| |

Is It Safe for Babies to Sleep on Their Stomach?

It’s always fun and exciting to watch your little baby grow and learn new things. But sometimes these new milestones come with questions and concerns. When your newborn starts fighting their swaddle or rolling over during the day it’s probably time to consider ditching the swaddle for the sleep sack and practice rolling skills. As a sleep consultant I talk a lot about infant development and how it affects sleep, rolling is one of the first big physical milestones and it definitely affects sleep.

When is it Safe for Babies to Sleep on Their Stomach?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be placed on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) until 12 months old. However, once babies develop the ability to roll from their back to their stomach and vice versa, usually around 3-4 months of age, it is generally considered safe for them to sleep on their stomachs if they flip over to this position on their own. Your job is to put the baby down on their back to start out the night.

Transitioning Out of the Swaddle

Most babies enjoy being swaddled in some form, whether it’s hands down or arms up, especially for the first 8-12 weeks.  However, once babies start rolling over, it’s essential to transition them out of the swaddle to prevent any restrictions that could impede their movement and increase the risk of suffocation. It can feel overwhelming to transition out of the swaddle, this is actually one of the things I help parents with the most. I’ll share with you some of my favorite sleep sacks for transitioning from the swaddle. 

Popular Sleep Sacks for Transitioning

Sleep sacks have gained tremendous popularity in recent years and for good reason! They keep baby warm without loose blankets and are a good half step between a tight swaddle and pj’s only. Here are a few of my favorites (affiliate links included):

  1. Love to Dream Transition Swaddle: This is great for anyone but if your baby was an arms up sleeper this is for you. Doing one arm at a time is so helpful when transitioning away from the swaddle. 
  2. Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit: This is popular for a reason! It’s arms and hands out but does restrict rolling until your baby gets stronger.
  3. Swaddle Designs Transition Swaddle: Another transition option that starts with one arm out and then moves up to hands free as baby gets older. 

Tips for Baby to Roll

Like anything in life if we want to get better we must practice practice practice. Practice during the day is way better than practicing at night while we’re trying to get some sleep! 

  1. Rolling Tummy to Back: Start in tummy time with elbows tucked under their chest. Encourage looking and reaching at a toy as you bring it up and over. Body follows eyes! Assist or guide the hips if necessary. Follow Dr Amie @milestonesatplay
  2. Back to Tummy: Place a toy to one side on the diagonal and guide from the hips so baby reaches across the diagonal. Top arm crosses the midline of the body, trunk rotates, head turns, weight shifts and assist to elbows. 
  3. Blanket Trick: Put your baby on a blanket then slowly and gently life the edge of blanket until baby starts to tip. Have your partner or an older sibling guide baby’s body to rotate from the hip, then trunk onto their elbows. 

Is Tummy Sleeping Safe?

It can be really scary the first time you walk into your baby’s room and see them sound to sleep on their belly. Remember, you want to put them down on their back to sleep. Once they start to roll they will roll all over that crib so practice during the day is hugely important. If your baby is getting stuck on their belly and waking up crying, work on rolling from belly to back a few times each day. Most physical milestones disrupt sleep for a while but hang in there! Stay consistent, work on their new skill and independent sleep habits and they’ll be a great belly sleeper before you know it!

Similar Posts