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Can Newborns Sleep on Their Stomach? Safe Sleep Tips

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Marina Carson
Marina Carson
Marina Carson is a dynamic mom and kids blogger who brings a fresh and authentic voice to the world of parenting. Through her blog, Marina shares a wide array of insightful articles that cover everything from creative parenting tips to navigating the challenges of motherhood. Her engaging style and practical advice have made her a beloved figure among parents seeking guidance and inspiration. Marina's passion for enhancing family life shines through every post, making her blog a must-visit for anyone looking to enrich their parenting journey. Whether it's through DIY activities, health and wellness tips, or personal stories, Marina connects with her audience on a deep level, empowering them to create fulfilling and joyful family experiences.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on infant sleep safety, particularly addressing the concern: “Can newborns sleep on their stomachs?” First, as new parents, their safety is paramount during sleep, and how they sleep may go a long way. 

This paper explores why your baby’s sleeping position is paramount by discussing expert recommendations and scientific ramifications. We shall also examine the risks associated with different sleeping positions and determine whether newborns can safely sleep on their stomachs. 

By the end of this blog, you will be equipped with knowledge and understanding of what assurances you can provide to make your little one’s sleeping environment safer. It should be ranked with the latest pediatric safety standard guidelines. Please follow the topic discussion in this critical issue for your baby to ensure sound and safe sleep.

Can Newborns Sleep On Their Stomach?

Newborns should not be allowed to sleep on their stomachs. The medical community recently recommended that babies lie on their backs while sleeping. Here’s why :

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Sleeping on the stomach increases the risk of SIDS, defined as the sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant under one-year-old. Research has shown that this risk is reduced when infants sleep on their backs. Since the “Back to Sleep” campaign in the 1990s, SIDS deaths have gone down by up to 83%.
  • Overheating: If infants sleep on their stomachs, warm breath could collect around the face and head, leading to an elevated body temperature or hyperthermia. Studies link overheating to a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Suffocation: While sleeping on their stomachs, babies may re-breathe their expired breath, which contains too much carbon dioxide and too little oxygen. Inadequate oxygen—the state of low oxygen supply in the body—is hypoxia. At the same time, too much carbon dioxide, which builds up if one is not breathing enough oxygen, is called hypercapnia. Suffocation from this lack of oxygen and excess carbon dioxide is life-threatening and a significant risk factor for SIDS.

On the other hand, after babies can roll over independently, usually by six months, it becomes safer to use tummy sleeping since they will roll both ways easily. Always consult with your pediatrician for advice.

When Can Babies Start Sleeping on Their Stomach?

The question of when babies can safely sleep on their stomachs is intricately linked to their physical development and attaining motor milestones. Generally, babies learn to roll over as early as 4 months, between 4 and 6 months. 

This is important for development because rolling shows that the neck, arm, and upper body muscles are getting more robust. However, just because a baby can roll does not mean they should immediately start sleeping on their stomach.

Pediatric guidelines still advise parents to continue putting their infants to sleep on their backs until they are at least 12 months old. Many studies support this recommendation, as it decreases the risk of SIDS. 

Parents should note, however, that the ability to roll overdevelops doesn’t eliminate the risk of stomach sleeping among younger babies who may not have developed enough motor skills to change positions if breathing gets compromised.

If the baby has started rolling over regularly in sleep, parents will not need to turn his or her back every time onto the back. This autonomy allows the baby to take a sleeping position in which it feels most comfortable. 

However, the prone initial position must be retained while sleeping. This should be continued until the baby is at least a year old, at which point the risk of SIDS decreases significantly, and the child has complete control over his or her movements during sleep.

What to Do if Baby Rolls Onto Stomach While Sleeping?

One of the most frightening moments for a parent is when you find your little one rolling onto their stomach while sleeping. That dreaded feeling worsens if you’re aware of the dangers tummy sleeping presents to an infant. This is how to keep your baby safe all through their sleep:

1. Check If They Can Roll: First, check if your baby can roll from back to stomach and from stomach to back. If your baby hasn’t yet learned to roll in both directions, it may not have an opportunity to turn safely into a better position if it is facing difficulty breathing.

2. Gently Reposition if Necessary: If your baby rolls onto his stomach and cannot roll back to the same position, you should gently turn the baby on his back again. Keep doing this time after time, if needed. Babies who have not developed full rolling capabilities should not be left on their stomachs because this increases the risk of SIDS.

3. Ensure Proper Sleeping Conditions: While business owners sometimes fail to mention this, there is evidence to show that the exclusion of soft bedding and other soft materials like pillows, bumpers, and toys from the crib makes all the difference. Use a firm mattress with a fitted sheet that doesn’t bunch and turns into a potential threat factor. These precautions reduce the risk of suffocation and provide a safer sleep environment.

