Let’s discuss today the situation when your baby sleeps on stomach. Is this position dangerous or it contributes the baby’s development?
The choice, in fact, is limited: on the back, on a side, or on the stomach.
So, what to choose?
On the one hand, some scientist draw our attention to the fact that babies sleep tighter and rarely wake up in a prone position. Experience and observations of mothers show that the baby who sleeps in a prone position from the birth, starts holding his head earlier, he is massaging his tummy while sleeping, and his gassing is easier. If the matrass is dense and the baby sleeps without pillows, any talk about the possibility of suffocation is simply meaningless.
It is also unfair to state that when sleeping without a pillow on a side, the baby can break his neck. If wrapped with a dozen of nappies, maybe he will break it, but if wrapped with one or two ones – never.
While sleeping on the tummy, baby’s head is turned to a side, and it is necessary to change the side every time. Some babies sleep best of all in the middle position – between on a side and on the stomach with a nappy folded several times under their side.
On the other hand, nowadays absolutely all medical guidelines do not recommend but strongly state: baby must sleep only in a supine position.
What is the basis of such a dogmatic requirement?
Parents need to know that many babies, especially in the first three months of life, do not respond when their nostrils are pinched and their breath is stopped for 10-15 seconds. No wonder, the nostrils can be pinched because of a soft mattress. Besides, the least running nose combined with a temperature in the room of above +23 °C and dry air leads to the formation of dense crusts of mucus which in turn overlap the nasal passages and lead to the respiratory failure.
It is very difficult to convince parents that pillows and soft mattresses are not allowed and unacceptable (and in fact cribs are generally equipped with namely soft and often crooked mattresses). And it is even more difficult to convince parents that the baby cannot sleep in a room with a warm and dry air. It’s just easier to write in the media that sleep on the stomach increases the possibility of a sudden baby death syndrome.
The baby sleeps tight in a prone position. BUT!
– if there is a pillow in his crib;
– if the air in the room is warm and dry;
– if the mattress is soft and curve;
– if parents smoke;
and if there is at least one of these points – your baby positively must not sleep on his tummy!
In order to help you decide, let’s sum up the pros and cons of baby sleep on his tummy.
Pros of baby sleep in a prone position:
• prevention of hip dysplasia (if the baby sleeps on his stomach, his head is turned to one side, the legs are spread to the sides and not pressed under his tummy);
• active physical development (muscles of the back, shoulders and neck are being trained);
• colic relief (intestinal walls do not stretch, because the air leaves it quickly);
• a deep sleep (the baby does not awake himself with his arms during sleep).
Cons of baby sleep in a prone position:
• changes in activity of the autonomic nervous system (the baby is sleeping too deeply and might not respond when he buries his nose in something and the access of air is blocked);
• imbalance in the work of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems (failure of the alternation of bronchi and bronchioles constriction and expansion);
• labored the work of the lungs (chest is pressed).
I believe that the recommendations for a specific sleep position should be followed by those mothers who are extremely anxious or those whose babies sleep in another room and they have minimum opportunity to see, hear and feel the baby while he is asleep.
The proposed option is just an advice, and a decision, as always, is up to you. A sensitive mother, like no one else, will always be able to determine the best option for her miracle.