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#1 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Any thoughts on a newborn sleeping on her tummy? Anyone have articles expelling the idea that the "back to sleep" program isn't all it is said to be. I read something a while back that was from a non-vaxing POV that said the back to sleep program didn't stop SIDS...but I'd love to hear more thoughts about tummy sleeping.

I have a 3wo daughter and she sleeps best on her belly...really doesn't sleep independently on her back at all. She hates to be swaddled so her hands are constantly waking her up if she is not on her belly. Already she has incredible neck and arm strength and can lift her upper body up with her arms and move her head around. She does sleep most of the night either on mine or DH's chest or just next to me on her belly. But I do let her nap on her stomach. I kinda feel like hey for thousands of years babies have slept on their bellies...I know I did...but then scary thoughts creep into my head and freak me out. I never had this issue with my two boys b/c they loved the swaddle...so they always slept swaddled and on their sides when they weren't in our arms.

Do you let your baby tummy sleep?

And when exactly does the whole back to sleep program say you can let them tummy sleep...once they can roll over right? Refresh my memory...when do they start to roll...3-4 months or later?

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#2 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 02:16 AM
 
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i let my boys, when they were newborn, sleep on their belly 1) if they are sleeping on me or dh, or 2) if they were napping in the living room while i am awake and doing things around the house. since we cosleep, i have occasionally let them sleep tummy down at night, but we cosleep and i felt "in tune" to their movements. i would never feel comfortable if they were in a crib.

and i cannot for the life of me, remember when they roll over lol

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#3 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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My 3 week old is the same. Dd1 and dd2 never had any trouble sleeping on their backs, but dd3 and ds refuse. IIRC, the biggest risk factors for SIDS are parental smoking and formula feeding, so I try not to stress too much about it. I check on him frequently when he's napping. But seriously, it's the only way he'll sleep if I'm not holding him.
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#4 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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My son was born with spina bifida, so he spent the first two weeks of his life on his stomach or his side or being held while scar from his back surgery healed up. When we brought him home I tried to be a dutiful, first-time mother and put him to sleep on his back, and he wouldn't have anything of it! So I ended up putting him to sleep on his stomach or side for naps and then he would be on his side when he co-slept with me at night. Stomach lying does tweak the neck more, so I think that it's not the best position for that reason. He's gone through sleep positioning phases- first he wanted his stomach, then his side, and currently he's into back-lying. As he got more used to being on his back, he became more comfortable sleeping in that position as well.

I read wikipedia's article on Back to Sleep and some doctors have said that stomach sleeping allows for babies to reach a deeper sleep. Even with Back to Sleep though, I think SIDS still remains the 3rd most common cause of death in babies under 1, after congenital birth defects and pre-term/low birthweight complications. In which case, I have to wonder if it's really as effective as we've been told. If stomach sleeping were the biggest risk, then I would think that back to sleep would have virtually eliminated SIDS deaths and that there would have been more documentation of SIDS cases in medical literature 50-100 years ago. Reports of actual SIDS cases can be debatable as well- a coroner or doctor may assume that a baby couldn't have died of SIDS because the baby was found on his back and so that could skew the actual numbers. But I'm no expert.

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#5 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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My first slept swaddled on his back and he was a horrible sleeper (coincidence or otherwise, I don't know). My second and third slept on their tummies from day one. You have to consider all the information and make the decision that is best for you and your child. For me, without other risk factors at play, I was okay with letting her sleep on her tummy.

FWIW, my third started rolling over at 6 weeks and now at almost four months is all over the place in the crib!

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#6 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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I started regularly putting my son on his stomach to sleep around 2-3 months, and had let him nap occasionally on his stomach before that point. He slept much better that way, and when I tried to put him on his back he would just roll himself over (he managed to do this a few times when swaddled, which freaked me out to have a swaddled baby with no access to his hands lying face down).

