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Did you let your baby sleep on his or her tummy?

dreamer_dachsie

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Dec 16, 2007
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At this moment my fussy, gassy, spit-uppy five week old baby is blissfully napping on his belly. I caved and thought I would try it. And I just heard him rouse, burp (!! he never burps!) and go back to sleep! This is a big change from the moaning, leg lifting, spitup ridden naps he takes on his back.

Did anyone make the informed choice to put their little baby to sleep on his or her tummy? I mean before he/she rolled that way on his/her own. If so, why did you make the decision?
 

taovandel

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once she rolled we couldn't stop her (or my son)...we let her sleep however she wanted to.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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taovandel|1312244444|2981910 said:
once she rolled we couldn't stop her (or my son)...we let her sleep however she wanted to.
We were the same with Hunter. I clarified my original post -- I am wondering if any parents put their smaller babies on their tummies, perhaps because of stomach issues. I know there are a few because I recall some posts about it...
 

janinegirly

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I did - we had flat head concerns and to me those night time hours were pretty important to keep her off the favored side (of course the dr. said keep her on her back and just focus on hours she was awake). I co-slept and watched her (slept with one eye open, lol - I'm a light sleeper) so I felt it was safe and worked out for us (everything was good by the next monthly appointment). Frankly she slept a lot better on her belly, just like many of us did as children, so if you are able to observe or feel confident about this set up, I think it can be safe in my opinion.
 

NovemberBride

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I did not. My DD was not a great sleeper and I considered it, but for me the empirical evidence re: the decrease in SIDS deaths once the recommendation for back sleeping was implemented (over 50% decrease) was too overwhelming to ignore. I had seen the studies and knew the recommendation and I knew if the worst had happened I would never have been able to forgive myself. SIDS is still such a mystery and back sleeping is one of the few things that has clearly been shown to decrease the risk so to me it is a no-brainer until they can roll themselves.
 

fieryred33143

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We didn't and while I don't recommend it, would you consider getting an angel care monitor? That may give you peace of mind.

Not judging as Sophia slept mostly on her side in the first few weeks. We used hospital blankets and a positioned to prop her pm her side (this was when she wasn't swaddled).
 

DivaDiamond007

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My son started sleeping on his tummy around 9ish weeks. Prior to that he'd only sleep in the carseat. A tearful phone call to the pedi later it was recommened that he be put on his tummy for sleep due to his over-reactive startle reflex. Grace, on the other hand, prefers to sleep on her back so we're leaving good enough alone ;-)
 

dreamer_dachsie

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fiery|1312248816|2981977 said:
We didn't and while I don't recommend it, would you consider getting an angel care monitor? That may give you peace of mind.

Not judging as Sophia slept mostly on her side in the first few weeks. We used hospital blankets and a positioned to prop her pm her side (this was when she wasn't swaddled).
I have not heard of that monitor. I am not sure what I plan to do about his sleep, just getting opinions. If he did sleep on his tummy it would be in his co-sleeper beside me.

Right now we are bedsharing and it seems riskier when I think of him sleeping on his side, with blankets in the vicinity, with my large breast near his face. He won't sleep if I move him away from me. I am a little at a loss. The options seems a) no sleep for me at all and hold him all night or b) break some of the recommendations.
 

qtiekiki

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I did let DD nap on her tummy. She just took better naps that way. I was ok with it since I stayed in the room.
 

Laila619

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Nope.

My son had bad reflux and he *hated* sleeping flat on his back. So I bought a Fisher Price Newborn Rock and Play Sleeper, which is elevated so the baby sleeps sort of propped up. He slept great in that. Have you tried elevating Ryder's bassinet? Maybe he would tolerate sleeping alone if it were elevated, so you can get some good rest.
 

hawaiianorangetree

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I personally didn't but i had a friend and her two boys did.

The first was only a few weeks old and he was waking up every 20 minutes because his startle reflex was constantly scaring him. He was born in summer so swaddling wasn't really an option (no breathable fancy wraps back then!) Anyway, her mum had put him down for a sleep while my friend napped and a few hours later she work up to find the baby was still asleep. She went to check on him and found that her mum had put him tummy down. She had a pink fit at her mother because it was drilled in to her at the hospital to *never* put a baby on their tummy only on their backs to sleep because of the sids risk. Her mums response was that when her kids were babies they all slept on their tummys because they were told that putting them on their backs was a risk.