4. Observe and Readjust: For at least some nights after they first roll, observe your baby’s sleep closely. A baby monitor can help you do this less invasively. This will give you an idea of their movement patterns and abilities.

5. Consult Your Pediatrician: If you have concerns regarding the safety of your baby’s sleep or their ability to sleep comfortably on their backs, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.

6: Educate All Caregivers: Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows that your baby needs to sleep on his or her back and what action to take if the baby rolls over. All caregivers should be on the same page regarding your baby’s safety.

This is part of your baby’s natural development but can present some sleep safety issues. By watching your baby, you will ensure the sleep environment is safe and repositioning as necessary. Front sleeping is safest until your baby is 12 months old.

Is It Safe to Put My Baby to Sleep on Her Tummy?

The safety of placing a baby to sleep on her stomach has garnered much debate and study among pediatricians and experts in child safety. Medical authorities are clear and consistent about their advice: Babies should always be put down to sleep on their backs, and this practice is recommended to reduce the risk of SIDS significantly.

Knowing the Risks of Sleeping on Your Stomach:

Stomach sleeping may bring several risks to infants, especially those under 12 months. The most prominent problem is that infants who sleep on their stomachs may have breathing troubles or rebreathe their breathed-out carbon dioxide since the face is pressed by the mattress or the bedding. Most of these positions can lead to an increased risk of overheating, which is usually associated with SIDS.

Back to Sleep Campaign:

The “Back to Sleep” campaign, currently known as the “Safe to Sleep” campaign, was initiated in the 1990s after studies revealed that the SIDS rate had drastically decreased when babies were positioned on their backs to sleep. This campaign remains, to this very day, the basis for the current recommendations against stomach sleeping for infants.

Exceptions and Monitoring Development:

Although back sleeping is safest, some parents may find that their baby seems uncomfortable or doesn’t sleep well on her back. In such cases, it is vital to consult with a pediatrician. Other positions should only be tried with a pediatrician’s advice and are only necessary for some babies, especially those with particular health conditions.

As babies develop motor skills, they start rolling over in their sleep. Once they can roll independently, it’s safe to let them choose their position. However, always place them on their back initially.

What to Do if Your Baby Dislikes Sleeping on Their Back?

Some babies fuss a little or seem uncomfortably restless on their backs. While sleeping on his back is the safest way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, there are many things parents can do to help the baby feel more comfortable and sleep better on his back.

1. Swaddling

Swaddling may give newborn babies a womb-like feeling of security. It may also be very comforting for your baby and help keep him asleep because it reduces the “startle reflex” that often wakes them up. The swaddle should be tight but allow movement at the legs’ level. Remember that the head and face must be exposed for easy breathing.

2. Adjust the Environment

The sleeping environment offers much potential for influencing the baby’s sleep. Ensure that the room is at an appropriate temperature—not too hot or cold. Consider using a white noise machine to mimic the constant, soothing sounds they heard in the uterus.

3. Create a Bedtime Routine

Creating a predictable bedtime routine helps your baby learn to self-soothe and let them know it’s time for sleeping. This can include warm bath time, massage, or a quiet story. The key is consistency.

4. Use of a Pacifier

Offering a pacifier at nap and bedtime may calm down a fussy baby. Studies have shown that pacifiers have a protective effect against SIDS and can help babies settle better.

5. Patience only

Some babies take longer to get accustomed to sleeping on their backs. It can take some time for the baby to adjust to sleeping on her back when the changes are done gradually and consistently.

If these techniques don’t work or you are fretting over your baby’s sleep, it’s always best to consult a pediatrician.


Understanding whether newborns can sleep on their stomachs is vital for any parent prioritizing infant safety. The recently published article examined why back-sleeping is recommended and why health professionals disallow infants to sleep on their tummy. Thus, putting these recommendations into practice will ensure your baby’s safety and reduce the danger of SIDS. As your child grows and hits developmental milestones, like rolling over, their sleep habits should be monitored and adjusted for safety. Remember that each baby might be different, and with any concerns about your baby’s sleep practice, consultation with a pediatrician would be recommended. Thank you for entrusting us to help you understand how you can monitor your newborn for safe sleep practices.


Is It Safe for Newborns to Sleep on Their Stomach on Your Chest?

It might be cuddly to have a newborn sleep on your chest, but it is not safe to let them be on their tummies, unsupervised, even on your chest. Always put your baby on his or her back in the crib or bassinet for safe sleep.

Is It Safe if a Baby Rolls Onto Their Stomach While Sleeping?

If your baby can roll onto his stomach and back by himself, it’s usually okay to let him sleep in the position he prefers. However, always start by placing your baby on his back when he falls asleep.

What if My Newborn Rolls Over While Sleeping?

If your baby does roll onto her stomach while sleeping, gently roll her back onto her back. Keep loose bedding and soft objects out of the sleeping area to create a safe sleep environment.


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