I researched the risk factors, of which there are many, and decided that we were such a low risk for SIDS that I would unswaddle him and put him on his stomach, and I haven't looked back since. I understand that SIDS is one of the major causes of death in babies, but the absolute risk is very small (1 in 2000). I think people in general get too worked up over events that are statistically unlikely to occur...but I'm married to someone who deals with statistics/probability/risk on a daily basis, so I'm a bit biased.

If you search wikipedia for SIDS there is a pretty good article that covers the major risk factors, as well some controversial points for some. When the back to sleep campaign was started, SIDS was already on the decline in the US, and some believe that the steady decrease in maternal smoking that was happening at the same time may be responsible for at least part of the decrease. I'm sure there are other confounding variables as well. Just my two cents. Ultimately it's up to you to decide what decision is best for your family.

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#7 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicky85 View Post
Reports of actual SIDS cases can be debatable as well- a coroner or doctor may assume that a baby couldn't have died of SIDS because the baby was found on his back and so that could skew the actual numbers. But I'm no expert.
I've worked (briefly) in a medical examiner's office, so I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the forensic pathologist would not exclude SIDS as a cause simply because the baby was found on their back. SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning all other potential causes need to be eliminated first (medical conditions, abuse, accidental ingestion, accidental smothering with too many blankets in bed, etc), until you are left with no reasonable explanation other than "SIDS". This is what makes it so tricky. Many of these deaths could be due to child abuse which simply cannot be proven, or they could be due to a medical or genetic condition which we're unable to test for. Yet another reason I tend to think the "back to sleep" campaign is a bit overblown. They have succeeded in making parents feel like they're taking a huge gamble with their child's life simply by placing them to sleep on their bellies.

SuzieQ (27), wife to my wonderful husband of 5 years, mom to a beautiful baby boy born 3.28.10
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#8 of 22 Old 11-01-2010, 11:57 PM
 
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I was like you with our son (now 18mo) and plan to do the same with our second child. I read about the risks of SIDS and felt that NONE applied, so I felt fine in letting him sleep on his tummy. He was half on his tummy and half on his side, and sometimes swaddled on his back while a newborn. I'm open to whatever the babe seems to prefer for getting the best sleep.

To me, the biggest risk of SIDS is 1) reactions to vax (and then it's not really SIDS) or 2) poison in the mattress compounded with deep sleeping. I read a fascinating article on arsenic in mattresses compounded with mildew growth and felt compelled that it is a major cause. We got an organic mattress (though DS wasn't even in his crib until 6 mo once we moved and got his crib). I would note, as a pp said, babies DO sleep more deeply on their tummies. This is only an issue for me if they are in an unsafe environment in which they may not awaken from a deep sleep and are breathing toxic fumes or being deprived of oxygen. We ran and do run a fan regularly so their is regular air flow in the room.

I WOULD, in general, support the theory that back sleeping reduces "SIDS" since they are startled and awakened more easily - the fact that they do that can awaken them and cry for help, and it also places their mouth and nose farther from the potential toxicity of the mattress.

Also, I once looked through search results on the VAERS database (vaccine adverse events reporting system) for infant deaths (0-3 mo) and it was surprising (or not) how many of the deaths reported from vaccine reactions were diagnosed as SIDS.

Lastly, I was very intrigued by a study in NZ (previously owning the highest SIDS rate) in which, say 350some babies died a year from SIDS. Parents started wrapping mattresses for a study and the SIDS rate in that group was ZERO. I wish I had the link but I think it could easily be found online if you're interested in searching.

Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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#9 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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When ds was a newborn he never slept well on his back but if he was lying on my chest or dh's he would sleep great. Once he learned how to roll over it was quite clear he was a stomach sleeper. Until he was bigger, I only felt comfortable with ds on his stomach when he was with us & not in his crib.

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#10 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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I also read that NZ study about wrapping the mattresses and the SIDS rate dropped to zero.

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#11 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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There are pros and cons to both tummy and back sleeping. The wiki on Back to Sleep is a pretty good starting point.