I know she kept trying to have him sleep on his back but she ended up folding and putting him on his tummy and he slept well ever since. When her second son was born she just went straight to the tummy sleeping.

I think if you are going to do it, take all the precautions that you can and get one of those dectection / monitor things that you put on the matress, even if it's just for your piece of mind.

I think it is really hard when the 'authorities' are telling you one thing but then the baby is telling you something that is the complete opposite of what you are 'supposed' to do. I hope you are both able to get some sleep soon. :))
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Laila619|1312259247|2982089 said:
Nope.

My son had bad reflux and he *hated* sleeping flat on his back. So I bought a Fisher Price Newborn Rock and Play Sleeper, which is elevated so the baby sleeps sort of propped up. He slept great in that. Have you tried elevating Ryder's bassinet? Maybe he would tolerate sleeping alone if it were elevated, so you can get some good rest.
I have elevated the bassinet, he does not care ;))

I looked up that sleeper. Glad it worked for you. Seems like some parents had issues with it just like some have issues using a car seat. A part of me wonders if those sorts of contraptions are really any safer than sleeping on a nice firm surface on their tummy? I could see Ryder squirming in that and turning himself to the side or something...
 

dreamer_dachsie

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hawaiianorangetree|1312261891|2982106 said:
I think it is really hard when the 'authorities' are telling you one thing but then the baby is telling you something that is the complete opposite of what you are 'supposed' to do. I hope you are both able to get some sleep soon. :))
I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

We sleep great when we bedshare. It is not recommended by the SIDS police :cheeky: but many people think otherwise and say it is fine when done with certain precautions. But having done it, I simply cannot see how it is any more risky than my son sleeping on his tummy on a firm cosleeper mattress right next to me. He could suffocate much easier in bed with me I think. He can lift his head and turn if rom side to side already. These are just some of the things that go through my mind as I think about these issues. My instinct is telling me that he is better off sleeping on his tummy in the cosleeper than he is in bed with me. But I have no idea what is the "right" thing to do.

You know what I find really intreresting? Almost every mother I know breaks some of the safe sleep guidlines in some way. But all are afraid to say it because of the rigid sleep guidlines and mommy guilt. Funny.
 

noelwr

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Mar 21, 2008
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you can get special sheets for the cosleeper mattress that allow baby to breathe, even if his face is pushed into the mattress.

when my little girl started rolling, I bought these special sheets. it just made me feel better. until then, I was allowing her to only sleep on her tummy during nap time, under my supervision. I was not happy with the grandmothers when they put her to sleep on her tummy in the crib. I would agree that he is better off sleeping in the cosleeper for the same reason you said: less chance of suffocation. also your mattress is not meant for babies.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Yes, Aidan has been a tummy sleeper since he was about 6 weeks old.

We discovered it out of sheer desperation when we were camping in the living room in those early weeks. Our couch has a large chaise on one end. I would lay on the couch and then put A about 18" away on the chaise with the couch cushions on the floor around him on the off chance he rolled (though that was silly, he didn't roll until he was almost 4 months old!). He was close enough to me so I could monitor him but far enough away that there wasn't a risk of me rolling onto him. He's always had great head control and was turning his head from side to side while on his stomach at a very early age. At 6 weeks and in the place/position we had him in there was little to no risk of suffocation.

We continued to let him tummy sleep after we moved him to his crib. We used the Angelcare monitor and it was a great way to ease my mind. Once he learned how to roll, his sleep went to hell because he would roll onto his back and not be able to get back onto his belly. So from months 4-7, when he really learned how HE wanted to sleep and could get himself into that position, he would roll onto his back and wake up a bazillion times a night. We also elevated his mattress until he was about 7 months old and he kept rolling to the bottom of the incline at night.

I'm not going to debate the statistics surrounding "sids," but I personally believe that more often than not a death classified as sids has been mislabeled. Babies die in their sleep because of illness, underlying medical conditions, suffocation and on very very rare occasions undetermined reasons. I believe in being and educated parent but also being an intuitive parent and while I take what I read and hear from doctors and other parents into consideration, ultimately it's a combination of education and intuition that drives my decision making. If you feel in your gut that something isn't safe or you think there's a better alternative then by all means don't do something. But at the same time, if your child is telling you something and you know intuitively that it's true and can accommodate it in a safe manner, then you should at least try it. Sleep is as important to an infant's development as food and a mother's love.

