Posted by: Mum | 2008/01/03


Baby sleeping on tummy

Hello Doctor
I have an eight week old baby and I put him down to sleep on his tummy. I started putting him on his tummy because the nursing sister advised at the clinic that it would be good for winds and stop cramping.
Since he has been sleeping on his tummy, he sleeps really well and has been sleeping through from about six weeks. He can lift his head and moves his head from side to side throughout the night.
Recently, I mentioned to a friend that my baby sleeps on his tummy and she was shocked and told me it is very wrong and that he could suffocate. I was very worried and since then I have tried putting him to sleep on his back but he is then very restless and wakes often as his arms and legs still have the baby jerking reflex and he wakes himself up. I find when he is on his tummy he does not seem to give himself frights.
I do not keep any pillows, soft toys or fluffy blankets in his crib and I only cover him in a light blanket as it is very hot and humid.
I would like to find out if sleeping on the tummy is really dangerous and if so, how can I train him to now sleep on his back. I can't wrap him tight to keep him from jerking as we are in Durban and it is very hot and he suffers from heat rash.
Thank you.

Expert's Reply



There is a strong movement world wide to encourage mothers to get their babies to sleep on their backs. It is known as 'back to sleep' This is to reduce the risk of sudden infants deaths. Your baby is now used to sleeping on his tummy and is happy. In addition he is lifting his head so he will not suffocate. It will be very difficult to get him to sleep on his back again.Do not be concerned as he seems to be doing very well now.

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