What Do You Think? Back vs Tummy: The Sleep Conundrum

Just to make things clear, I have no plans on letting little miss sleep on her belly.  If she chooses to sleep on her belly sometime in the future, when she is able to easily roll from belly to back with no issues, then that is great for her, but for now I will always make sure that she is on her back or side.

…but I was thinking, why do all the grandparents keep telling me that we (me, my sister, my husband, my husbands brother) slept through the night at six weeks, or two months, or “definitely by three months!”  Why am I constantly feeling like I have a baby that just loves to be awake every three hours and will never ever ever sleep longer?  Well, then I started thinking about how my generation was put on their tummies to sleep.  This really sparked something in the dark, tired part of my brain that doesn’t get much action anymore.  When babies are put onto their tummies, they are better able to get gas out.  I know just from the past week of “super catch-up tummy time” that as soon as she is on her belly, she burps and poots like a mad woman.  Even if I’ve just spent the past ten minutes burping her, she will still let loose as soon as she’s on her belly.  So this is my theory, babies sleep better on their bellies because they are getting that gas out.  They aren’t uncomfortable, their bellies don’t hurt, they don’t want to get up and nurse to ease their belly pain.

Again, I would never let Emmy sleep on her belly until she is old enough to roll herself over, but what if this is the reason our parents keep telling us that we slept so much better?  Maybe they aren’t just being annoying.  Maybe they aren’t just trying to make us feel like we are doing something wrong.  Maybe, just maybe, the way we were put to sleep helped us sleep better and longer sooner JUST because of the gas issues.  Maybe this is why reflux and spitting up issues are rampant now.  I’d much rather be up a few times a night with her than to ever increase the risk of SIDS…. no question about it, but what if?

Just a thought…

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7 thoughts on “What Do You Think? Back vs Tummy: The Sleep Conundrum

  1. Hmm. Yes, I was a stomach sleeper too. (I guess most of us were?) My mother in law often lets Tabitha nap on her stomach, on her bed, while she is sitting there watching her. I am not bothered by this. I guess, I feel like we have zero risk factors for SIDS. I always thought babies preferred their stomachs because it felt more secure/less like “falling”… didn’t really think about it from a tummy trouble perspective but you might be right.
    Tabitha loves to sleep on her side. Honestly, at this point, I’d put her on her stomach if it would help her sleep. I’ve just never really figured out how to get her onto her stomach without waking her up or upsetting her. I never know where to put her arms, etc. I know SIDS is a very real thing (I know someone who it happened to!) but it’s not always from babies being on their stomachs.
    Sometimes I think that the older generation just has amnesia about how tough it was during the first year. They didn’t blog about it so they don’t have proof about the rough nights! I just think their memory is flawed…. it always makes me feel bad too! I want Tabs to sleep 6 hour straight, not this wake every 2 hour thing or less. It’s killing me.

    • Emmy LOVES sleeping on her side, which I just realized recently when we switched to the pack and play. she seems to sleep more soundly and is able to put herself to sleep if she wakes up during the transfer. Rolls over onto her side and passes out.
      I do not think SIDS is just about belly sleeping, I know there are tons of other factors, I just don’t want to increase the risk. Once she is able to roll over both ways, and lift her head, and yada yada, I’m good with however she is comfortable. I’d love to sleep on my belly again! I wonder if my breasts will ever be small enough for it again…. (Not that their normal size of DD is small….)
      I’d say they all have amnesia, but the older folks were great at keeping baby books updated and they all have dates for when we started sleeping through the night! Of course, they were probably rubbing whiskey on our gums too. 😉 So who knows what it really was!! Maybe smart phones emit a vibration that wakes them up every time the phone updates at night??? (Okay, I’m reaching…)

  2. It’s so crazy, isn’t it?! My mom and my grandmothers said the same. I HATE new parenting MUST-do’s, like making baby sleep on their back. I always put our older two on their sides, with sleep positioners, and they did really well. Our youngest slept exceptionally well on his tummy, so I let him nap this way, on the floor (on a blanket, of course) with me walking in and out of the room, for the first few months of his life. At night, I put him on his side. I don’t know, the back sleeping makes me nervous because I’ve seen my little ones spit up while on their back and them not be able to turn their heads. What if I hadn’t been there?!? Ugh…
    Too much stress, this whole mothering thing…lol 😉

  3. We swaddled for the first 3 months almost exclusively, so Daxton always slept on his back. But as he started being more squirmy, we stopped swaddling his arms and he almost immediately started sleeping on his side. And then the stomach sleep started and it freaked me out so much. I felt like i woke up every hour to check on him. Once he started learning how to roll both ways…it drastically improved everyone’s sleeping! He almost always sleeps on his belly now with his butt up in the air. haha

    • That sounds adorable!
      She is really enjoying sleeping on her side. She even talked herself to sleep last night after she woke up during a transfer. I doubt it will ever happen again, but it was magical. haha

  4. When I was a baby…some nearly 29 years ago… I was put on my tummy to sleep. When my sister and brother came along respectively 7 and 10 years later, common knowledge dictated to put babies on their sides. And now, with the “back to sleep” campaign, well…

    I think that no matter what we do, someone will tell us what they think we should change to get our little ones to sleep through the night. In my case, I was told that I have to stop nursing the little guy. I also think that our mothers and grandmothers have forgotten what it’s like to parent a baby. They couldn’t have all been STTN at 2, 3 months, right?

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