V was a tummy sleeper until about a month ago, when she got a pretty nasty cold, and has been sleeping on her back since then.

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#12 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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My understanding ( and another poster touched on this too a bit) is that the reason they recommend back sleeping for babies is BECAUSE babes don't sleep as well on their back. They will wake more often and not get into that deep sleep on their back. The info I have read is that babies that slept on their tummy, slept better, and more deeply, and also had a higher rate of SIDS.

Also, after the "Back to Sleep" campaign, SIDS dropped 50%. That's a pretty drastic drop.

In my experience, I let them tummy sleep next to me on the couch, but don't put them to sleep on their tummies. If they roll over on their tummy, on their own, I let them be.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#13 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker'smommy View Post
Also, after the "Back to Sleep" campaign, SIDS dropped 50%. That's a pretty drastic drop.
It was a one-time drop when BtS was started, which suggests that 50% of previously reported SIDS deaths were rebreathing/ suffocation deaths due to pillows, blankets, soft mattresses, etc, in addition to the general reclassifying of SIDS deaths as being due to apnea or other issues.

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#14 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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A few months ago I would have thought that tummy/prone sleeping was not neccessarly a bad thing, and actually before I put my baby into our bed (bedshared) to sleep, I pleaded with my husband to overlook the 'back sleeping safety' and just let our baby tummy sleep in his co-sleeper since our son never seemed comfortable.

Then, somewhat recently, I read that babies naturally sleep on their sides and back (to facilitate breast feeding). I read that formula fed babies are more likely to tummy sleep. Also that tummy sleeping puts pressure on the brain stem and can cause cellular death. However this pressure on the brain stem tends to induce deep sleep, which apparently is not desirable nor natural in an infant as frequent 'rousing' from sleep can help prevent SIDs.

http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/nov97/nichd-24.htm
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#15 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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Well, yah, it's a one time drop.....of course. I don't see how that suggests that 50% of perviously reported SIDS death were due to resuffocation issues though?

They told parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, and SIDS rates dropped...drastically. As I said before, the science behind it is that babies don't get into a deep enough sleep, and wake often. That's also why they are suggesting pacifier usage now. BUT....cosleeping babies usually wake more often and get that sucking at the breast and are safer. My babe sleeps on her back when alone in the cosleeper, and then sleeps at the breast when in my bed ( about 50% of her sleeping time).

Hey...do what you want. But don't say that a 50% drop is nothing. And as a PAL mom, I can't those facts...I just can't. More babies died before the BTS campaign.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#16 of 22 Old 11-02-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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I struggle with this too. I never let DD (now 7 yrs) sleep on her belly b/c I was terrified of SIDS. But I could nurse her down and she'd sleep well on her back.

With DS - not at all. He'd only sleep for 20 30 minutes at a time on his back. I started letting him sleep on his belly at about 3 weeks too and he's slept on his belly since then. (Some naps he's in my arms, cradled - and he does some night stretches like that too.) Now at 4 mo he'll sleep for a 5 hr stretch on his belly and then wake and nurse every 2 hrs after that and go back on his belly.

He also sleeps on our mattress, but there is no bottom sheet to get tangled in. And ironically, he's in one of those "back to sleep" wearable blankets so he stays warm without getting blankets near his face.

I do worry about it to some degree, but we also run a fan, removed the sheet like I said, and have no other blankets or pillows anywhere near him. He has also been able to push his head up since very early.

I think about it this way - I think there are about 2500 cases of SIDS every year and about 4 million babies born annually. While it is the leading cause of death for babies it is still extremely rare.

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#17 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Parker'smommy View Post
My understanding ( and another poster touched on this too a bit) is that the reason they recommend back sleeping for babies is BECAUSE babes don't sleep as well on their back. They will wake more often and not get into that deep sleep on their back. The info I have read is that babies that slept on their tummy, slept better, and more deeply, and also had a higher rate of SIDS.
Yes, this is my understanding as well -- babies sleep less soundly on their backs. They get into a deep sleep and simply stop breathing.

