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Can Babies Sleep On Their Stomach?

Many parents today are worried about their babies sleeping on their stomach. With rising toll of the death of the infants due to suffocation during their sleep, it is necessary that the parents must apply baby sleeping rules so that the baby sleeping positions do not cause any risk to their health. Sleeping positions of the baby should be safe and it must not cause any sort of breathing problems to them. 

Table of Contents

1. Importance of Sleeping Positions

2. Babies Sleeping on their Stomach

3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

4. Risk Associated with Babies Sleeping on their Stomach

4.1 Poor Oxygen Supply to the Baby’s Body

4.2 Breathing Problems in Baby

4.3 Increase in the Body Temperature

4.4 Restricted Baby’s Movements

5. Conclusion

Babies that are under the age of one sleep a lot as their body parts are developing. It is important that the infants should get proper sleep and to get an adequate amount of sleep, a baby must sleep in the correct position.

Importance of Sleeping Positions

Sleeping positions of the babies are very important as they cause positive or negative impact on the health of the babies. There are some sleeping positions which may cause breathing problems to the baby and may be lethal to their lives. One such position which can lead to suffocation is when the babies sleep on their stomach. Parents must make sure that the babies do not sleep on their side, until and unless recommended by the paediatrician. Parents must allow their babies to develop the habit of sleeping on their back. However, sleeping on stomach doesn’t cause any risk in adults.

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Babies Sleeping on their Stomach

Babies have different sleeping positions, some may sleep on their back while there are babies who sleep on their tummy. Babies sleeping on their stomach are prone to sudden infant death syndrome as they may die due to suffocation. 

Babies develop a habit of sleeping on their stomach which must be corrected by the parents and let them sleep comfortably on their back. Initially, the baby may crib and be resistant to sleep on their back but continuous efforts to make these little infants sleep on their stomach will reap benefits and he will quickly adopt the habit of sleeping on the back.

It is found that more male infants tend to sleep on their stomach when compared to baby girls. Many a times, as a good mommy, we want to cover our babies with blankets, toys, pillow, leaving very little place for the baby to change their sleeping position. But have we ever thought if the baby is comfortable with so many things around him while his asleep? 

Many, a times we find our babies crying and cribbing all of a sudden from their sleep. It is probably because they have been feeling suffocated! Many babies tend to sleep on their stomach during the first four months, making the risk of SIDS highest!

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is unexplainable death of the child under the age of 1, and most of these infants die during their sleep. It was noted that the number of cases of infants dying due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was notably due to suffocation, strangulation in bed, inhaling carbon di oxide while asleep. Usually, the infant passes away without creating noise and all of a sudden. Although many other causes such as genetic disorder, environmental conditions, infections and many other undiagnosed problems.

To prevent SIDS, it has been recommended that the children must be put to sleep on their age when they are lesser than a year old. To prevent the increasing percentage of SIDS, government of developing countries are raising ‘safe sleep’ campaign to raise awareness in the parents of the new born.

Risk Involved in Babies Sleeping on their Stomach

Abrupt sleeping positions of the babies are may lead to suffocation and re-inhaling of the carbon dioxide that has been expelled out. Let us understand the potential risk involved in the babies sleeping on their belly:

1. Poor Oxygen Supply to Baby’s Body

When babies sleep on their tummy, his face and nose is stuck to the bed which leads to poor oxygen supply to his body. He starts inhaling the expelled carbon dioxide which can lead to suffocation. Inhaling carbon dioxide can cause problems in cellular metabolism.

2. Breathing Problems in Babies

Many a times when the baby is fed with milk or baby foods, it travels up to his oral cavity; this process is called posseting. When the babies sleep on their stomach, this food that has reached the mouth of the baby, may travel to oesophagus as a result of gravity thus suffocating the trachea and restricts the normal breathing process.

3. Increase in Body Temperature

The body temperature of the infants is higher than the adults. Babies sleeping on their tummy have a higher body temperature which is a serious problem during the summers as it can lead to fevers and dehydration.

4. Restricted Body Functions

Babies sleeping on their belly may take unusually longer time to wake up than the babies who sleep on their back. They experience restricted body functions as their breathing is restricted and it increases their risk of sudden infant death syndrome.


The US National Institute of Health (NIH) have stated that babies sleeping on stomach are at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies who sleep on their back do not have any danger to their health and are safer than the babies who sleep on their belly. Parents must take their responsibility in developing the baby’s habit of sleeping position so that he sleeps on his back. Parents must also take their doctor’s advice if their babies continue to sleep on their stomach and are being reluctant to sleep on their back.

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