Can a 6 month old baby sleep on his stomach?

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Published: 01/13/2021



Some parents note that their baby sleeps on his stomach most of the night and worry that this position may have negative health effects. Such fears are justified, since in this position many natural processes are hampered, which can cause various disorders and poor health. Doctors note that compression of the chest and abdominal wall during sleep can cause respiratory arrest and digestive disorders in a weakened person.

  • 1 The importance of posture in children during sleep
  • 2 Choosing the right position for children
  • 3 Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping on your stomach
  • 4 When sleeping on your stomach is dangerous
  • 5 Sudden death syndrome in a child
  • 6 Recommendations from pediatrician Komarovsky
  • 7 Top 5 tips for parents

The importance of posture in children during sleep

If you put a child to sleep and he turns on his stomach, having slept all night, then in the morning instead of being cheerful and in a good mood, he may feel tired and weak. In some cases, painful sensations may appear in different parts of the body, which aggravates poor health.

Doctors recommend falling asleep in a comfortable position, however, it is important that the spinal column forms a straight line. The best position in this case is on your side. At the same time, it is important to choose the right pillow so that kinks do not form in the cervical region, complicating the blood supply to the brain.

If the body position is not physiological, then the following processes become difficult:

  • blood supply;
  • intestinal motility;
  • functioning of internal organs;
  • Sometimes breathing may be depressed.

In this case, instead of proper rest, the body is forced to work harder to compensate for the load created by the incorrect position.

Important tips for parents

All experts in the field of pediatrics and psychology advise fathers and mothers to start teaching their children to fall asleep in the correct position from infancy. To prevent the child from crying during motion sickness, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the regime of wakefulness and sleep, according to the age of the toddler. If you violate the daily routine, then both the baby and all family members will suffer, they will not be able to sleep a wink for a long time, or have proper rest; in the first or second year of life, the baby will often begin to be hysterical and capricious. By applying the following simple tips, you can significantly improve the quality of your night's rest and speed up the process of falling asleep:

  • The size of the crib should correspond to the age of the baby, so that while in it, he does not need to bend his back, neck or limbs. It is safe for small infants when the bed has sides so that children do not fall and cannot crawl away on all fours;
  • The pillow must be chosen not too soft and not too large. This accessory should not raise the head, but should support the neck so that it is in a level position. The best option is an orthopedic pillow;
  • You can’t leave your baby to sleep with her butt upside down even for one hour; you shouldn’t be afraid of waking up the baby and turning her over. It is also the duty of parents to ensure that the baby sleeps on its side or back, and does not tuck its arms, legs or even palms under itself, otherwise they may swell and go numb;
  • The child’s head should not be allowed to bend too close to the chest; in this position, cerebral circulation begins to be disrupted, which will have a bad effect on health. It is important to choose the right pillow and make sure that the little one does not get used to burying his face in it.

In the evenings, parents should create a peaceful, calming atmosphere in the house. You can read a fairy tale to the baby, play or sing a lullaby, play calm, inactive games, or go swimming. Thanks to such habitual activities, the little one will tune in to sleep and will rest peacefully.

Choosing the right position for children

The task of parents is to teach their children, taking into account their age, how to rest and what not to do under any circumstances. First of all, you should provide comfortable conditions for sleeping in the nursery, namely:

  • The mattress should be of medium hardness. It is best to go with the orthopedic option.
  • The pillow should be small in size; experts recommend choosing buckwheat husk as a filler - such an accessory helps you fall asleep faster, while maintaining the health of the cervical spine.
  • For young children, you should purchase beds with small sides, since at this age the child can actively move in his sleep and fall on the floor.
  • Before going to bed, it is recommended to ventilate and maintain the air temperature in the room within 18-200C.
  • You should not put your child in a bed that is too soft and warm - overheating of the body and incorrect body position will not contribute to proper rest.
  • It is recommended to use pajamas and bedding made from natural fabrics.

If your child likes to sleep turned to his side, it is best to place him on his left side. This will promote better functioning of the heart and digestive system.

Basic criteria for normal body position:

  • The spine forms a straight line.
  • Legs slightly bent. When lying on your side, you can place a small pillow between your knees, and when lying on your back, place it under the bend of the knee.
  • In the chosen position, the spine is stretched in all its parts, natural curves are preserved, blood circulation is not hampered, and the body experiences pleasant relaxation.

