Whether you’re a first-time mother or not, we’re sure you want the best for your babies. Even if it means scouring through the internet to find the correct answers
Today, we’ll talk about one of the frequently asked questions by parents. Is it safe when a baby sleeps face down? Let’s find out.
Defining SIDS: Babies Should Sleep on Their Back
It all boils down to SIDS. Allowing infants to sleep face down and on their stomachs, instead of their back, exposes them to a lot of risks.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also referred to as crib death, has gained a lot of attention these days for being the number one cause for a baby’s death and infants. It’s a condition that can happen as the baby sleeps face down.
Research shows that, on average, boys are more likely to suffer from SIDS than girls.
With an increasing number of deaths because of SIDS, people have varying views on how babies should be sleeping. Is it safe to let them sleep on their stomachs? Or is it better if they sleep on their back?
And because of the increasing number, answering this question has never been as crucial as today.
SIDS happens so suddenly. It is also more likely to happen when a baby sleeps face down.
One moment your infant could be sleeping, and the next, they could be suffering from SIDS. And it’s all because your baby sleeps face down.
They can suddenly die, despite being healthy just a few minutes ago.
While this isn’t an easy subject to discuss, a mother needs to know the risks involved with stomach sleeping.
The campaign against stomach sleeping continues, making sure parents put their babies to sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs.
Understanding the Causes of SIDS: Keeping Your Baby Safe
Your baby sleeps pretty much all day. It’s a natural occurrence that people don’t pay close attention to what’s going on.
Our advice to keep your baby safe?
Watch your baby sleep, or at least check on them once in a while. It’s a habit you MUST form.
You need to be able to tell whether there’s anything unusual with how they sleep and how they breathe. Doing so puts you in a better place to be aware of SIDS and the risk it brings.
If your baby sleeps face down and on its tummy, they’ll likely suffer from SIDS because of suffocation. Your baby lays flat on the material they sleep in, cutting any source of oxygen.
It’s a fact that babies are fragile beings, especially if it’s a newborn. They aren’t able to right their heads just yet and rollback.
Once your baby sleeps face down, and they’ve rolled over to their tummies, it’s up to you to help them back.
Whenever a baby sleeps face down, they risk suffocating.
They exhale carbon dioxide and end up breathing in carbon dioxide instead of oxygen.
Carbon dioxide poisoning could very likely happen. It’s when they don’t have access to oxygen or have limited access to it because their bed or pillows obstruct their face.
Poor Brain Development
Unfortunately, infants born with brain problems are susceptible to SIDS.
This is because the defect in their brain affects their ability to control their breathing and their ability to naturally wake up.
This is especially true for babies born prematurely and need a little time in incubation to develop.
Sharing the Same Bed
Many parents make the mistake of sharing the same bed with their baby. While it’s a thoughtful and sweet gesture, parents are better off letting their baby sleep independently.
Unfortunately, letting your baby sleep with you in the same bed puts them at a higher risk for suffocation.
One parent might accidentally roll over to the baby, causing suffocation (Very rare).
My Baby Sleeps Face Down. Is It Okay?
The answer: So far, the majority rules that babies should sleep on their backs.
Back in the days, stomach sleeping wasn’t too much of an issue.
Parents hardly talked about this topic, nor was there any controversy about it. Back then, stomach sleeping was pretty common and wasn’t a cause for concern.
Over time, there’s been a debate and varying opinions on whether a baby should be sleeping on their backs or face down.
Researchers were able to discover that a baby sleeping on its stomach is likely to suffer from SIDS. Certainly, no parent would want their child to suffer this fate, especially if it can be avoided.
When Can Babies Start Sleeping Face Down?
Your baby will eventually start to sleep face down and on their stomach. Putting their heads against the bed feels much better and cooler than laying on their back.
It’s the same with how adults naturally sleep face down, and they don’t even know that it already happened.
Knowing when your babies can start sleeping with their face down is crucial so that you can closely monitor your babies during their most vulnerable stages.
That being said, babies can sleep face down. As to when it will be is a matter we’ll discuss below.
Hold off During the Baby Development Stage
This is not an ideal stage for babies to sleep face down.
The development of babies differs. A baby may develop faster than others, while some take some time.
Monitor the development of your baby closely, and understand their movements. At some point, your baby will start developing instincts crucial for their growth.
