When Can Babies Sleep on Stomach?

Babies are such fragile beings. You must handle them with care and watch out for them at every moment lest they get hurt. One of the issues you need to be careful about is how you lay them down when sleeping. You have probably heard about all the sleeping safety warnings and you are wondering how exactly to go about it. Research has shown that the safest position for babies as they sleep is on their back.

When Can Babies Sleep on Stomach?

When putting your baby down to sleep, you should lay them on their back to reduce the risk of sudden death syndrome (SIDS). This is especially so between 1 to 4 months. After the baby is strong enough to roll from back to front by themselves, then they should be okay. While preventing SIDS is the most important considerations when putting your baby to sleep on their back, there are other benefits. Research has shown that babies who sleep on their backs have fewer ear infections, stuffy noses and fevers than those who sleep in other positions. So when can babies sleep on stomach? It depends on your baby's condition. Usually you should put them to sleep on their back until they are one year old.

Tips for Your Babies' Safe Sleep

1. Choose a Stable Bed with Firm Mattress

While it might seem like a good idea to get babies a soft and "more comfortable" mattress, what they need is a stable base to sleep on. Get a bed made of one solid piece of material rather than slats. The bars on the bed shouldn't be more than 5.5 cm apart to avoid getting your baby's head stuck in between bars. The bars should be about 60 cm high to prevent the baby from climbing out.

2. Keep the Bed Clear

You should keep the babies' bed free from clutter. They could get caught in or suffocated. Avoid placing toys on the bed. Tuck in the covers such that they only come halfway up the cot. A pillow is definitely not good for babies' back and can cause suffocation. If they must use pillows, use thin ones.

3. Adjust the Room Temperature

The baby's bedroom shouldn't be too hot or too cold. Temperatures of about 16 to 20 °C are ideal. Do not overdress the baby during summer.

4. Don't Smoke Around Your Baby

Smoking around your baby increases the chances of SIDS. You should not let anyone smoke around your baby. It is also important to stop smoking when you get pregnant as babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are 3 times more likely to die from SIDS.

5. Keep Your Baby Close, But in His Cradle

Apart from the question "when can babies sleep on stomach", "where can babies sleep" is another question for parents to consider. Sleeping with your baby on the same bed is a bad idea. If you're comforting or breastfeeding the baby on your bed, make sure to put them back in their crib when you're done.

6. Use a Pacifier to Put Baby to Sleep

Researchers believe that using a pacifier to put your baby to sleep can help prevent SIDS. Here are some tips on using a pacifier.

  • Only start using a pacifier after 1 month to avoid nipple confusion. The baby might prefer the pacifier to your nipple if it's given too early.
  • Do not force the pacifier on your baby.
  • Do not put the pacifier in the baby's mouth after he falls asleep.
  • The pacifier should be kept clean at all times
  • Don't be tempted to coat the pacifier with any substance such as honey.

Other Parents' Experiences on Baby Sleeping on Stomach

Still wondering when can babies sleep on stomach? Read the following experiences from other parents.

"Our baby suffered from reflux when he was about 6 months old. Our doctor recommended that we put him to sleep on his tummy. He felt that it was okay since the baby had good neck control and could turn without a problem."

"At just 3 months old, my baby had learned to roll from his back to tummy. He did this every single time despite the fact that I always put him on his back. I was totally freaked out, but my doctor reassured me that he would be okay if he had the strength to turn."

"My son, now 4, has always preferred to sleep on his tummy. We let him do it, but watched him more carefully. He slept like this all night as well. He also co-slept with us until he was 2. I was nervous about all this, but out pediatrician wasn't too worried about it since the baby was perfectly healthy and my husband and I aren't smokers."

"My 2nd son is a tummy sleeper and started rolling over at only 10 weeks old. He slept with us in bed so that we could monitor him at night. Now 2 years old, he still sleeps on his tummy with his butt in the air."

"I had gotten tired of trying to get my 5-month-old daughter to sleep on her back. It was a relief when the pediatrician gave us the permission to let her sleep on her tummy. She's one-year-old now and still sleeps on her stomach."

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