"My Baby Sleeps on His Tummy—So What?"


put baby to sleep on back or belly

photo by Geminiashes

The AAP recommends that babies

sleep on their backs

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be put to sleep on their backs because research shows it helps reduce the risk of SIDS. And ever since pediatricians have told moms to put babies on their backs SIDS deaths have indeed declined. The AAP also says that side sleeping is not the same as back sleeping and it's not advised. However, babies do need to spend time on their bellies so their muscles develop properly, but tummy time should take place only when the baby is awake and someone is watching them.

Okay, so we all know that's what we're supposed to do. But what do you really do?

Natalie Morales, the co-anchor of the Today show, recently confessed that she put her newborn to sleep on his stomach. She writes: "I let my newborn sleep on his stomach. I know, I know, being a journalist, I've read all the research that says to put babies on their back to sleep. But Luke was very colicky, and it turned out he had GERD, so his digestive system was really immature. Whenever he slept on his back, he'd grunt like he was in pain ... since he seemed much happier on his tummy, that's how I let him sleep. And guess what? We can both sleep better at night because of it. Is that such a bad thing?"

I put my baby to sleep on her back, but as soon as she could roll over by herself, she'd get onto her tummy as fast as she could. I think she was more comfortable sleeping that way. I sleep on my stomach too. (The AAP says that belly sleeping is okay once a baby has mastered rolling over.)

What do you think of Natalie Morales's confession? Do you let your baby sleep on his tummy? Or do you follow the AAP's recommendations?

sids, sleep


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I put my son on his belly as soon as he could pick up his head and move it (approx. 6 weeks).  As soon as I did this he started sleeping through the night.  He was extremely gassy and was small at birth and I think he was just happier without the belly cramps that developed when he slept on his back. 

nonmember avatar Betty

My daughter slept on her stomach from the day I brought her home from the hospital. She had a very strong neck from the day she was born so, I wasn't "overly" concerned. Of course, as a new mother I checked on her compulsively but, that set my mind at ease so I think I was pretty relaxed as a parent who let their child sleep on her tummy!

stink... stinkygirl

belly sleep may be OK for some, but do not take the risk, it may be too late, then what.

I understand that the baby breathes it's own carbon dioxide (stale air) than oxygen,  It is really common sense if you know. I have 4 healthy kids 26yrs, 24yrs, 20yrs and 6yrs, they all belly slept while infants. Then had my 5th, she was left on her tummy in the hospital nursery, after 50hrs was found not breathing. They ruled it to SIDS, I say if there they not able to find reason to the diagnose, I will not take the risk.

AHamrick AHamrick

I rolled up a recieving blanket behind her back so she was propped up on one side or the other. Not completly on her side, but tilted a little. I was parianoid about her spitting up in her sleep and drowning in it if she was on her back.

3rd-t... 3rd-time-around

I always put my son to sleep on his back -- he liked to sleep swaddled, so it was great.  Now he is moving all over his crib, rolling and starting to push up onto his arms and knees.  I put him down on his back, but most often he rolls over to his side, and sometimes onto his stomach.  I am not so worried anymore now that he's so strong and mobile!

nonmember avatar Sam

For the first month my husband and I were only able to get one or two hours sleep at the most when our son was on his back. He was so hard to settle and would constantly wake up which after a month of severe sleep depravation was very hard. My GP was the one that actually recommended that I try him on his stomach as he has very bad colic and would just scream.
The first time I did this he slept for 4 hours and it has remained this way, sometimes even 5-7 hours! I must admit it makes me nervous because everyone tells you not to because of SIDS - but if that is the only way that we can all get some sleep...surely it is better for him? He is my 2nd son, so I cannot survive on one or two hours sleep as I have my first toddler that I have to look after during the day.
Is comforting to read that other people do it too, my son has great neck and head control from birth and has always lifted his head off my chest to look at me and others. He is in a cot in our room and it is free of any blankets or obstructions.

nonmember avatar Jenn

When my daughters were born and my mother found out I was putting them on their back, she was HORRIFIED. Her doctor told her it was safest to put babies on their tummies to sleep (when I was a baby) and some of my friends' parents had the same instructions 30 years ago.

It is statistically true that the rate of SIDS is lower when the baby is on their back, but the occurrence is still very, very rare. I put my babies on their backs, but I think that if there is a reason why they are more comfortable on their tummies, it likely will be okay.

nonmember avatar Liz

Our first slept on her tummy. She slept better, stayed warmer, and she was more relaxed. There are studies showing that babies sleep better on their bellies, deeper. She also had some tight jaw issues. When I sheepishly told the physical therapist how she slept, she said 'good, that study about SIDS was done 20 years ago.' She went on to point out the jaw is more relaxed when we lay on our belly, just because that's gravity for ya. My second has only slept on her back at night, simply because the new co-sleeper bed hasn't arrived and I don't want her laying face down on our soft bed. She napped really well on her belly today, so we'll probably at least try it with her too shortly.

nonmember avatar Taysia's Mom

My 1 mth old sleeps longer and more peaceful on her tummy. After 2 wks, she didnt want to be swaddled and would only sleep for about 30 mins before waking up if she is on her back or side. I give her a pacifier to fall asleep with on her tummy and she sleeps right next to me so that I can check on her

nonmember avatar Brandi

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