When Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomachs Safely?

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Babies Sleep on Their Stomachs Safely

What is the correct posture for babies while sleeping? This is a common question many new parents have. Some babies may try to sleep on their stomach since they may feel comfortable, or they can’t turn to their back on their own. Doctors recommend that babies under 1 year of age should sleep on their backs. In addition, it is recommended that babies sleep sideways aligned to any one direction after each feed. So, when can babies sleep on their stomachs?

Doctors recommend preventing babies from sleeping on their stomachs since sleeping on the stomach elevates the baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also popularly known as cot death. But that doesn’t mean that your baby must sleep only on their back and sides forever. So, when can you let your munchkin sleep on their stomach safely? And what care and precautions must you take? Here is everything a parent must know.

In This Article

Is it OK For the Baby to Sleep on Their Stomach?

No, it is not safe for babies to sleep on their stomachs. This position can be risky as sleeping on the stomach can lead to the risk of SIDS. Babies cannot roll over on their own from their stomach to back and they experience suffocation in this process. Their brain isn’t developed enough to signal the body to turn to the back when the baby is feeling breathless.

When sleeping in the side position, the baby may find it easy to roll over and sleep on their stomach. Therefore, whenever you find that your baby is sleeping on their stomach change the sleeping position. Make your baby sleep on his or her back.

Once your baby is able to roll, you may find that they are rolling more in their sleep. This is the cue for you to put them back to their stomach. As your baby grows and reaches a year of age, they will be able to intentionally roll in all directions. This may be a cue that it may be safe for your baby to sleep on their stomach. Still, it may be safe for you to ensure that your baby sleeps on their back till they reach 1 year of age.

When Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomach Safely?

When Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomach Safely

According to experts’ advice, sleeping on the stomach actually is not the proper sleeping position for babies below 1 year of age. Always baby safe sleep position is sleeping on the back. Babies when sleeping on their stomachs, this position increases the fatal incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Therefore, it is actually not safe to sleep on their stomach. Once your baby completes one year, you can let your baby sleep on their stomach. By this time, they can intentionally roll on both sides, side to back and back to side. Their brain is also developed enough to signal the baby to turn when feeling breathless and suffocated. 

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared clear recommendations for reducing the incidence of SIDS.

Here is what you should remember about your baby’s sleeping position

  • Babies should sleep on the flat and firm surface.
  • They should always sleep on their backs. It is a safe sleeping position.
  • They should sleep on a separate crib or the bassinet without the pillows and toys.
  • Babies should always share the room with their parents.

[Read : Room Sharing With Your Baby]

At What Age Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomachs?

baby sleeping on back

As per the Doctor’s recommendation, babies can sleep on their stomachs at the age of 1 year or more. The safe and right position for sleeping for babies, when babies sleep on their backs. However, babies can sleep on their stomachs or in any other position when babies reach the age of 1 year or more.

How Long Can Babies Sleep on Their Stomachs?

Do not allow your babies to sleep on their stomachs. Once your baby turns one, you can allow them to sleep as per their convenience. Babies less than 1 year of age should not be allowed to sleep in any other position except on their backs. Whenever you see your baby has rolled over and prefers to sleep on their stomach just do not actively place them on their stomach until they are 1 year of age. 

What if the Baby Rolls Over and Cannot Roll Back?

Usually, babies learn to roll over from the back position to the front position when they are about 4 months old. However, it takes time for them to learn to roll from the stomach to the back position. So, if you observe that your baby is sleeping on their stomach just make the baby back to a safe position and make them sleep on its back. Sleeping on the back is the safest position.

[Read : Establishing a Bedtime Routine For Babies]

What to Do if Rolling Over Wakes Them up?

You can also try certain tricks if rolling over makes your baby wake up.

  1. Always try to make your baby sleep in a quiet and dark room. This will help the baby to have a peaceful sleep.
  2. You can also just shush and make a slight pat on the back to make the baby back to sleep.
  3. Always maintain a schedule-sleeping timetable to make the baby sleep on time. Sleep training your baby is important.
  4. You can also try to make the baby sleep at the same time regularly at night.
  5. Don’t forget to check on your baby a couple of times through the night when you wake up.

[Read : Sleep Training a Baby]

What to Do if the Baby Will Only Sleep on Their Stomach?

mom changing baby sleeping position

It is very usual that babies like to sleep in their favorite position. If you observe that your baby has turned into the favorite position of sleeping on the stomach just change the position and that makes the baby sleep on his or her back. While sleeping also if your baby turns into the stomach and starts sleeping on his/her stomach just change the position and make the baby sleep on the back.

Thus, always follow the sleeping guidelines, and maintain a good sleeping posture for babies. If possible, take the pediatrician’s advice in maintaining proper sleeping guidelines or do some research to maintain the proper sleeping pattern. It is very necessary for babies to maintain the exact sleeping position as a faulty sleeping position can lead to fatal accidents. To avoid such conditions, try to follow the sleeping guidelines.

Give your baby a healthy sleep and a healthy life. Keep a keen eye on your baby’s sleeping positions and always maintain proper sleeping positions so that the baby has quiet and proper sleep-give a healthy sleeping time.


1. Why is Tummy Sleeping a SIDS Risk For Baby?

Research reveals that tummy sleeping increases the risk of SID due to several reasons-it increases the possibility of the baby starting to rebreathe his or her own exhaled breath, piling up more carbon dioxide, and reducing the oxygen level, leading to upper airway tract obstruction. This can cause sudden death and your baby may become the victim of such a condition. Therefore, maintain the proper sleeping position for your baby.

2. What Are the Reasons Newborns Cannot Sleep on Their Stomachs?

Newborns or babies under 1 year of age should not sleep on their stomachs, as this position can increase the chances of SID. So, maintain proper sleep for newborns and babies under 1 year of age.

3. What Should Be the Proper Age of the Baby When There is No Risk For SIDS?

SID can less happen when babies are 8 months old. However, parents should be careful, continue practicing safe sleeping positions for the proper sleep of the babies, and avoid the risk of SID. Most chances of SID increase before 6 months of age.

Read Also: Safe Sleep Environment For Babies – What is it and How to Create

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.