The child sleeps on his stomach: is it possible for a newborn to sleep with his legs tucked under?

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Ekaterina Rakitina Doctor Dietrich Bonhoeffer Klinikum, Germany

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Article last updated: 05/01/2019

Many mothers notice that their baby sleeps on his stomach, butt up. Some people find this unusual position scary. Parents begin to wonder why their baby prefers to sleep this way, and is this position dangerous for his health?

A few words about other positions for resting a child

Each child intuitively chooses a comfortable sleeping position, but parents should always think about the baby’s safety and know what threat each position poses.
The supine position is considered relatively safe. The nasal passages are open, nothing compresses the chest, it is ideal for children with pelvic dysplasia. But there are also disadvantages: the bones of a baby’s skull are soft and can become deformed under constant pressure; there is also a high probability that the baby may choke when regurgitating. To avoid such troubles, you need to turn the baby's head slightly to one side.

The position on the side, when the baby tucks his knees to his stomach, is considered by many doctors to be the most comfortable, but experts have a different opinion. In this position, breathing through the nose is difficult, and there is a high probability of developing problems with the cervical spine and hip joints. But such consequences arise if a month-old baby constantly lies in one position, so the mother needs to turn the baby over periodically.

Sleeping position as a signal of the baby’s well-being

It’s one thing for a child to constantly sleep in one position, but it’s quite another if the position changes during the night. Depending on what new position the baby sleeps in, you can judge his well-being.

The child changed his favorite position to a butt-up position. This means baby Gaziki may have suffered a head injury. Often babies lie in this position with a stuffy nose.

If a baby suddenly begins to sleep on his back with his arms spread wide, although he has not slept like this before, this is a sign of problems with the respiratory system.

When changing your usual sleeping position to an uncomfortable or unusual position, you should observe the baby. If he begins to be capricious, eats poorly, sleeps restlessly, you need to see a doctor.

Can a baby sleep on his back?

Of course, no one can forbid parents to put their baby on his back while sleeping. But such a position should not become permanent; periodic changes of position would be optimal. For example, during the day you can place your baby alternately on different sides or tummy, and at night give him the opportunity to sleep on his back. If the baby constantly sleeps in the same position, on his back, the risk of developing torticollis increases, and the back of his head becomes deformed and becomes flat.

When laying the baby face up, the head must be turned in one direction and changed periodically, this will eliminate the danger of choking when regurgitating.

When lying on their back, babies move their arms and legs more actively and often wake themselves up with chaotic movements. This is especially true with increased muscle tone.

If a child has a runny nose or difficulty breathing, it is not recommended to sleep on his back, otherwise it will become even harder for your baby to breathe due to swelling of the nasopharynx.

If you have hip dysplasia, sleeping in this position is undesirable; preference should be given to the “lying on your stomach” position.

With increased gas formation, sleeping on the back prevents their passage, which is why the baby suffers and constantly wakes up. A heating pad or tummy massage in a clockwise circular motion will help you cope with this problem.

Of course, each baby has his own preferences, what one likes is completely unsuitable for another, but any position can be made comfortable by following a few simple rules.

  1. The baby should sleep on a flat, hard surface, without a pillow, this contributes to the formation of a straight spine and correct posture from an early age.
  2. When your baby is sleeping, remove all foreign objects from his crib.
  3. You should not swaddle your baby tightly, as this will impair blood circulation; it is better to leave his hands free. If you are afraid that your baby will open up and freeze, use a special sleep sack; the baby will be much more free in it and at the same time he will not wake himself up when he starts moving his arms.
  4. After eating, do not put the baby down immediately, but carry him in a column, allowing the air that he swallowed along with the food to escape.

A newborn baby will choose the most comfortable sleeping position for himself; parents should not interfere with this, but only help a little and surround him with warmth, love and care. Then your baby’s sleep, and therefore yours, will be calm and sound, and the child will wake up in the morning full of vigor, strength and ready for new exploits and achievements.

If a child sleeps with his butt up: danger or normal during sleep

Read further:

Baby sleeping on its side: harm or benefit

If the newborn sleeps on his stomach

Why does the baby sleep on all fours?

A healthy baby can choose different sleeping positions.
Some pediatricians, when asked by parents why the child sleeps with his butt up, answer that these are signs of muscle memory and a consequence of hypertonicity, when the baby was grouped in this way for a long time in the womb. Psychologists have their own opinion on this matter. Experts in this field say that sleep position can tell about a person’s state of mind.

The position of the child while resting, lying on his stomach, according to psychologists, speaks of subordination, uncertainty, and the baby’s dependence on his parents. Most children sleep in this position. Many babies then adopt the side-lying position. Psychologists note that this indicates an easy-going character and tranquility.

The position of the baby while sleeping on all fours with his butt up is interpreted as resistance, a desire to overcome obstacles. It is also a sign of stubbornness and independence of character, dissatisfaction with the world around us.