Don't be quick to judge or dismiss a technique that works and can be done safely just because there's a slight risk of something tragic happening. Remember, every time you put your child in your car there's a risk of tragedy. Yet we still do it every day.
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 13, 2008
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Dreamer, not a mom yet, but I remember my little cousin would sleep on his tummy for naps. This sounds kinda dumb but we had a little trampoline, it had a breathable mesh as the "bouncy" part, he'd sleep on that so there's no risk of SIDS since air was passable through the sleeping surface. Really not sure why I bring this up, but maybe you can see if there's any other similar surface?

~LC
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 23, 2008
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Micah slept on his tummy whenever he felt like it - he rolled very early, like a month old. He rolled the very first time in the hospital, in the bassinet, swaddled. He also had full head control at birth (the nurses thought I was dumb for saying that, until they saw him do it). I never worried about him, but he never showed a preference to either tummy or back and he didn't have reflux.

I think moms have to do what works for THEIR baby, not for the masses. Every baby is different. If tummy sleeping helps him feel better, I see no reason to force him onto his back.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 21, 2006
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Dreamer_D|1312264566|2982128 said:
hawaiianorangetree|1312261891|2982106 said:
I think it is really hard when the 'authorities' are telling you one thing but then the baby is telling you something that is the complete opposite of what you are 'supposed' to do. I hope you are both able to get some sleep soon. :))
I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

We sleep great when we bedshare. It is not recommended by the SIDS police :cheeky: but many people think otherwise and say it is fine when done with certain precautions. But having done it, I simply cannot see how it is any more risky than my son sleeping on his tummy on a firm cosleeper mattress right next to me. He could suffocate much easier in bed with me I think. He can lift his head and turn if rom side to side already. These are just some of the things that go through my mind as I think about these issues. My instinct is telling me that he is better off sleeping on his tummy in the cosleeper than he is in bed with me. But I have no idea what is the "right" thing to do.

You know what I find really intreresting? Almost every mother I know breaks some of the safe sleep guidlines in some way. But all are afraid to say it because of the rigid sleep guidlines and mommy guilt. Funny.
Agree with this. I broke some rules based on what worked best for us, instinct and knowing the baby's and my own pattern at the time etc.
 

MustangGal

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Jun 18, 2004
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I let Kyle nap on his tummy from a few weeks old. He would pass out on the tummy mat in the living room next to me, so I just left him like that. As long as your confortable with it, then I wouldn't let the SIDS police bother you.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Thanks for all your thoughts! I really appreciation being able to use you all as a sounding board of sorts.

My preference is to have him sleep in his cosleeper swaddled on his back, like Hunter did. But he seems to feel differently. I don't know what reflux is, or colic, or whether Ryder has either one, but I do know that evenings he is wakeful and a little fussy and wants to nurse a lot, and will not settle to sleep on his own, and between about 2-5am he is uncomfortable with gas pains (I think) and has a lot of trouble settling down. The ideal sleep situation is just not possible at that time.

In the day we can manage to both sooth him and follow the most risk-minimizing suggestions. We can simply hold him or let him sleep in our arms, and we can monitor him if he does sleep on his tummy.

But at night the options become less cut and dry. I can sit with him in my nursing chair holding him or nursing him. But I fall asleep doing that and he also falls asleep and often slips down in my arms and buries himself in the boppy or my armpit/breast. That seems risky. I can let him sleep on my chest sitting up in my chair, but that brings the same possible outcomes as the first option. Risky. I can stay awake the whole time soothing him. That brings other risks like PPD, accidents from inattention, etc. I can cosleep with him in our bed. Risky. Or I can let him sleep on his tummy in the cosleeper beside me. Risky. I know it is my decision, but weighing those options and trying to decide which is best, well that just sucks.
 

Jennifer W

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I have a friend who lost her son Nathan to SIDS, so to say I was obsessive about it would be a major understatement. I did not do anything that was even suspected in passing to raise the risk by so much as a fraction. That and car seat safety made me just a little crazy in the first year or so...

I used one of these, so it didn't matter if she rolled onto her tummy (although I still freaked out a little when she did, because I was ridiculous about sleep safety).

http://www.respisense.co.uk/ It did actually pick up a couple of episodes where she stopped breathing. I have no idea if she would have been ok or not without it.
 

Pandora II

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The thing with SIDS is that it is not that the baby suffocates due to the surface they are on etc, it's because for some reason they just stop breathing. Deaths due to suffocation shouldn't be classed as SIDS.

