When It's OK For Baby To Sleep On Their Belly

I remember the first time I found my daughter sleeping on her belly. She was old enough to roll over on her own, but I still rushed to her bed and checked to make sure she was still breathing. I continued to put her to bed on her back, but no matter what I did, she ended up on her belly. Rolling her over was a risky move, so my only two options were to wake her up or constantly monitor her throughout the night. I started wondering, "is it OK if my baby sleeps on their belly" and, after much research, I realized it was a question most parents asked at one point or another. even with knowledge about official recommendations that caution about the potential risks. Some babies just like sleeping on their belly.

Of course, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that parents place their babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) until they reach their first birthday. Baby Center noted that the risk for SIDS is highest from birth to four months, but remains a concern until a child's first birthday when the risk becomes significantly less.

Luckily, if your child is like mine and insists on sleeping on their stomach once they're able to roll on their own, the AAP said there's no need to roll them back over. At this point, their instincts will be mature enough that they'll move into whatever position is safest and most comfortable for them.

It is important, however, that their sleep environment is as safe as possible, even once they're able to roll over. You should use a firm mattress, no extra blankets, pillows, or padding, and be sure your baby's room is kept at a comfortable temperature.

To sum it all up, before your baby can control their ability to roll, be sure to place them on their back to sleep. Once they can roll, it's fine to let them sleep however they prefer — sage advice that would have saved me many a night of anxiously rolling my daughter back into place.