You’ll notice they start being more alert, and they can more or less have a feel of the situation they’re in.
When it comes to tummy sleeping, you want to pay close attention to how your baby sleeps face down, mainly whether your baby can move its head.
In general, you want your infant to move their head to the side when their stomach is sleeping. This makes sure they get ENOUGH OXYGEN as they sleep.
If they still aren’t able to right themselves, then it’s not yet the safe time for them to do stomach sleeping. You do not want to risk the safety of your baby at all costs.
As much as possible, you still want to check on your child to minimize the occurrence of any breathing difficulties or any danger involved with SIDS.
Start During the Better Movement/Walking Stage
This is an ideal stage for babies to start sleeping face down safely.
Soon enough, once your baby starts to learn some movement, stomach sleeping won’t be as risky as before! They can finally lay on their stomach and back without difficulty.
Most likely, your baby can already start moving around and even walk. They can already roll their head and neck back and forth, and side to side.
We recommend that you wait for this stage before you allow your baby to sleep face down. It’s less risky than banking on the possibility your baby can manage on their own.
What Can I Do to Prevent My Baby From Sleeping Face Down?
No matter how securely you place your babies on their backs, they somehow manage to roll themselves in such a way they start stomach sleeping.
And this is something you can’t avoid on your own.
But through time, your baby will naturally take on the sleeping position and get used to it. But for now, you ought to know that there are easy solutions to let your baby sleep on its back at all times.
#1 Swaddle Your Baby
Most parents swaddle their babies at all times. It keeps the baby secure and helps them stay warm. Moreover, it prevents the baby from rolling over.
Swaddling involves wrapping up a baby in such a way they can still move their hips and their hands. As much as possible, give them enough BREATHING ROOM whenever they’re swaddled.
If you want your baby to sleep on their backs, consider swaddling them. They won’t accidentally sleep on their stomachs.
#2 Choose a Firm Mattress
There’s a ton of mattresses out there, but not all of them are safe for infants.
Some have a soft surface that can instantly take the form of your baby. Just imagine when your baby starts sleeping on its stomach when you use a soft mattress.
A soft mattress will envelop the heads of your baby and lead to suffocation. This is what you want to avoid.
The best solution?
Choose a firm and reliable branded mattress that won’t form a dip whenever you lay heads on it. Whenever your baby rolls to its tummy, you don’t have to worry about the material engulfing them.
#3 Have a Baby Monitor
A lot of mothers rely on baby monitors to supervise their baby.
They can watch as their baby sleeps face down or on their back. If babies end up on their stomachs, parents can quickly get to their child and put them back in the correct position.
The beauty of using a baby monitor is that parents can always check on what’s going. Regardless if their baby is asleep or not, a monitor comes in pretty handy.
#4 Keep the Crib Bare
Avoid placing unnecessary things inside the crib. The only thing you’ll need inside is a safe and firm mattress.
Unnecessary objects can obstruct the breathing of your baby, especially when they suddenly roll on their stomachs. Babies risk pressing their heads against it and end up suffocating.
Also, avoid any harsh smells and scents around your baby as that can distract them from sleep. For example, mentholated Vapopads (like Vicks) can keep them awake.
#5 Keep the Bed of Your Baby Near You
You never know when your baby starts to sleep on its stomach. This is why it’s better to have a clear view of your baby when it sleeps.
You can place the bed of your baby in the same sleeping area or room as you. This is way better than leaving them to sleep in a room by themselves.
Sharing the same room with your baby allows you to put them back to their original position whenever they roll onto their stomach.
#6 Visit Your Doctor
If you’re new to parenting, we’re sure you’ve got a ton of questions in mind.
You still lack the proper knowledge and experience regarding parenting, which is why we highly recommend you visit a doctor.
You can ask for advice and recommendations to help you take care of your baby. Plus, doctors are more likely to be equipped with a ton of information and give sound advice based on their experience.
No parent wants their child to suffer from sudden infant death syndrome. It’s highly preventable, and you’ll have to keep your baby on its back when it’s time to sleep.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to give it a like and share it with your fellow parents. This one simple act of sharing this sleep campaign can save someone and their babies.
Should you have any more questions about SIDS, feel free to drop them in the comments section below. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.
July 23, 2021 – updated article links