What are the dangers of sleeping on all fours?

The main danger of sleeping on all fours is that, according to statistics, the majority of children who died from sudden death syndrome slept with their butts up. At the same time, the babies were in fact recognized as absolutely healthy.

The reason was several factors:

  • the baby slept on his stomach;
  • the baby was tormented by a runny nose or simply nasal congestion that interferes with breathing;
  • low air humidity in the children's room;
  • baby under three months;
  • the mattress is not hard enough.

In order not to put your baby at risk, you should carefully monitor the microclimate in the room. The air should be sufficiently humid and the baby's mattress should be hard. If the baby has a stuffy nose and is used to sleeping on all fours, then the parents should be nearby. This will allow them to turn the baby's head if he is having trouble breathing. Usually, closer to one year, the baby is able to turn his head and control his body position. Therefore, there is a danger only up to three, less often up to 6 months.

Pediatricians also believe that constantly sleeping on all fours with a protruding butt can negatively affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system in the future. Also, you should not allow a baby to sleep on all fours if at least one of the parents smokes (even on the balcony).

Cons of sleeping on your stomach

The first and most dangerous disadvantage is sudden infant death syndrome. As doctors have established, in rare cases, a child may stop breathing due to sleeping face down on a pillow. Breathing at this age is still weak, the nasal passages are very limited, and the child still does not move his face very well. Crumbs or mucus in the nose can also make breathing difficult. Pediatricians recommend caution in this case.

Regurgitation is another problem. After feeding, the baby often spits up. Parents must promptly protect their child from swallowing vomit. However, the position on the stomach is less safe in this regard.

Chest compression. Another reason why sleeping on your stomach is dangerous is due to compression of the sternum. However, this opinion is unjustified. If the baby has regular breathing, then nothing threatens him. If you have your own fears, be sure to consult your doctor.

Doctor Komarovsky's opinion

The famous pediatrician Evgeny Komarovsky has developed several effective rules for healthy sleep in infants. At the same time, he claims that the position can be any in which the child and his parents are comfortable and calm. True, Komarovsky still warns against sleeping on his stomach at an early age, especially to those parents who smoke in the apartment, who choose too soft mattresses for their children and provide their child with a pillow from the first days.

To ensure that sleep brings pleasure to the child, and brings moral relief and well-deserved rest to his parents, Komarovsky advises focusing their efforts not on choosing a specific position for infant sleep, but on organizing the right conditions for comfortable and safe sleep.

The children's room should be ventilated regularly (several times a day). It is important to prevent the presence of large soft toys in the nursery, which are not cute bears and bunnies, but large dust collectors. Dust is the main enemy for the respiratory organs of infants. The air temperature in the children's bedroom should not exceed 21 degrees Celsius

Parents may think that this is too cold, but the peculiarities of thermoregulation of infants are such that this temperature is optimal for their health. Air humidity in the bedroom should be maintained at 50-70%, this is especially important in cases where the baby has a runny nose, cough, or the airways are narrower than necessary from birth (stridor). You should not buy a soft mattress for your baby. Only a hard orthopedic mattress will help ensure the safest body position in which the baby will not “sink.” This is beneficial for both the muscles and the spine of the infant.

  • A child under 2 years old does not need a pillow. It is quite enough to place a clean diaper folded in four under your head in case the baby burps in his sleep. The diaper will “take the hit” and you won’t have to change the entire bed.
  • You should exclude bright lights and loud sounds in the room where the child sleeps.

Whether to swaddle a child or not is the choice of parents in a particular situation. Regardless of how and what the child sleeps in, Komarovsky recommends changing his positions from time to time. In the first month, sleeping on your side is most optimal. By the end of the newborn period (by the end of the first month), you can give the baby a semi-lateral position, which is a transition between sleeping on the side and sleeping on the back. Then you can safely alternate the position on your back with side sleeping positions.

After 4 months, you can allow the baby to show will and independently choose the position of the body for sleep and rest, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome is reduced, and the child, who has already absorbed a lot and learned a lot, already has his own preferences.

For information on the position of a newborn during sleep, see the following video.

Massage and gymnastics

Mothers who bring their baby to a doctor’s appointment with complaints that the little lazy guy doesn’t want to roll over on his stomach at “his 5 months!” will most likely receive an appointment for a massage, because a neurologist will definitely diagnose such a baby with “hypertonicity.” " Increased muscle tone is common to all newborns, and few babies completely get rid of it by six months.

This fact allows both the neurologists themselves and the massage therapists, whom they strongly recommend, to make ends meet. Komarovsky claims that no one can give a massage to a healthy child diagnosed with hypertonicity (and this is a healthy child!) better than a mother. And this is true not only from the point of view of saving money, but also for reasons of children's perception of the world. The baby needs tactile contact with his mother, her touch, and not half an hour of heart-rending screaming in the hands of a stranger with a massage therapist diploma.