Dreamer, D would never sleep on her back when she was tiny. The first few weeks she did sometimes sleep if I put her on her side with a rolled blanket behind her to stop her rolling back onto her back - oh and the head of the cosleeper elevated.

It's a really tricky one. The midwives in ICU here did put D on her tummy when she absolutely wouldn't stop screaming - she was going through withdrawal at the time - and she did fall asleep for over an hour.
 

MonkeyPie

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My best friend is a NICU nurse. She said all the babies there sleep on their bellies because they digest better, rest better, and breath better. All babies do. However, they are on monitors. They still recommend that they don't sleep on their tummy at home until a certain age. If it weirds you out, buy an Angelcare monitor.
 

Skippy123

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MonkeyPie|1312312790|2982476 said:
My best friend is a NICU nurse. She said all the babies there sleep on their bellies because they digest better, rest better, and breath better. All babies do. However, they are on monitors. They still recommend that they don't sleep on their tummy at home until a certain age. If it weirds you out, buy an Angelcare monitor.
I think they don't recommend it because preemies are most at risk for SIDS. We had to watch a dvd on SIDS risk.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Yes, suffocation is different than SIDS. If that is the case, then WHY is sleeping on the tummy a SIDs risk? They don't know. All they know is that something like 30-50% of babies diagnosed with SIDs were sleeping on their tummies. Did they suffocate?? It is all very confusing. I admit, I am not a fan of health (or other) recommendations based on observational statistics like the SIDS recommendations are. It leaves open too many questions.

I might consider one of those monitors.
 

MonkeyPie

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Skippy123|1312315926|2982519 said:
MonkeyPie|1312312790|2982476 said:
My best friend is a NICU nurse. She said all the babies there sleep on their bellies because they digest better, rest better, and breath better. All babies do. However, they are on monitors. They still recommend that they don't sleep on their tummy at home until a certain age. If it weirds you out, buy an Angelcare monitor.
I think they don't recommend it because preemies are most at risk for SIDS. We had to watch a dvd on SIDS risk.
Yeah, preemies are a whole other ballpark. They are significantly more fragile.

Dreamer, SIDS is still such a mystery, even after all this time and all our advances in technology. Personally? I think it has to do less with suffocating in the sheets, and more to do with suffocating from PRESSURE. Have you ever tried to lay like a baby does on their tummy, knees all tucked up and all your weight on your face? I honestly have no idea how they can sleep like that - it feels horrible lol.
 

fieryred33143

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Dreamer I think it's important to remember that you are still in survival mode. I know it's hard with a toddler (well I don't know know) and we all know how important routines and what nots are, but some kids take longer to figure things out. While you are trying different things to get him to sleep on his own, it's ok to do what works for the time being even if that means cosleeping.

As for SIDS, I have issues with the research because as you mentioned it's all observational. It's unexplained for a reason and while in sure that there are factors to decrease the risk, if a child is going to pass from SIDS, it's going to happen.

My only issue with a young child on the belly is asphyxiation moreso than SIDS. While they may have good Head control, they still don't really have the thought process to realize that their airways are bloked (ie, my head I shoved in the mattress) and they need to do something to get out of the situation. I think the angelcare (or something similar) can help though.
 

mayachel

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Yup-off the record of course, I would let my baby-to-be sleep on her stomach if she wasn't otherwise. With the caveat of me being awake and nearby, on a firm surface, no stuffed animals around etc...but I completely appreciate the sentiment of others choosing never to do it. Just as a reminder, sleep positioners are out of style now too for risk of increased SIDS/entrapment.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Fiery apparently little babies DO have a mechanism to rouse and move when their blood oxygen levels get too low. Some thinking is that babies who die od SIDS do not have this rousing mechanism. The recommendation not to belly sleep was reached based on observations that many babies who dies of SIDS were on their bellies, and national and international campaigns were started to teach parents not to let their babies sleep on their bellies. Then follow up population statistics that demonstrated a noticable decline in SIDS deaths from pre-to-post educational campaigns. The attached discusses some of those stats: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat...onally, being a statistician of sorts myself.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Dreamer that's interesting. Also worth noting with the Back to Sleep campaign also came the suggestion of removing all bedding, etc from cribs and sleep surfaces. Which, combined with the back sleeping could explain some of the decline in suffocation deaths.
 
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