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When Can Your Baby Sleep On Their Stomach? 4 Signs To Watch For

Baby sleeping on her stomach while mom rubs her back

Practicing safe sleep is important when it comes to caring for your little one. As a parent, one thing you're probably wondering about is when your baby can sleep on their stomach.

To determine this, you’ll need to know the basics when it comes to safe sleep and the four signs to watch for when trying to decide if your baby is ready for this transition.

In this article, we’ll also address a few commonly asked questions when it comes to your baby sleeping on their stomach.

Safe Sleep Recommendations

 baby sleeping on back in crib

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of stomach sleeping for your baby, you first have to know and understand the sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

(We’ll also give you the low-down on how long these recommendations should be followed.)

Provide A Firm Sleep Surface

According to the AAP, your baby should share a room with you for at least the first six months, but not sleep on the same surface as you. This means your baby needs their own crib or bassinet with a firm bottom.

Fortunately, our Crib Mattress meets all your baby’s sleep needs! Not only is it firm, but it’s also comfortable, breathable, washable, and recyclable. Our unique design makes it possible for your baby to breathe straight through our mattress should they roll over onto their stomach.

This is because our Wovenaire core is 90% air by volume. Creating this unique design, we were able to leave behind foam, latex, springs, and glue, which are popular toxins and allergens (and no good for your little one).

Eliminate Any Extras In Their Crib

It’s important to place your baby down in their crib or bassinet without soft surfaces, such as cute blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers, or pillows.

If you use these items for decor or picture purposes, remove them immediately afterward, and always supervise your baby during this time.

When Can Your Baby Sleep On Their Stomach?

 baby sleeping on stomach while mom wonders when can baby sleep on stomach

Your baby should not sleep on their stomach until they’re one year old. They should always be placed on their back to sleep during the first 12 months to ensure a safe sleeping position.

However, it’s OK if they roll onto their stomach around four to six months old, as they should then be able to roll back over on their own.

4 Signs Your Baby Is Ready

Your baby will let you know when they’re ready, so here are some signs to watch for that are sure giveaways that your little one is prepared to sleep on their stomach.

1) Good Head Control

Before your baby can safely sleep on their stomach, they need to be able to hold their head up…and not just for a few minutes. Good head control means they’re holding their head up consistently.

This is important so your baby’s airway doesn’t get restricted. If your baby is on their stomach, it poses a suffocation risk since they can’t move their head to open up their airway.

Once they have good head control, however, your little one can move their head in a way that’s safe for them to breathe. (This is also why it’s so important to have a breathable mattress starting from day one!)

2) Rolling Over Both Ways

Rolling from back to tummy and tummy to back is one milestone your baby needs to master before they can sleep on their stomach.

This milestone is important to master because if they’re in an uncomfortable position where they could have trouble breathing, your baby is able to move themselves into a safe position.

One way to help your baby achieve this goal is by giving them plenty of tummy time during the day. This strengthens lots of muscles — like their neck and back muscles — that are important as they continue to grow.

Your baby is getting stronger by the day. Before you know it, they’ll be rolling over both ways! This is a good thing — just don’t leave your baby unattended, as once they start rolling, they won’t stop.

If you leave the room for one second, your baby could roll across the room!

 up-close of baby sleeping on stomach

3) No Longer Using A Swaddle

Swaddles are great for keeping newborns tight and cozy...kind of like the womb. Our Organic Swaddle Blankets are versatile and perfect for swaddling your little one.

However, even though our swaddles are breathable, you should stop swaddling your baby when they start rolling over. Their hands are placed tightly by their side in a swaddle, so if they were to roll over, there’s no way they’d be able to roll back.

Note: Your baby should never sleep on their tummy while they’re in a swaddle, no matter their age.

4) Rolling Onto Tummy In The Middle Of The Night

The last sign that your baby is ready to sleep on their stomach is when they’re already rolling onto their tummy while they’re sleeping! It means your little one has mastered the skill to sleep in this position.

Again, always place your baby on their back to sleep at least until their first birthday, but if your baby is already rolling to their stomach, there’s no need to turn them onto their back.

What To Do If Your Baby Rolls Onto Their Stomach

 baby sleeping on stomach

Many parents lose sleep during the early days of their baby’s life, and not just because they’re waking up to feed them every three to four hours.

It’s completely normal to feel the need to check on your baby’s breathing patterns and sleep position throughout the night. So what do you do if you see that they’re sleeping on their stomach?

As long as your little one is showing the four signs we mentioned above and is at least four to six months old, you can leave them in this position. (However, if you need to check in on them for your peace of mind, by all means, do so!)

If your baby is younger than four months old or they’re not showing all the signs mentioned above, you’ll need to place them on their back again if they roll.

This is also why it’s important to have a breathable mattress, like the Newton Baby Crib Mattress. Not only is it safe for your baby; it also provides you with peace of mind.

Additionally, many parents might be concerned about their child getting what’s called a “flat head” from lying on their back too much.

This is where tummy time comes into play. Your baby needs lots of it during the day, and tummy time helps round out your baby’s head if it does get a flat spot in the back.

Don’t let the possibility of flat head stop you from placing your little one on their back to sleep!

What To Do If Your Baby Prefers Sleeping On Their Stomach

happy baby crawling on crib mattress

Most babies don’t mind sleeping on their back and actually despise tummy time. However, if your baby cries when you lay them in this position for bedtime, talk with their doctor about your concerns.

Back To Sleep

 Mom watching baby in crib wondering when can baby sleep on stomach

In summary, placing your baby on their back is best until they’ve developed the muscles and skills to move to each side. Protect your little one by always using safe sleep practices, like laying them on a firm mattress and keeping their sleep space clear.

Remember: Your baby shouldn’t sleep on their stomach until they’re at least one year old. And if your baby does end up rolling onto their tummy in the middle of the night, make sure they’ve met our four indicators of readiness (and are at least four to six months old).

If they’ve met these criteria, your baby can go ahead and sleep on their stomach — just place them on their back when you put them to bed.

To give your baby the safest sleep possible and give you peace of mind, follow these tips and use Newton Baby’s safe sleep products!

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