Doctors' recommendations

Dr. Komarovsky advises parents to determine if their baby has the following risk factors for sleeping on his stomach:

  • runny nose or cold. With these diseases, breathing through the nose is impaired, and sleeping on the stomach leads to stagnation of air in the lungs and insufficient oxygen supply to the blood, so the baby’s condition can worsen significantly. And if the little one still buries his nose and mouth into a pillow or mattress while on his belly, then this is fraught with danger and a great threat; a small baby at one or two years old may suffocate when he falls asleep in this position;
  • a too soft pillow and mattress in the crib can cause the baby’s death if he lies face down on them; parents will not be able to hear the voice of their son or daughter when they scream;
  • too warm and dry air in the room;
  • the blanket is too soft and hot;
  • Do your parents smoke?

These tips are relevant for children aged 1 week to one year.

Advantages and disadvantages of sleeping on your stomach

The opinion of doctors regarding sleeping on the stomach is unanimous: constantly being in this position at night is dangerous to health. However, there are some advantages of such a holiday:

  1. With increased gas formation, pressure on the stomach will relieve intestinal colic and bloating.
  2. If there are problems with the kidneys, then this position will help optimize their functioning and improve the patient’s condition.
  3. For back pain, doctors sometimes recommend sleeping on your stomach for a while to relieve strain on overstrained muscles.

The harm from such a pose is immeasurably greater than the benefit. Consequences of sleeping on your stomach:

  1. Cerebrovascular accident. When lying on your stomach, your head inevitably turns to the side. This position causes compression of the vessels passing through the cervical spine and feeding the brain.
  2. Difficulty breathing due to compression of the chest. The lungs are not able to fully open, as a result of which gas exchange deteriorates; air rich in carbon dioxide stagnates in the alveoli. The quality of sleep is noticeably reduced, and it will take more time to recuperate. If a child has a tendency to apnea (stopping breathing), then the likelihood of suffocating in this position is high.
  3. Disruption of the urinary tract and reproductive function due to compression of internal organs.
  4. The risk of developing breast cancer in girls increases, since the growing mammary glands become deformed and stagnant processes develop in them.
  5. The likelihood of a stomach ulcer or gastritis increases due to the reflux of the contents of the duodenum. This can be prevented by abstaining from food 4 or 3 hours before going to bed.
  6. Pain in the cervical and thoracic spine due to incorrect and unnatural body position.
  7. Cosmetic defects in the form of sagging skin of the face and chest, the appearance of early wrinkles.

To place a child correctly, it is necessary to help him learn to find a position in which the body will function normally and the body will rest. A bent spinal column during sleep will deprive the muscles of relaxation, disrupt the normal blood supply to the tissues and cause ill health.

Optimal posture

Lying back up with the head not turned, the baby may suffocate. If the baby is on his back, his head is turned to the side, this will protect him from negative consequences.

It is safer for babies to rest on their side, but there is a chance that they will roll over. Children who have problems with the hip joints should not sleep this way.

Parents should change the position of the baby's head to avoid the development of torticollis.

Doctors advise teaching your baby to rest on his side until he is one year old. Parents are advised to place the baby on different sides alternately, use positioners or rolled up diapers.

When sleeping on your stomach is dangerous

When a child turns over on his stomach in his sleep at one year of age and older, this does not pose any threat to his health. In some conditions, it is still better to refrain from such a position and carefully turn the sleeping person onto his side or back.

Not recommended sleeping positions:

  1. Cold, bronchitis or runny nose. With rhinitis, the nasal passages are clogged with mucus and normal breathing is disrupted. If we take into account that air begins to stagnate in the lungs due to compression of the chest, then we can assume a worsening of the condition due to the habit of lying on the stomach.
  2. Intestinal motility disorders, full stomach and other digestive system diseases can be aggravated due to insufficient blood supply at night.
  3. Diseases and curvatures of the spine are an absolute contraindication to sleeping on the stomach.
  4. Diseases of the cardiovascular system, especially in the presence of circulatory disorders, do not allow rest in this position.

Healthy children, as well as adults, are not recommended to sleep on their stomachs, since if such a position becomes permanent, pathologies cannot be avoided. At two or more years of age, children can be taught to sleep in the correct position. At the same time, falling asleep should not be accompanied by discomfort or negative emotions. You should not lift your child at night in order to turn him on his side or back. It is recommended to carefully turn the sleeping person to his left or right side, so as not to wake him up.

How to overcome insomnia while pregnant

Doctors say that the normal sleep duration of pregnant women is at least 9 hours a day, but not everyone manages to sleep enough time. Insomnia and drowsiness often occur alternately during pregnancy. Frequent lack of sleep threatens the following unpleasant consequences for expectant mothers:

  • state of prolonged depression;
  • disruptions in the functioning of the cardiovascular system;
  • decreased concentration;
  • fast fatiguability;
  • blood pressure surges;
  • anxiety and irritability for no apparent reason;
  • chronic fatigue.