Massage to strengthen the muscles of the back and abdomen is very simple:

  • Circular and transverse techniques on the tummy.
    Place your baby on his back and use your thumb to draw circles around the navel, gradually increasing their radius. Using your two thumbs, make arcing movements from the navel to the ribs and from the navel to the groin.
  • Classic back techniques.
    Place your baby on his tummy on a hard surface. Use three techniques of classic massage - first stroking, then rubbing and pressure with vibration. Don't rub too hard or press too hard. The child should not be in pain. Ideally, mom should close her eyes and press her finger on her eyelid. As soon as it starts to hurt, that’s where the limit of the amount of pressure that a small child can withstand is reached.

The massage should be done with warm hands, using baby cream or massage oil. The total duration of the session is no more than 10-15 minutes. If the baby begins to worry and cry, you should stop manipulation.

How should a baby sleep? Is it dangerous for him to lie on his back or side? What happens if a baby burps while lying on his back? Will lying on the side lead to deformation of the baby's neck or skull bones? Is there a sleeping position in which the baby’s body develops faster? We will try to answer these and other questions that concern many young parents today.

Since young children sleep a lot in the initial period of their lives, it is not surprising that their fathers and mothers are concerned about:

  • Is their child sleeping in the correct position?
  • Should he be allowed to sleep only in the position that the baby has chosen himself, or should he be turned over to another position as soon as he falls asleep?

Yes, the position chosen by the baby largely determines whether his sleep will be sound and healthy. If you take care of this correctly, you will have much less hassle associated with restless sleep, and your baby will get a good night's sleep.

It is better to avoid sleeping on the tummy in newborns for safety reasons.

There is no generally accepted opinion among doctors on this matter. There are only recommendations from pediatricians, which are based on many years of monitoring the health of their young patients. At the same time, the Internet is replete with discussions of this issue on various women’s forums, where “digital mommies” share their experiences. And here the opinion of mothers can sometimes differ significantly from the generally accepted recommendations of doctors.

As you know, babies can fall asleep in the same three positions as adults:

  1. On the back.
  2. On the side.
  3. On the tummy.

It is the third option that causes the greatest concern among doctors. It is generally accepted that sleeping on the tummy is one of the factors that can lead to the so-called sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). As sad (even creepy) statistics say, thousands of newborn babies die every year all over the planet for reasons that are not entirely clear. Healthy children die, and they die in their sleep, because their breathing has stopped.

Unfortunately, doctors have not yet been able to give an exact answer as to why SIDS occurs. In their opinion, there is most likely not one reason - for example, the presence of some “bad” gene, but several. Moreover, it is necessary that all these reasons “successfully” coincide, all at once. And it was noticed that sleeping on the tummy was just one of these reasons.

But at the same time, millions of mothers can give you an example of their children, who slept on their tummy almost from the first day, and nothing happened to them - everyone is alive and well. In this case, it’s worth repeating again: SIDS is not 100% likely to occur in those babies who sleep on their tummy! But it is known that those newborns who did have this syndrome almost all slept on their stomachs. As they say, draw your own conclusions.

baby sleeps with legs up

I have almost a Friday question, maybe someone has had this or maybe someone knows

Why does a child sleep with his legs raised?

the baby is 2.5 months old, from a month ago we began to notice that in the stroller the child puts his legs on the strap of the bag (the bag hangs on the handle and it seems to be pulling the cradle), and for the last 2 weeks he began to simply sleep with his legs raised, when he falls asleep, he wiggles them, pulls and waves, and - SILENTLY!

And having fallen asleep, he folds his legs into a pretzel and sleeps.

Sometimes, falling asleep, he holds his legs almost in the birch tree and sniffles.

Has anyone had this happen and is it normal?

normal))) they then also sleep on all fours))

geey))) thanks, reassured me)))

It still sometimes affects me (this is my second year).

I see)) well, I was really scared, is everything ok)))

Staying awake and lying on your stomach

Placing your baby on his tummy is a great way to motivate him to move and start strengthening his muscles.

Important! Babies who are not tummy time may take much longer to develop physically. They later begin to roll over, crawl and walk

Staying awake while lying on your tummy has many benefits for your baby:

  1. Helps develop the muscles of the back and shoulders, moving your arms and legs differently than when lying on your back. This develops gross motor skills, the baby learns to roll over onto his tummy;
  2. When the baby grows a little, he will try to push himself, leaning on his hands. This movement precedes crawling;
  3. Tummy time will also strengthen your neck muscles and give your baby better head control. This means that your baby will be able to look up and to the sides. The ability to see surrounding objects will help develop coordination of movements and follow objects with your gaze;
  4. If a child spends a lot of time lying on his back, his head may become flat at the back of the head. The tummy position will help prevent this by relieving direct pressure on the back of the head and helping it take on a rounded shape;
  5. By allowing the baby to stay awake on her tummy, mom gives him the opportunity to see the world from a different vantage point. Always looking at the ceiling or seeing the same rattles above the bed is very boring.

