When are babies allowed to sleep on their stomachs?

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When are babies allowed to sleep on their stomachs?
When are babies allowed to sleep on their stomachs?

Some people may think that babies can feel comfortable and calm when put to sleep in a prone position. In fact, this position is at risk of causing various he alth problems that are dangerous for the baby. So, when can babies sleep on their stomachs and what to pay attention to?

Training babies on their stomach is indeed beneficial for their motor development. However, you should be careful. At a certain age, this position can actually harm your little one, especially when he is left on his stomach for a long time or when he is asleep.

When is it okay for babies to sleep on their stomach? - Alodokter
When is it okay for babies to sleep on their stomach? - Alodokter

Risk of Baby Sleeping on Stomach

Here are some risks that can happen to babies when they are allowed to sleep on their stomachs:

1. Baby dies suddenly

The prone sleeping position may indeed make the baby sleep more calmly and not easily wake up. However, on the other hand, allowing the baby to sleep on his stomach prematurely can increase the risk of the baby dying suddenly or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

2. Baby's breathing is disturbed

Several studies have shown that sleeping on the stomach in babies can put more pressure on the jaw and throat, narrowing the airways. This can make it more difficult for the baby to breathe.

In addition, there is also another theory which states that the prone position can make the baby breathe less oxygen, while the carbon dioxide level in the body increases. Eventually, the baby's body can become deprived of oxygen (hypoxia), and this can lead to SIDS.

3. Baby's body temperature increases

Sleeping on the stomach is also said to be at risk of making the baby's body temperature increase, so that it is easier for him to overheat. Babies can also overheat when they sleep in thick or layered clothes, thick blankets, or in hot rooms.

When it's hot, babies will feel less comfortable and more fussy so they tend to have trouble falling asleep or wake up during sleep. In addition, babies who are too hot or even cold can also be at risk of sudden death.

However, it's not always dangerous for babies to sleep on their stomachs. Along with the development of age, the baby's ability to control his body will increase. At the age of about 5-6 months, babies are usually able to roll their own body forward or backward.

When your little one is able to control their own body movements consistently, it doesn't really matter if they let them sleep on their stomach or in any position that makes them comfortable.

The Right Sleeping Position for Babies

Although babies aged 5 or 6 months are usually able to control their own bodies, the risk of SIDS is still considered high until the baby is 12 months old. Therefore, for the safety of the Little One, Mother and Father are recommended to keep him sleeping on his back until he is 1 year old.

Although there is an assumption that putting a baby to sleep on their back can cause a baby to choke due to gastric acid disorders or GERD, the fact is that until now there has been no research that proves this statement. What is clear, the position of the baby sleeping on his stomach is indeed more risky than the position of the baby sleeping on his back.

What if the baby sleeps on his side? This is also not recommended, because there is still a risk that the baby will change position so that it is prone during sleep.

In addition to making sure the baby sleeps on his back, it is also important to always keep your little one's mouth and nose from being blocked by any objects that might cover his face while sleeping, such as blankets, pillows, bolsters, or dolls.

Tips for Safe Sleeping Babies

The right way to put your baby to sleep can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Therefore, when putting your little one to sleep, follow these tips:

  • Make sure the mattress is covered with the right sheet and the mattress surface is not too soft. Also, avoid putting your little one to sleep on a water bed, pillow, sofa, or chair.
  • Don't put extra pillows, blankets, dolls, or any other object around your little one while sleeping.
  • Do not use bumpers or upholstery on the edges of the crib.
  • Wear comfortable and not layered clothes. Adjust the temperature of the baby's bedroom so that it is neither too warm nor too cold, or around 20–21 degrees Celsius.
  • Keep your little one away from cigarette smoke, dust, and pollution.
  • Give him breast milk by breastfeeding him regularly.
  • Give a baby pacifier or pacifier after your little one is 1 month old to help him sleep. However, don't force a pacifier if your little one refuses.

Putting the baby to sleep in a safe position and condition is very important. If your little one accidentally sleeps on their side or on their stomach prematurely, slowly turn their position back to their back.

If you still have questions about the baby sleeping on his stomach or want to make sure whether your little one is safe to sleep in this position, don't hesitate to consult a pediatrician.