To avoid this, you need to establish a sleep schedule. Recommended algorithm of actions to improve the quality of rest:

  1. Avoid napping during the day if you have difficulty falling asleep in the evening.
  2. Start preparing for bedtime 2-3 hours in advance. The best time to go to bed is between 22:00 and 23:00, at this hour there is a peak in the production of melatonin, which speeds up the process of falling asleep.
  3. Take sleeping pills only after your doctor approves them. As a rule, these are products made from natural ingredients, for example, glycine and decoctions of chamomile or mint.
  4. The evening meal should consist of light dishes. Avoid hard-to-digest foods and tonic drinks. In general, try to drink less fluid at night. This will save you from having to get up to go to the toilet.
  5. Physical activity by expectant mothers in the absence of contraindications is encouraged, but before going to bed it is advisable to simply take a walk in the fresh air. After your walk, take a warm shower or bath for no longer than 10 minutes (as directed by your doctor). Make sure the water is not hot.
  6. Give preference to sleepwear that does not restrict movement, made from natural materials.
  7. Listen to pleasant relaxing music, read an interesting book. If possible, have sex with your spouse, but not too actively.
  8. Ventilate the room you sleep in. The optimal room temperature is 20 °C.
  9. It is advisable for pregnant women to avoid clarifying relationships and other reasons for nervousness. As a last resort, postpone the debriefing until the morning. Do not turn on news broadcasts or action-packed films of any genre before going to bed. There is no need to experience emotional turmoil again, especially at night.
  10. Sleep in a position that suits your period and make sure your pillow is comfortable.

Video: how to sleep for pregnant women

Comfortable sleeping positions for pregnant women

Doctors recommend that pregnant women gradually give up sleeping on their stomachs in the first trimester. When the time comes to completely ban sleeping in this position, it will be easier to get used to it.

Sleeping on your back, especially from the 20th week of pregnancy, is also harmful. The fetus puts pressure on the internal organs, disrupting blood circulation in them, which can cause oxygen starvation in the baby and deterioration in the mother’s well-being. A pregnant woman experiences back pain, difficulty breathing, her hemorrhoids begin to worsen, and her blood pressure drops sharply.

For pregnant women, the issue of healthy sleep is especially important, because their body works harder and experiences enormous stress.

If the vena cava is regularly and for a long time pinched, the child receives an insufficient amount of nutrients and this leads to disastrous results. Subsequent defects in fetal development are irreversible.

Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side. In this position, blood flow to the placenta increases, which has a positive effect on the baby. The kidneys begin to function as they should by nature, swelling of the arms and legs resolves naturally. If a woman sleeps on her left side, her heart function is normalized, and the body gets rid of waste and excess fluid.

Sleeping on the left side is more beneficial, especially for those who suffer from heartburn - an unpleasant sensation when stomach acid enters the esophagus.

Lying in one position all night is uncomfortable; you can turn over from side to side several times. There is no variety in sleeping positions during pregnancy, but a healthy baby is more important than temporary inconvenience. It is sometimes allowed to sleep on your side, slightly leaning back, just be sure to place a pillow under your lower back so as not to lie on your back at all.

After a woman first feels the baby moving, she is not recommended to sleep on her back.

You can try laying out several pillows in the shape of a well and lying on this structure with your stomach so that it does not touch the surface. You won't be able to lie down for a long time, but a few minutes during the day is quite manageable.

While writing this article, I learned about the pillow well and told my pregnant sister. She immediately got excited about the idea of ​​trying it, and since we live in the same apartment, we immediately checked this recommendation together. At the 32nd week of pregnancy, the belly is already impressive in size, so we collected all the pillows in the house, including sofa pillows, and built a soft well. Anka happily perched on top and squeaked joyfully. But the happiness was short-lived, after 3 minutes the desire to lie on my stomach was satisfied, and getting up caused fears of falling. It’s good that her husband was at home and came to the rescue. Having complained about not particularly smart relatives, he strictly forbade us to repeat the attempts on our own. So if you decide to try this method, make sure that there is someone close to you who will have the strength to lift you without dropping you along with the pillows.

Special pillows for expectant mothers

In recent years, special pillows of different shapes have become very popular among pregnant women, helping them to get more comfortable for sleeping.

