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When Can a Baby Sleep on Their Stomach?

When can a baby sleep on their stomach

When Can a Baby Sleep on Their Stomach?

Are you finding your baby sleeping on his stomach?  A panic feeling that comes over you when you find your baby has rolled in the middle of the night and is now sleeping on his stomach.  The panic feeling is worse when you find them face down

So, when can a baby sleep on their stomach so both of you can sleep better?  

We all hear the safe sleep warnings against placing babies on their stomach.  There is an abundance of research supporting placing an infant on his back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

What isn’t Clear, is When Can a Baby to Sleep on Their Stomach?

Unfortunately, parents are falsely assured from many sources, including pediatricians, that once their baby is strong enough to roll over, it is safe for their baby to sleep on their stomach. 

Using research-based evidence and compelling insight into the following topics, we navigate facts from fiction to determine when it is safe for your baby to sleep on their stomach.

Why Back Sleeping is Best

We know back sleeping is safest, but you may not know why.  According to the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force, “asphyxia is long been considered the primary cause of death in many instances of SIDS.  Frequent autopsy findings of pulmonary edema, often identified with asphyxia, are found with many SIDS deaths.  The practice of back sleep is known to protect against SIDS.   


Infants sleeping in a prone position or lying on or near a soft blanket or other soft bedding can rebreathe exhaled carbon dioxide.  Rebreathing leads to hypercarbia and hypoxia.  Hence, if the environment of infants does not change or infants are unable to escape the dangerous situation, they will ultimately die of asphyxia. (JAMA Pediatrics February 2017 Volume 171, Number 2)


Asphyxia occurs when oxygen is insufficient in the human body.  When an infant begins to rebreathe his exhaled air, he slowly deprives himself of oxygen.  Eventually, the constant re-breathing of carbon dioxide suppresses the infant’s breathing needs, leading to hypercarbia.


Hypercarbia is a condition of abnormally elevated carbon dioxide levels in the blood. Carbon dioxide is a gaseous product of the body’s metabolism and is usually expelled through the lungs.  Therefore, when carbon dioxide accumulates in the body, it leads to hypoxia.


Hypoxia is insufficient oxygen in the tissues to maintain physical function.

The belief is infants who;

  • sleep on their stomach,
  • sleep on soft bedding,
  • use a blanket,
  • have stuffed toys in their crib,
  • have bumper pads attached to their crib,
  • sleep with others,
  • have anything close to their face (including their hands and arms),

Are at increased risk of SIDS since these sleeping situations can trap harmful carbon dioxide.

Back sleeping and rebreathing

When infants sleep on their back without a blanket, there is a much lower risk anything can trap carbon dioxide.  Consequently, making it unlikely for an infant to constantly rebreathe his exhaled air.

In order for infants to safely sleep on their stomach, we must eliminate the risk of trapping carbon dioxide.  If we eliminate trapped carbon dioxide, infants cannot rebreathe it. 

Unfortunately, most crib mattresses trap carbon dioxide.  Traditional crib mattress designs contain fillers, vinyl coatings, quilted tops or solid coverings to prevent contamination. These fabrics and fillers all trap deadly carbon dioxide.

What is Rebreathing?

Rebreathing is when an infant lies face-down or near-face-down on his stomach, air is trapped around the baby’s nose or mouth. This causes the baby to breathe more CO2 than oxygen. If the baby does not wake up or react appropriately, it can lead to death.

Watch Professor David Greenblatt video for a visual on rebreathing.

After our analysis, we will introduce you to one crib mattress scientifically tested to eliminate the risk of rebreathing carbon dioxide even if  an infant is in a face-down position.  

Why Some Infants Who Sleep on Their Stomach are at Higher Risk

Most of us know the frightening feeling of a heavy blanket or pillow over our faces.  This feeling forces a natural trigger to remove the object blocking oxygen.  In addition, we do not worry about sleeping on our big fluffy pillows, pillow-top mattresses with our down quilts.  Why?  Because we have an innate sense to turn our head, even in deep sleep, when our breathing is compromised by the accumulation of carbon dioxide. 

Like adults, most infants turn their heads or fight to get something off their faces when carbon dioxide begins to cause breathing difficulties.  But unfortunately, some infants do not!  

A crib mattress eliminating the buildup of carbon dioxide saves lives.

Serotonin and rebreathing

In 2010, a group of scientists discovered the first direct correlation between SIDS / SUID deaths and serotonin levels.  This finding was discoverd by studying the brain stems of infants who died suddenly and unexpectedly.   

