-learned body-rolling, however, does not mean a baby is completely safe from SIDS. Resources show SIDS risk, though at small percentage, after sixth months. It will only be after a year when the baby is out of SIDS’ claws. However, experts do not recommend turning the baby back on his back if he really likes to sleep on his back.

Putting the baby on the side is also not recommended because he can be on his stomach with small limb movements.

Let Your Baby Sleep on His Back

Letting your baby sleep on his back is an important tip that can protect your little one. According to statistics, SIDS cases dropped approximately 50 percent starting 1994 after organizations collaborated and promoted the Back to Sleep Campaign. This campaign educated parents, relatives and caregivers about putting infants to sleep on their backs within the first year post-birth.

Several reports indicate that SIDS risk on an infant range from around 1.7 to 13 times higher in sleeping on his stomach than on his back. Stomach-down sleeping position may cause overheating and breathing pauses. These breathing pauses cause an infant to rebreathe the air he exhaled, which means inhaling de-oxygenated air.

More Ways to Reduce the Risks of SIDS

As mentioned above, baby sleeping on stomach can increase risks of SIDS. SIDS is a primary concern among parents, but parents can reduce the risk with the help of expert tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These tips will not only minimize the risk of SIDs and other sleep-triggered death causes like entrapment, suffocation and strangulation.

1. Undergo Regular Prenatal Checkup

Prenatal care has been linked to protecting infant’s health, which lowers risk factors for SIDS like low weight after birth or premature birth.

2. Put Your Little One in a Firm Mattress

A firm mattress is the best place for baby to sleep. Experts do not recommend putting babies to sleep on a pillow, waterbed, couch or other significantly soft surfaces. Avoid placing blankets, pillows or stuffed toys near the infant to prevent rebreathing his exhaled air.

3. Do Away with Bumper Pads

Bumper pads are common accessories placed in cribs and have their benefits. However, experts do not recommend placing these pads due to being potential risk of strangulation or suffocation.

4. Keep Baby from Getting too Warm While Asleep

Ensure proper ventilation to keep the room at a comfortable temperature for your baby. One of the signs to know the right temperature is if you are comfortable in the room wearing a short-sleeved shirt. Being too warm can cause baby to fall into a very deep sleep, which may be difficult to wake him up as claimed by researchers.

5. Do Not Expose Babies to Harmful Substances

Pregnant women should not smoke, drink and take drugs while the baby is developing inside the womb. Once born, parents should not expose their babies to secondhand smoke. Research shows that infants borne by mothers taking these substances have increased risk of SIDS. Researchers also speculated that smoking while pregnant and post-delivery may affect the baby’s central nervous system and increase SIDS risk.

6. Breastfeed

If possible for mothers, breastfeeding can be a good aid in reducing the risk of SIDS. Several studies show that breastfeeding lowers SIDS cases despite the reasons surrounding this procedure are unclear aside from breast milk boosting babies’ immune system from infections that boost SIDS risk.

7. Give a Pacifier to a Baby

It is recommended to give your baby a pacifier while putting him to sleep during the first year. This item is said to lower risk of SIDS according to research. Nevertheless, do not force the infant to take the pacifier if he does not want to.

8. Put Babies Back to Their Cribs When Sleepy

Many researchers claim that placing infants back to their cribs is a good idea when they are sleepy instead of keeping them with parents on their beds. This idea has also been linked to reduced risk of SIDS.

9. Complete Your Infant’s Immunizations

Resources show that infants with complete immunizations have reduced SIDS risk by up to 50 percent.

Watch a Video: How to Position Your Baby for Sleep: