There is a certain bit of comfort in watching little ones sleep. I feel immense pride at being a part of the whole creation process, but more relieved that my tiny tornado is finally asleep! I can hear the birds chirping again, and the bells of the distant church! My son loves to sleep on his tummy, and it led us to read more about babies sleeping positions, especially about children loving to sleep with their cute bottoms up!
Babies Sleeping Positions: What Parents Should Know
The first few months are crucial when it comes to babies sleeping positions. The most important reason to follow the guidelines is safety.
So, for the first couple of years, follow these rules:
- The bed needs to be flat and devoid of any bumper pads. Those could cause suffocation.
- Sleep should be initiated with the baby on his back
- The bed should be in the room with parents. However, the baby should not be on the parent's bed.
- No soft toys, mobile hangings, pillows, loose blankets on the baby's bed.
However, as the kids grow up, they start flipping on their tummies, so rule #2 is especially difficult to follow!
And that can cause sleepless nights for many parents as the thought of a baby sleeping in a "dangerous" position can keep anyone up all night! However, after the age of four months, babies start rolling over and the guidelines suggest that it is okay if they go prone as long as the sleep was initiated on the back.
There are some interesting theories about why children and even a lot of grownups sleep on their tummies. So let's see why!
Why Do People Sleep on Their Tummies?
Sleeping on the tummy looks endearing as well as amusing in our little ones, as their tiny, round tushies are up in the air! Sometimes, babies even "do an inchworm" in their sleep. They lift their bum up and move ahead in their sleep like a looper! (It's terribly annoying and not so cute if your spouse does the same...)
Interestingly, the reason for this lies in evolution.
Before humans started walking, like other animals, we were on all fours most of the time. In animals, the back is tough, and the belly is the soft tender part vulnerable to any attack.
In the context of staying safe during sleep, it is but natural that animals love to curl up so that the belly is not exposed. For humans as well, the muscles of our back are stronger than our abdominal muscles. So, many of us love to either sleep curled up or prone, with our back exposed to the world.
Babies are no different. Developmentally, they are curled up in a position commonly referred to as the foetal position. This continues even after birth and the baby feels safer when he is swaddled. However, this curling makes the life of parents a bit more difficult when it becomes impossible to lay the babies on their back!
So, Is Sleeping on the Tummy Safe for Babies?
Your baby will start rolling when he is about four months old. If he rolls over in his sleep, then the guidelines suggest that it is okay as long as there is no suffocation hazard in the crib. This includes pillows, heavy blankets and stuffed toys.
However, right from the start, your baby's sleep should always be initiated on the back in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some babies may not like it, but keep doing it and they will get used to sleeping on their back.
And yes, if they are rolling over, you don't have to stay up flipping them! I would just suggest clicking a few pictures to remember how cute your little one looks when he is lost in his dream world, bottom up!
My toddler sleeps with his bottom up. Is it okay?
Toddlers are more active than babies. This is the age when they start dreaming and having nightmares. And so, they are quite mobile in their sleep. The sleep should still be initiated on their backs. However, they are going to toss and turn. So keep the bed safe for them - no toys or stray blankets that may cause suffocation. There is no real downside for older children sleeping with their bottoms up!