Have you recently brought your baby home from the hospital? Or are you pregnant and almost about to deliver your baby? Are you planning to set up your baby’s crib for that peaceful sleep time you deserve? Do you know how to care for your baby even while he is asleep? Are you confused whether you should place your baby on the back or on his tummy to sleep?
If you are unsure about the best position for your baby to sleep or are wondering whether is it safe for baby to sleep on stomach, you might want to read our post here.
Is It Safe To Let Your Baby Sleep On Tummy?
One of the biggest risks that newborns and babies face until they are one-year-old is SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The exact cause of death of a newborn or young baby due to SIDS is not easy determine, one of the most common causes is babies sleeping on tummy.
To keep him asleep during sleep time, you need to put him down on his back. Even if you are around your baby and feel that he is under constant supervision, placing your baby to sleep on his tummy is a potential risk that can be fatal.
The position you put your baby to sleep in is something that you as a parent and all caregivers should be aware. Whether you put him to sleep, or it’s your partner or parent who does, make sure you inform everyone that about not placing him on his tummy when he sleeps.
[ Read: Is It Safe For Baby To Sleep On Side ]
Here are some quick things you need to know:
- According to research, if you place your baby on the back to sleep, the chances of SIDS will be far lower than when you place him on his tummy.
- If you place your baby on the tummy to sleep, he will be at a high risk of contracting SIDS.
- If you place your baby to sleep on the back and then put him to sleep on his tummy while he is asleep, the chances of SIDS are even higher.
- The safest position for him to sleep is on the back. It even includes babies who are born preterm or are just born.
- Sleep time for your baby will include even those few hours of nap time in the day when you may not count as a full sleeping hour. Even for those short naps, it is important for you to place him on his back and not on the stomach. 
When Can Babies Sleep On Their Tummy?
The risk of SIDS is highest when your baby is between the ages of one and four months of age. The risk of SIDS will continue to pose a threat until he turns one-year-old.
Once your baby gets strong enough, he will be able to roll from front to back position or back to front position. At this stage, you do not need to worry when your baby rolls to a back to front position while he is asleep. You may choose to put him back to the back position while he is asleep, or let him sleep the way he is. Ensure that while you are putting him to sleep, you do it in the back position only and not the tummy position.
[ Read: Safe Sleeping Positions For Babies ]
What Are The Risks?
According to a news report, parents of newborns and very young babies continue to ignore warnings about not placing their baby to sleep on their tummy. The American Academy of Pediatrics clearly warns parents to place their infants on the back during sleep, to avoid the risk of SIDS. Research and surveys state that almost 30 percent of all infants don’t sleep on their backs. When asked, it was revealed that most parents are worried that their babies may get choked if they are placed on the back while sleeping.
Health officials confirm that there is no risk of choking if you place your baby to sleep on the back. If he is otherwise healthy, he will naturally cough up or swallow any fluids in a reflex action to keep his airways clear. If you place him on his back to sleep, it will be easier for him to clear out any such fluids that may be blocking his airways, because of the location of your baby’s windpipe. While sleeping on the back, his windpipe will be on the top of the esophagus, leading up to his stomach. If he has a sudden fluid discharge, it will not reach the windpipe to cause choking. On the other hand, when you place him on the tummy to sleep, any such fluid will come out through the esophagus. It will collect at the opening of your baby’s windpipe and will cause a higher risk of choking. Unless your pediatrician mentions otherwise, placing your baby on the back while sleeping will not cause any choking. 
[ Read: How To Prevent Baby From Choking ]
When To Do Tummy Time With Your Baby:
While it is not safe for you to put your baby on the tummy to sleep, your baby still needs his tummy time. Here are a few ways you can ensure your baby gets the important yet safe tummy time:
- Place your baby on the tummy but only during your baby’s awake time. Make sure that you or any other responsible adult is present at all times with him.
- You can clear up a sturdy and clean surface and place a mat where he can lie down on the tummy.
- Do not stress your baby. Start by putting him on his tummy for only about three to five minutes each time. Increase it slowly as he gets more practice than before. 
[ Read: Baby Sleep Problems And Their Solutions ]
Sleep times are important for your baby when you should ensure he is lying down safely. Make sure you keep sleep time as back time and tummy time only when your baby is awake.
How do you put your baby to sleep? Did you let your baby sleep on tummy? Tell us about it here. Leave a comment.
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