Placing the baby on the stomach

Already in the first month of life, you can begin to lay the baby on its tummy. Not all children will immediately like being in this position. This is starting to worry many people. The best thing parents can do is to be persistent and motivate their child.

You can start by placing the baby on his tummy for one or two minutes, then turn him back onto his back. It is recommended to do this a couple of times a day. You need to choose a time when the baby is in a good mood. To begin, the mother can place the baby on her stomach.

The goal is to gradually increase the time until 1 hour is reached by three months of age. However, this hour should be distributed throughout the day into several short intervals.

Achieving progress in the development of a child up to 1 year occurs in stages.

We've all had this fear. Is my child developing on time and correctly? Well, having a tummy time (before your baby starts walking) can give you some peace of mind.

When you and your baby practice tummy time exercises, your baby will develop more strength in his arms and legs and improve his motor skills. He will move faster and faster towards his first big achievement - turning over.

This goal should be achieved by the child at 6 or 7 months, but it is possible much earlier. At this point, you can even let your baby sleep on his stomach (but we recommend checking with your doctor about this).

And the child will grow to this point even earlier than you expect! For example, your baby will begin to hold his head up at around two months of age. Now he will continue to strengthen his neck and shoulder muscles if you continue to practice tummy time exercises with him!

Acceptable sleeping positions

The natural position of a baby in sleep is the “frog” pose: lying on the back, with the arms slightly bent at the elbows, the legs at the knees and spread apart, and the head turned to the side. You can also lay the baby on its side or stomach. So how to lay down a newborn? Let's consider the benefits and harms of each pose.

On the back

The “on the back” position is the most acceptable and safe for a newborn (we recommend reading:). At the same time, the baby’s head is turned to the side, thanks to this the baby will not choke if he burps in his sleep. Many parents constantly place their baby only in this position. Be sure to alternate the sides in which the head is turned so that torticollis does not develop. If the baby turns to one side more often, you can place a folded diaper or napkin under the “unloved” cheek, then gradually reduce the layers until the head turns completely. If the baby prefers to sleep facing the light, then change the position of the pillow: at the head, then at the feet - so that the baby is turned towards the window every time, but sleeps on different sides. So, the direction of rotation should be changed every time the baby sleeps, day and night!

On your back is not the only and not always suitable position. For example, with increased muscle tone, a baby moves its arms in its sleep and wakes itself up. Sometimes swaddling helps, but many babies do not tolerate restrictions on their freedom and are capricious. Then you should change your sleeping position. Also, if the hip joint develops abnormally (dysplasia), sleeping on the stomach is suitable. If the baby is suffering from colic in the intestines, or the process of passing gas is difficult when lying on its back, then it is worth putting heat on the tummy (an ironed warm diaper or a special heating pad) to alleviate the condition or change the position to a more comfortable one.

On the stomach

  • learns to raise and hold his head;
  • develops back muscles;
  • sees the world from a different perspective;
  • develops the ability to navigate in space.

In addition, in this position, intestinal gases are best released, which alleviates the condition of colic (see also:). It is possible for a baby to sleep on his stomach, but under constant supervision. The fact is that the baby can bury his face in the pillow and suffocate. That is, there is a risk of SIDS - sudden infant death syndrome. The softer the surface under the baby, the higher the risk, so it is not recommended for babies under 1 year of age to sleep on pillows - place a folded diaper under their head.

If your baby sleeps on his stomach, there are several safety rules to follow:

  • lay only on a flat, smooth surface of sufficient rigidity;
  • Do not leave foreign objects (toys, pillows, clothes) near the baby;
  • to control breathing, the child must be in the field of view of the mother or another adult;

You also need to alternate sides on which you place your head in the “on your stomach” position. If you cannot monitor your child during sleep, it is better to choose a less dangerous position.

On the side

This position is quite safe for newborns, but the possibility of turning onto the stomach should be excluded. To do this, the child is placed with a cushion of blanket or towel under his back. Lying on his side, the baby presses his legs towards his stomach, which helps the gases to pass away. The baby's hands are in front of his face and he can scratch himself: to avoid this, you need to wear shirts with closed handles or special non-scratch mittens. This kind of sleep is indispensable for babies who often spit up.

It should be taken into account that in the “sideways” position there is an increased load on the pelvic bones. This position is contraindicated for infants in the first three months of life and for those with hip dysplasia.

It is impossible to say in what position it is correct to put the baby to sleep, because all children are different. Use 2 or 3 options, alternating them, then it will become clear how the baby sleeps sweeter.

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