I went through the same questioning myself, and decided to go to the actual statistics and data. It's true that you can reduce risk of SIDS by eliminating a lot of the risk factors. If baby sleeps in your room less risk, if sleeps in own space (e.g., bassinet) less risk, and a whole host of other factors. However, when it comes down to it, the statistics are actually quite convincing. SIDS diagnosis is highly correlated with stomach and (sadly) side sleeping, but especially back sleeping. At the same time, people are more and more likely to report that their baby sleeps on his back (whether people are always honest when there is such pressure to have baby sleep on back is another question). So, even as percent who are stomach sleeping is decreasing, SIDS is still highly correlated with back sleeping.

I went to the statistics hoping to find some loop hole and reason why it's really not such a big deal to have them sleep on their tummies, and ended up completely convinced that it's better to avoid tummy sleeping!

That said, I'm still avoiding back-sleeping and instead do side-lying with my 5 week old. Once again, I'm thinking maybe it's not such a big deal. I guess it's true that statistically speaking, chances are pretty low that even if your baby is placed on tummy anything would happen, but I would feel awful if it did.

I also find that the pressure for back-positioning is ridiculous. I put my baby on the scale at the doctor's office on his belly, and the nurse said, "no, never place him on his belly" as if he was going to die from SIDS right then and there.

They start to turn over around 4-5 months, at which point you can put them on their tummies.

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#18 of 22 Old 11-04-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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My own story is that when DS was 2 weeks old he was lying on his back while I was falling asleep next to him and he started choking, I assume, on some spit or spit-up. His face was up so the only place for it to go was down his throat. My husband I helped him work it out, and when we talked with the midwife about it she said she always puts babies on their tummies for that reason. My own solution then was that he slept on his tummy on me until he was 4 months. It worked for us, but I know it's not the right solution for everyone.

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#19 of 22 Old 11-07-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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My 13 week old daughter sleeps on her back when we co-sleep through the night and on her belly for her daytime naps, she seems to sleep best like that. We started putting her on her tummy when she was about 2 or 3 weeks old, but she always had amazing head control and could move her face either way so I wasn't too worried.
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#20 of 22 Old 11-07-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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My first son (now 2.5yrs old) has always slept on his tummy. He was in bed with us. He would NOT sleep on his back. But when he did move to his crib for sleeping during the day he slept on his tummy... in a different room then I was in.

My second son (2m old) does okay on his back but sometimes prefers his tummy. I try to let him decide which he needs and then help him get in position. Sometimes he's gassy so tummy sleeping is the only way ANYONE gets sleep.

Both of my boys were born with awesome neck control so I just never worried about it.

Actually, back sleeping makes me more nervous. Both of my boys are chronic spitter uppers and I have been woken by the sound of them gagging and chocking on their spit up. THAT is more terrifying to me.

SAH Mama to Cooper (3-9-08) and Sawyer (9-3-10).   
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#21 of 22 Old 11-07-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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My son (4.5 months) can roll over both ways with ease. I know I'm "supposed" to put him down on his back and let him do the roll to the stomach, but I don't. Who does that? And what difference would it possibly make? All the moms I talk to in real life say the same thing, and many didn't even do back sleeping until the rolling happened.
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#22 of 22 Old 11-07-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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Oh, this is really interesting (from national institute of child development, http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/sids_qa.cfm):

Quote:
Are there any babies who should be placed prone for sleep?

There may also be other specific infants in whom the risk/benefit balance favors prone sleeping. The risk of SIDS increases from approximately 0.86 SIDS deaths per 1,000 live births to 1.62 when babies sleep prone* (that is, 998 of every 1,000 prone-sleeping babies will not die of SIDS). This relatively small increased risk may be reasonable to accept, when balanced against the benefit of prone sleeping for certain babies.

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