Photo gallery: types of pillows for pregnant women

Table: characteristics of pillows for sleeping during pregnancy

Pillow ShapeCharacteristicFlaws
BoomerangA small pillow, the shape of which allows the back to rest and the stomach to be in the correct safe position. During breastfeeding it becomes an indispensable assistant. When you turn over to the other side, you have to change the position of the pillow, which is uncomfortable when sleeping.
Letter GThe most popular model among expectant mothers has room for the belly and a soft cushion on top. Women place their heads on one part and clasp the other with their legs. A complete sleeping attribute that does not require additional pillows, after childbirth it is very convenient for feeding a baby. No, although some women experience discomfort when turning from side to side.
Letter UProducts of this shape stand out among other pillows due to their dimensions, reaching three meters in some specimens. Ideal for the weeks leading up to childbirth. Provides a comfortable position in any position. The legs are placed on one edge, and the other at this time provides support to the back of the pregnant woman. Turning from side to side does not cause discomfort. Not detected.
BagelIt is a smaller copy of a U-shaped pillow and has the same positive properties.Not detected.
Letter JSupports the belly of a sleeping woman in the correct position and eliminates the possibility of pinched nerve endings. The pillow can be used before and after childbirth, allowing the back muscles to be relaxed. Not detected.
Letter CMakes side sleeping more comfortable by supporting your stomach. It will also be useful in the postpartum period. Not detected.
Letter IA straight, soft cushion without bends that supports the body in the correct position.An additional pillow under the head is required.

What to look for when choosing a pillow to sleep during pregnancy:

  • size. Standard products are designed for an average height of 160–170 cm. Tall women are recommended to purchase large pillows, but everyone needs to take into account the dimensions of the bed so that there are no problems with placement;
  • environmental friendliness of the material. It is better to give preference to pillows whose outer cover is made of calico or cotton fabric. Natural materials easily absorb moisture, are hypoallergenic and easy to care for. The filler must be elastic and keep its shape, so the use of synthetic materials is allowed;
  • universal application. It is advisable to buy a product that will be used after childbirth during breastfeeding;
  • ease of use. A pregnancy pillow is not a fashion statement, but a thing designed to make life easier for a woman carrying a baby. Therefore, when choosing, you need to focus on the expectant mother’s own needs; the product should take the shape of the body and be pleasant to the skin.

In the first trimester, the choice of sleeping positions is more varied than in the second half of pregnancy. But if you tune in to the correct sleep pattern, choose a comfortable position and a suitable pillow, the months of waiting for your baby will not cause any inconvenience. And you can sleep on your stomach again when you finish breastfeeding your baby.

Lena, 36 years old, mother of a third-grader son

Sudden death syndrome in a child

It is noted that sudden infant death syndrome, which occurs in children under one year of age, is associated specifically with the position on the stomach during sleep. Therefore, pediatricians recommend keeping the child in this position while awake, since pressure on the abdomen facilitates the passage of gases. The habit of lying in this way has a beneficial effect on physical condition and promotes early physical development.

The exact cause of sudden infant mortality has not been established, but a direct link has been proven between sleeping on the stomach and the death of children. Most of the dead were in exactly this situation. It is believed that a soft mattress and pillows, colds and difficulty breathing through the nose significantly increase the risk of death from suffocation in children who are placed to sleep on their stomachs.

Important! At older ages, the likelihood of dying from sudden infant death syndrome is close to zero.

Safe sleep rules

There will be no danger to a sleeping baby on his stomach if parents follow the following rules:

• Skip the pillow. Children under 12 months do not need it at all; it can be replaced with a diaper folded several times. The baby's face should not sink into soft fabric; a flat, hard surface is ideal for sleeping.

• Buy a firm mattress. A soft, uneven surface is dangerous for the baby, as it poses a suffocation risk. In addition, it is harmful to the musculoskeletal system.

• Treat colds in a timely manner. A stuffy nose does not allow a newborn to breathe normally, so he may suffocate while sleeping on his stomach.

• Clean, ventilate and moisten the room regularly. Regular wet cleaning is a prerequisite for a comfortable sleep. And in winter, when heating devices are on, the air dries out, then crusts appear in the baby’s nose, which interfere with normal breathing. To avoid this, you need to ventilate the room daily and also buy an air humidifier. Parents should ensure that the temperature in the nursery does not exceed 20 - 22°. And the smell of cigarettes in the bedroom is generally taboo for the baby.

• Remove all unnecessary items from the crib. Soft toys, crumpled diapers, towels - all this should not be in the crib. Toys quickly collect dust, which is not at all beneficial for the baby, and diapers hanging on the back of the crib can cause suffocation if the baby gets tangled in them.

To make your baby more comfortable, place a small cushion under the mattress in the area of ​​his head. Then the baby will sleep more comfortably, breathing will be a little easier, and the likelihood of regurgitation will be reduced. And in order not to worry about the baby, the mother should be near him during sleep.

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