Sleeping on his stomach, Oliver has us a little worried

You’ll recall that I wrote yesterday about Oliver rolling over for the first time. Well, it was all fun and games until it was time for bed. That’s because he’d be in his bed and roll over onto his stomach and not be able to return to laying on his back.

Allowing a baby to sleep on his stomach is a major SIDS risk. There’s a reason why SIDS-related deaths have dropped by 50 percent since 1993 (when it was first recommended by pediatricians to place babies on their backs).

The first time we found Oliver on his back, we flipped him back over and got ready for bed. A few minutes later, I heard the sheets swish and then a thud and grunt on the monitor. I ran down there and he was sleeping on his stomach again, face pressed against the mattress with his head pinned against the side rail of his crib. So we stayed up for 45 more minutes, reading books for tips and advice and continually checking on him and rolling back several more times. Most times, he’d be face-planted into the mattress, huffing and puffing. Other times, he’d just be sleeping in that position with little chance to breath in fresh air.

Our research didn’t turn up much help, so we eventually strapped Oliver into his bouncer for the night. He slept fine in there, but we realized that we’d have to move him back at some point.

Today, on the advice of my good friend Jen and some online research conducted by my wife, we bought a bed monitor that goes under the mattress and will let us know if our son stops breathing. I’m sure he’d be fine without it, but we can rest easier knowing that we have a safeguard in place. We waited too long and tried too hard to have Oliver in our lives that even if there’s a one-in-a-million chance that something terrible could happen, it’s not worth the risk.

What do you think? Did we overreact? Have you had these same fears with your kids? Let me know. I’d like reassurance that we’re not going to turn into those freaky, overprotective parents that we never wanted to become.

9 thoughts on “Sleeping on his stomach, Oliver has us a little worried

  1. By the time they can roll over, I understand that the risk of SIDS dramatically declines. You’re doing what you need to do to, ahem, sleep better. Just know that my nephew started to sleep through the night once he was allowed to sleep on his stomach. Coincidence? 🙂

  2. We’ve been using the Angel moniter since Day 1 and it is a huge comfort. Our doctor told us that by the time they are strong enough to roll over, they are strong enough and able to move their heads when they aren’t getting enough air. You could always try a sleep positioner if it still worries you though.

  3. We bought the Angel monitoring system and installed it yesterday. I’m sure it will provide some comfort, but last night we were still worried. He just kept face-planting and crying. Then I’d turn him over and he’d immediately roll right back over and start crying again. I did that for about an hour straight before putting him in his bouncer (again) for the night. I hope we get this right soon.

  4. Actually, there’s no proof that stomach sleeping causes SIDS but the correlation, as you point out, between a reduction in deaths and putting babies on their backs is too strong to ignore. We were militant about back sleeping with Lila but actually let Rosalie sleep on her stomach whenever she wants. My point being, do what makes you feel most comfortable.

  5. The SIDS thing is a lot like second-hand smoke. People say that it causes cancer, but at last check (and I admit it’s been a few years), there hadn’t been any scientific studies conducted that linked second-hand smoke to cancer. Again, though, too hard to ignore and not infer a link.I really think that starting them young, like you are doing with Rosalie, might be helpful because Oliver just doesn’t know how to sleep on his stomach. It’s a learning process, though last night was much better than the two previous ones. We’ll keep trying.

  6. 30 & 40 years ago, they told us to put them on their stomachs (something about if they vomit they could choke on it). Babies do sleep better on their stomachs. Since you have the monitor, you might try letting him be on his stomach and let him cry a while. (I know that sounds terrible) Our oldest was terrible about going to sleep and I was the softee, but Jerry insisted that we let her cry and once she finally went to sleep knowing we weren’t coming, it was pretty easy after that. My daughter’s pediatrician told her to let her baby cry 5 minutes, then go in and comfort her (not pick her up), then extend the waiting time each time and do the same and that seemed to work for her, but she may have been older than Oliver at that time. Do you use a pacifier, or is he one of those that spits it out? Ha. They say they need the sucking in those early months and it is really helpful for parents also, however, it is best if you take it away before he is a year old. Well this is probably too much information, but oh well. I love the bath photo with the curly mohawk!! He is a beautiful little boy and his name is perfect for him. You are great parents!

  7. Thanks for the comment and the advice (and for even reading this blog, for that matter!). We are trying to let him sleep on his stomach, but he is struggling a little bit. I think that when they start out sleeping on their stomachs, as your kids do, they learn how to do it correctly. Because Oliver was on his back for over four months, he has to re-learn how to sleep, so to speak. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

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