The correct sleeping position

Four babies lying on their backs on a bedShould the babies sleep on their tummy or on their side or rather on their back? It used to be common practice for babies to sleep on their stomachs and this was also advised by the experts. The assumption was that babies lying on their backs would choke on vomit. Today we know that the sleeping position is not decisive. The risk of choking on vomit is equally high / low in all sleeping positions. Today the very clear recommendation applies from all directions: The supine position is the best sleeping position for babies, and at best for the entire first year of life. But why is that so?


Reasons for lying on your back

It suggests that sudden infant death syndrome is related to the wrong sleeping position. Since the supine position is advised, the incidence of cot deaths has decreased significantly. The actual reason for sudden infant death syndrome is still not clearly understood, but it is easy to explain why the other two sleeping positions are dangerous:

1. Prone position Baby that sleeps on your stomach

The babies are not yet able to turn, let alone turn their heads. Their neck muscles are simply not so developed that they simply lack the strength. In the course of the first few weeks it begins to be possible that you can hold your head a little and also turn it, but still not as controlled as with older children or adults. If you lay the baby down in the prone position, it may happen that at some point, by turning the head slightly, it lies on the face. As a result, it can happen that it no longer manages to turn its head on its own or simply falls asleep on the face and does not notice that it can no longer breathe. As a result, the baby suffocates.

2. Lateral position Baby that lies on its side and sleeps

The position on the side is also often controversial. Often used to avoid or compensate for the one-sided flattening on the head. However, there is also the risk that the child will turn onto its stomach and thus onto its face. There are special side pillows or towels that can be rolled up and placed around the child so that it cannot turn. On the one hand, the pillow / towel can slip, on the other hand, there is a risk that the baby will bury its face in it. Both promote the risk of suffocation. Therefore, the safest method remains to lie on your back.


The supine position is actually the best sleeping position for sleeping. Nevertheless, you should generally make sure that the baby is always laid down in the prone position when awake, so it trains its muscles and also prevents the head from flattening out unattractively. But also not to be neglected, in the supine position you don't get very far in life, sealing and crawling also only works via the prone position. Therefore, the prone position is very important for the development of the children.


So much for theory

In fact, my mother also told me that my sister and I slept on the prone position, with the addition, I quote "Everything is known better today, in the past, the children in the prone position didn't die either." Yes, earlier, earlier, earlier ... Me I see it as such that there are no such studies for nothing and this is not about sweets that might lead to a hole in the tooth. It's about life and death. I, during pregnancy, then thought to myself that I would of course pay close attention to it. As always, the reality looked a little different.


In the first few days in the hospital, lying on my back worked quite well. When they got home, however, sleeping became more and more of a struggle. In the end, Leon slept on top of me for the first few weeks, lying on his stomach. I also read somewhere that under no circumstances should you let the child sleep on you, as this also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. But honestly, what should I have done? Leon only slept with physical contact and it wasn't enough to lay him next to me, he wanted to lie on top of me and that day and night. During the day I would therefore sometimes sit for hours on the sofa with Leon on top of me. All around I was equipped with a cell phone, food and drink, so that I didn't have to move. I mean, I was awake most of the time and was able to check that everything was okay with Leon and that he was still breathing, and I actually did that very often. But that night I slept myself, me on my back and Leon on my stomach in the prone position. He could have slipped down, he could have buried himself in his face, I could have covered him too far with my blanket or accidentally crushed him. Yes, I knew all of this, but it was the best solution for us. Of course I also tried to put him in bed, but he woke up immediately (!) When I even somehow moved him away from me and he immediately screamed. So he slept on top of me and it didn't happen, toi toi toi.


Over time, I managed that Leon gradually slept in his bed. Then I made sure that he slept on his back. That worked very well too. Leon hated lying on his stomach during that time. Regardless of whether you are awake or asleep. Since he slept on his back at night, I naturally tried to lay him on his stomach during the day. Catastrophe! He hated it, I didn't even put him on his stomach properly, he started crying. So he lay on his back day and night and - who would have thought - his head isn't unevenly flattened. So I've actually done everything right to date when it comes to sleeping.


But the development of the little ones is rapid, so when Leon started to turn from the supine to the prone position, his sleeping position also gradually changed. At about 8 months he discovered sleeping in the prone position. I always put him in bed on his back, but he turned around straight away. I then let him sleep like that, what should I have done? I can hardly, permanently, turn my child from the prone position to the supine position. So the back sleep time was over. By the way, he still sleeps on his stomach to this day, always with his Poppes up 😀


I also know from many other mothers that some babies only sleep in the prone position from the start. It just seems to be her favorite position of choice. Sure, you should try to get babies to sleep on their backs. But if that ends up screaming for hours, I would let them sleep as they please. I'm also a stomach sleeper and couldn't sleep on my back and would be angry if I had to. I can therefore fully understand the babies 😉