Serotonin is a brain chemical that conveys messages between cells and plays a crucial role in regulating breathing, heart rate and sleep.  Researchers theorize serotonin abnormalities reduce an infant’s “ability to respond to breathing difficulties, including low oxygen levels or high carbon dioxide levels. The leading scientist suggests SIDS is the result of infants rebreathing carbon dioxide accumulation in thier bedding and on their mattresses while sleeping on thier stomach. 

Dr. Hannah Kinney, “Babies who died of SIDS had abnormalities in serotonin in reigns of the brain stem that control breathing heart rate and blood pressure during sleep.”  When a baby is put face down in a bed, it begins to rebreathe carbon dioxide, which is toxic.

Several studies have followed, linking high serotonin levels in the blood of SIDS infants and deficiencies in serotonin receptors. These studies report a common result: reflex apnea and arousal reactions that lead to an infant’s inability to respond to rebreathing of carbon dioxide. In brief, some infants simply do not respond when they are in danger of rebreathing of their exhaled air!

Although the link between serotonin and SIDS / SIDS / SUID is a major finding in 2010.   More than ten years later, we still have no way of testing live infants to determine their serotonin levels, serotonin abnormalities, reflex apnea or arousal reactions. Consequently, all infants are at risk of rebreathing lethal carbon dioxide if they sleep on their stomach on a mattress that does not allow carbon dioxide to dissipate, or if they are in an unsafe sleep environment.

A crib mattress that eliminates carbon dioxide before an infant takes in their subsequent breath, was created by two individuals who experienced a similar tragedy.  One is a pediatrician.

Hypothalamus and rebreathing

Subsequent studies focus on how deficits in the hypothalamus region of the brain can cause infants insufficient responses to carbon dioxide rebreathing

The brainstem and hypothalamus are two regions in which nuclei play an important role in stress responses and arousal mechanisms.

As deaths attributed to SIDS occur during sleep, failure to arouse in a stressful situation is a component of the proposed death mechanism. The hypothalamus is a small but complex part of the brain with important roles in the homeostasis of energy balance, circadian rhythms and stress responses, as well as growth and reproductive behavior. As a regulatory center for so many functions, it receives input and transmits output to various other brain regions.

Therefore, since the hypothalamus controls many physiological functions and is highly interconnected with other brain regions, it is an excellent candidate for abnormalities that contribute to the pathogenesis of SIDS.

The reduction of carbon dioxide remains a major concern for safe infant sleep, as it leads to:

  • Asphyxia
  • Hypercarbia
  • Hypoxia

Dangerous Advice on When Can a Baby Sleep on Their Stomach

Recommendations from medical professionals and popular pregnancy resources appear to have a common theme: Once your baby can roll over, they are safe to sleep on their stomach.

Community Baby Center, a credible baby forum sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, states, “If your baby is strong enough to roll from back to stomach and stomach to back alone, you don’t have to worry about him rolling and sleeping on his stomach”. In addition, Parents Magazine says, “If your baby can flip himself on his stomach while sleeping, it’s okay to leave him that way.”

Unfortunately, this is dangerous advice!

Current research

New Zealand researchers report: “Parents and caregivers are often concerned about the appropriate strategy for infants who have learned to roll over, which usually takes place at four to six months of age.  As infants mature, they are more likely to roll.  In a study, 6% and 12% of 16 to 23-week-old infants placed on their backs or sides were in the prone position; among infants aged 24 weeks or older, 14% of those placed on their backs and 18% of those placed on their sides in the prone position. 

Repositioning a sleeping infant to the supine (back) position can be disruptive.  Consequently, this could discourage the supine position. 

Data to produce specific recommendations as to when can a baby sleep on their stomach, is lacking.

Infants placed on their back who roll

Further, research shows  more than a quarter of infants who died of SIDS while sleeping on their tummy were last put on their back. These researchers suggest an infant’s ability to escape potentially lethal situations during stomach sleep may be impaired by inexperience in prone sleep.  Dr. Moon later supported their findings (Head of the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force) and colleagues in their review of infant sleep deaths in childcare centers.   

Unintended consequences

Unfortunately, infant inexperience with stomach sleep is now a common, unintended consequence of the successful back-to-sleep campaign.  Babies who roll and are not used to sleeping on their stomach are at greater risk of SIDS. 

According to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, babies who never sleep on their stomachs do not learn behaviors that can reduce their risk of SIDS.  Consequently, the researchers warn infants should always be put on their backs to sleep.

In 2016, these same researchers recognized the safety benefits of air-permeable crib mattresses that do not allow carbon dioxide to accumulate on the mattress.

