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Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Message Board

back sleeping?

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Old 08-16-2007, 05:07 AM   #1
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back sleeping?

My DD is almost 4 weeks old and LOVES being on her tummy. She has since the day she was born. I put her on her belly sometimes during the day to sleep(I know I know I don't need to hear the lectures I keep an eye). She can pick her head up and hold it and turn it completely around and actually for the first time last night flipped from her stomach to her back. The question I have is why can't babies sleep on their stomachs? I know they say it prevents SIDS but truth be told I don't know if I buy it. I slept on my stomach my sister on her side and my brother on his back and all because at the time those positions "prevented SIDS". Is it just cause babies can't turn their heads or is there another reason. I am confused.

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Old 08-16-2007, 06:04 AM   #2
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sem627 HB User
Re: back sleeping?

Seven years ago when my first daughter was born the nurses at the hospital explained it to me. SIDS is down over 40% in the U.S. since babies have been turned to their backs. Studies showed the SIDS rates in other countries and they were much lower in those that had babies always sleeping on their backs.

My son too, perfered his belly and I put him that way for daytime naps as you do. But even though he could lift his head, he lifted it and put his face flat down on the blanket many times. I would wait there and see if he would turn it and sometimes he didn't. So I had to move it over for him.

The thing they believe with SIDS is that the baby rebreathes stale air...CO2 and then suffocates from lack of oxygen. Their noses get too close to the mattress and their little heads aren't strong enough. You say your baby rolled over at 4 weeks, but does she do it voluntarily or by accident. All three of mine didn't roll over until 3 or 4 months old and the first few times were more by accident than on purpose.

The thing that stinks about back sleeping is the babies always startle themselves and definitely don't sleep as long as babies on their bellies. But I wasn't comfortable at all to take the chance. With my son, during the day he took all his naps on his belly in the living room where I watched him. At night, I swaddled him and he slept on his back. I, personally, wouldn't have been able to sleep soundly with my 4 week old on his belly. I think it was more toward 4 or 5 months when I allowed mine to sleep on their belly without my supervision.

I guess I was paranoid after reading an article in one of those baby magazines. A pediatrician was quoted saying she strongly urges her parents to put their babies on their back and to those who don't "good luck". That was enough for me. I know I've seen another poster frequently mention that SIDS is very rare, but I say, why take that chance?

Last edited by sem627; 08-16-2007 at 08:05 PM.

Old 08-16-2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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Re: back sleeping?

Originally Posted by HappyMom2Be View Post
I slept on my stomach my sister on her side and my brother on his back and all because at the time those positions "prevented SIDS". Is it just cause babies can't turn their heads or is there another reason. I am confused.
One more thing to add...

When we were babies, it wasn't because of SIDS that we were put on our bellies. It was because of choking on spit-up. The side position came in because of SIDS and the combination of the spit-up being able to come out. But after that, they still found that the back was best and the spit-up didn't make a difference because babies push it out. I have three children and all were BIG TIME spitters and all did fine on their backs.

Last edited by sem627; 08-16-2007 at 08:07 PM.

Old 08-16-2007, 09:35 PM   #4
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Re: back sleeping?

I think the rolling over was by accident. She can roll onto her side from both her belly and her back. When she lays on her belly she does sometimes put her face flat down but ALWAYS pics it up and turns it to the side after a few seconds. She can hold her head very well even the doctor says she is very strong for her age. I will keep her on her back cause like you said I don't want to risk it but...I feel bad I would hate to be uncomfortable and not have a choice.

Old 08-17-2007, 04:31 PM   #5
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Re: back sleeping?

The latst I have heard is that they do think babies can suffocate on their stomachs and it is impossible to distinguish (most of the time) between a suffocation death and SIDS. They now believe that SIDS occurs when (for some unknown reason) babies brains literally forget to breath. They do think it is possible that because babies sleep more deeply on their stomachs that this can contribute (they get into such a deep sleep they forget to breath), but they can't say for sure. Pacifiers for example cut down on the SIDS risk, possibly again because babies aren't sleeping as deeply with them. The brain theory fits in with premature infants being higher risk - because their brains aren't as developed. SIDS doesn't leave a mark - so we may never know exactly what causes it.

I know what you mean though. I have seriously considered getting the apnea monitor (sounds an alarm if a baby stops breathing) and letting my babies sleep on their tummy because they like it so much. And once my older daughter learned to roll over - forget it. She never slept on her back again.

Old 08-18-2007, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: back sleeping?

SIDS is extremely rare no matter how your baby sleeps, and that statement comes directly from the AAP. The risk is not even close to 1% for a tummy sleeping newborn, and though the risk is a bit smaller, it still exists for babies who sleep on their backs. If you walk into any newborn intensive care unit you will find most of the stable babies sleeping on their tummies. True they are monitored, but if the risk were that great they wouldn't take that chance. Still, you have to do what makes you comfortable. Our first two were born in the tummy sleeping era (before 93) and I can tell you based on firsthand experience that SIDS was rare then too. We also never heard the term sleep training because babies just simply, slept and we never heard of infant reflux. I am thinking that reflux may have a connection with the back to sleep movement. Also, I have heard that one of the reasons that SIDS rates have dropped since back to sleep is because since the BTS movement doctors have been required to order autopsies for any infant death. This was not the case several years ago. Babies who died in their sleep were always listed as SIDS cases and now after autopsies they are still finding some SIDS cases, but also suffocation, heart and respiratory issues, even in some cases, child abuse or neglect. Thus, there are a less cases of SIDS. In the end, you just have to do what works best for you and your baby and what you are comfortable doing. If you will lose more sleep worrying about your baby sleeping on his or her tummy, than obviously it won't serve its purpose anyway. Carseat sleeping and swing sleeping also work well for babies who don't sleep well on their backs and have not yet learned to roll over on their own.


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