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Why do they put preemies to sleep on their stomach?

I'm just curious. I just saw pictures a friend of mine posted on Facebook of her new little girl, she was born at 32 weeks. Anyway, in the pictures she was sleeping on her stomach with a blanket over her. I've noticed this before in other pictures of preemies in the hospital. Why do they put preemies on their stomachs instead of on their backs when such a huge deal is made out of "back to sleep" and no loose blankets with full term babies? I know they're being monitored constantly in the hospital, but they can't be monitored constantly once they go home and then they would be used to being on their tummy. I would think preemies would be at a greater risk of SIDS but maybe I'm wrong.


Asked by Anonymous at 12:00 AM on Apr. 18, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • my daughter was put on her stomach because sleeping that way mimicked kangaroo care, even when someone wasn't there to hold her she was in that postion or on her side and her condition improved dramatically because of it. her oxygen sats would drop when she was put on her back. she couldn't handle being on her back for long until she was 6 weeks old (36 weeks gestation). so in her case sleeping on her stomach was safer than on her back.

    Answer by jcsmummy at 1:50 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • Our doctor told us that tummy time was good to help strengthen those lungs. maybe that is why, I do not know. Good question.

    Answer by vickwu at 12:04 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • Preemies ARE at a greater risk of SIDS, but not until they are between 2 and 4 months old. They put preemies on their tummies because babies are biologically designed for tummy sleeping, and they sleep better that way.

    Answer by Ati_13 at 12:04 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • many preemies are hooked up to oxygen as well. and they are closely monitered for movement and breathing.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:08 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • They are on oxygen and monitors that would set off an alarm if anything need to worry. Some are sent home with the monitor too. It also is better for them that way, but, dangerous for home with no alarm.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 12:19 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • Actually they can be monitored at home. Both my kids had monitors for heart rate and breathing. At the hospital they constantly moved them into all kinds of positions. At home we were supposed to shift them from side to side using the foam wedge supports. Our doctor said they no longer recommended the "back to sleep" because it causes too many problems with torticollis and flat areas on the head.


    Answer by BlooBird at 12:37 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • "They" still recommend back to sleep along with a whole list of other things to reduce a baby's risk of SIDS. Not all premature babies are on monitors and they still let them be on their tummy. They do all kinds of unsafe things with hospitalized babies.

    Answer by Gailll at 1:04 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • Sleep on the tummy helps the baby mantain body tempture and helps the lungs by using the muscles.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:38 AM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • sleeping on their tummies is natural and comfortable. when my babies were not in the nook of my arm, they were sleeping on their tummies. hospitals go against the recommendations b/c of the close monitoring. personally, i would like to see some studies done on weather or not vaccines play ant role in sids,

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 7:18 AM on Apr. 18, 2010