Babies who roll

“The first time babies who usually sleep on their backs or sides roll or are placed on their tummy have a 19-fold increase in the risk of sudden death,  We wonder if these babies, who find themselves face down, do not turn their heads to breathe because their reflexes haven’t developed far enough, or because they simply don’t wake up?” says SIDS researcher Bradley T. Thach, MD.

Additionally,  scientific studies indicate an ample head-lifting ability when lying on the stomach may not be sufficient to protect a baby from SIDS. “Many parents think if a baby can lift its head, it is okay to sleep on its tummy, but that is a false assurance,” Thach says. 

It’s starting to make sense why a crib mattress that eliminates the risk of an infant rebreathing their carbon dioxide is protective against SID!

About Dr. Thach

Dr. Brad Thach, now retired, spent most of his career as a SIDS researcher.  His research is still considered relevant.  He and Dr. James Kemp are credited with finding the link between rebreathing carbon dioxide and SIDS.

About Safe Sleep Policy Makers

Who are AAP policy-makers?  The Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Fetus and Newborn established the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force in the 1990s and currently monitors their work.  The members of the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force write the AAP Safe Sleep Policies and Guidelines.  The Task Force consists of five physicians who volunteer their time and expertise to make sense of the available data. Unfortunately, these scientists are not without their bias. 

For example, before the updated policy in 2016, a new doctor was added specializing in breastfeeding.  There is a new heightened awareness of the importance of breastfeeding to reduce the risk of SIDS.  Eventhoug, there are no gold standard scientific studies to support breastfeeding to prevent SIDS / SUID.

The AAP (including the Safe Sleep Task Force) does not endorse, certify or recommend certain products.  In addition, the AAP restricts interactions with manufacturers, making it difficult for manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe for consumers. 

Randomized Case Controlled Studies vs. Retrospective Analysis

AAP safe sleep policies are based on a retrospective analysis of infant deaths.  These investigations may be flawed.  Actual scientific tests are not carried out to prove SIDS theories, as unethical tests would be required.  Dr. James Kemp, who used baby bunnies, carried out the closest test showing rebreathing of carbon dioxide as a probable cause of SUID / SIDS. 

The AAP Safe Sleep Task Force use retrospective analyses to determine safe sleep recommendations.  Meaning, the best data they have is  filtering through thousands of infant death reports.  Next, they attempt to find correlations between infants in a particular age group, gender, weight, etc., to determine why some infants lived and others died.  Take, for example, the “back-to-sleep” recommendation.  These scientists found infants with similar profiles were more likely to die when they slept on their stomach than on their back.

Retrospective Analysis Can Be Flawed

Unfortunately, retrospective analysis data can be flawed and is subject to scientific interpretation.  SIDS death scene investigations are not currently standardized.  There are considerable efforts in this direction, but we are still not there.  It is up to the medical examiner or pathologist to determine the cause of death.  These individuals  take note of the series of events and the scene. 

However, some will be appropriate and complex in their findings and others will not.  Consequently, there is a high probability that one examiner will include data  that the other examiner will not.  Often examiners label a death as SIDS on the single fact the infant was sleeping during the incident.

Limitations of Safe Sleep Policy Makers

The absence of Randomized Case Controlled (Gold Standard) means recommendations are based on retrospective analyses.   For example, it is recommended not to use blankets for infants.  Instead, it is recommended to use wearable blankets.  There is no scientific study to conclude whether a wearable blanket prevents SIDS deaths. 

However, many death scene investigations show infants who died compared to infants in a similar environment who did not have loose blankets in their cribs.  This suggests loose blankets in the crib are an increased SIDS risk. 

The same applies to back sleep.  No gold standard scientific study has been carried out to show whether an infant is at increased risk of dying on his or her stomach. However, retrospective data shows infants who were on their back were much less likely to die during sleep, suggesting back sleep reduces the risk for SIDS.

Retrospective analysis suggests air-permeable sides and surfaces are preferable to air-impermeable sides and surfaces to protect against SIDS.  Science that dictates high air-permeability in crib mattresses is preferable.

SIDS and Crib Mattresses

Most of us know the importance of keeping fresh oxygen flowing to a sleeping baby.  Additionally, we now know the importance of avoiding anything in the crib that can block fresh oxygen or cause carbon dioxide to accumulate.  

Unfortunately, conventional crib mattresses with fiber fill, vinyl covers, quilted toppers, and loose sheets all impede fresh oxygen flow, Further, they cause causing carbon dioxide to accumulate.

According to Dr. James Kemp and Dr. Brad Thach, “These bedding materials prevent the dispersion of exhaled gases (carbon dioxide) and keep the gases near a face down infant’s mouth. With each subsequent breath, the infant takes in an air mixture gradually less appropriate to maintain life. The more conducive an object is to rebreathing (to preserve carbon dioxide), the more dangerous the object would be.”

SIDS experts agree infants sleeping on their  stomach on fiberfill crib mattresses, quilted surfaces, soft surfaces, pillow-like surfaces, vinyl pads, mattresses filled with tea tree bark and other natural fibers, and even surfaces that claim to be breathable, show an increased risk of rebreathing carbon dioxide.  

Imagine a crib mattress with no fill, no quilted topper, no need for sheets. A crib mattress with side opening and an open celled, firm topper that allows continuous air flow.

Safe Infant Sleeping in the Prone (Face-Down) Position

In the 2011 AAP Safe Sleep Policy and Technical Report, it states, “play yards and bassinets with vertical sides of air-permeable material may be preferable to those with air-impermeable sides.” The recommendation to include air-permeable sides in play yards and bassinets is based on retrospective studies by the AAP Chairperson of Task Force Safe Sleep, Dr. Rachel Moon and her colleague Dr. Jody Pike.

According to Moon and Pike, “We have carried out a retrospective review and analysis of deaths in bassinets between June 1990 and November 2004 reported to the CPSC.” Moon and Pike noted several infants who died were discovered with their faces near or pressed against the side of the bassinet or play yard that had no air-permeable sides.

In 2010, a pediatrician and her sister, a SIDS content expert,  began challenging members of the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force to include published studies confirming the safety benefits of air-permeable crib mattresses with no fill materials for infants who end up in a face-down position.  After all, they recommend air-permeable sides in bassinets and play yards.

Finally, in 2016, the AAP Safe Sleep Task Force states, “Crib mattresses were designed with air-permeable materials to reduce the rebreathing of expired gasses (carbon dioxide), in the event that an infant rolls to a prone position.  These crib mattresses may be preferable to those with air-impermeable materials.”

So, When Can A Baby Sleep on Their Stomach? 

After reviewing the following topics:

  • Why back sleeping is the best if your infant is sleeping on a traditional crib mattress with fiber fill or quilted surfaces.
  • We currently have no way to determine which infants who tummy sleep or roll over are at higher risk.
  • If your baby can roll over on their own from back to tummy and tummy to back, they are “safe” to tummy sleep – which is not only poor advice it could prove fatal.
  • Who our safe sleep policymakers are and the scientific limitations they face.
  • The issues with conventional crib mattresses that contribute to unsafe sleep conditions.
  • The safety benefits of air-permeability.

We can safely say there is no clear age or milestone to determine when it is safe for a baby to sleep on their stomach. However, there is an “air-permeable” alternative to conventional crib mattresses, recognized by AAP policymakers as preferable for infants who end up on their stomach while sleeping.

Air-permeable crib mattress

The test results of the SafeSleep® breathe-through crib mattress are included in the scientific studies reviewed by the AAP.  The SafeSleep® crib mattress is made of air-permeable materials and has no fill or core. Specifically, the design of the SafeSleep® air-permeable mattress eliminates the risk of rebreathing of expired gases (carbon dioxide) in the event that an infant is in a prone position during sleep.

SafeSleep ® does not have any fiber fill or core.  Instead, it has a hollow center with side openings and a firm, air-permeable topper to create an oxygen-rich environment.  

Scientific testing shows exhaled carbon dioxide is gone before a baby takes in their next breath, eliminating the risk of carbon dioxide rebreathing.

Best Crib Mattress
best crib mattress

Back sleep is safest, but if your baby insists on sleeping on his stomach, make sure he sleeps on an air-permeable crib mattress. If you want to learn more about the air-permeable crib mattress allowing an infant to breathe normally, even if face down, check out SafeSleep®’s fully breathe-through crib mattress.

We have no clear answer for when can a baby sleep on their stomach, but there is a clear answer for what a baby should sleep on if they are sleeping on their stomach! 

Inclined Baby Products are Proven Unsafe

Crib Mattress recommended by physicians

Safe Sleep in Car Seats

Inclined sleep products are proven unsafe for your baby.  On October 31, 2019 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues a warning to parents and caregivers about the dangers of popular inclined sleep products for infants.  The CPSC is basing this warning on a scientific study they conducted.  This study is part of a growing body of evidence showing that inclined sleepers do not provide a safe sleep environment for infants. 

Study Data on Safe Sleep in Inclined Sleep Products

The CPSC received reports of 1,108 incidents, including 73 infant deaths, related to infant inclined sleep products.  These incidents and deaths occurred from January 2005 through June 2019. CPSC hired independent expert Erin Mannen, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer specializing in biomechanics, to conduct the testing. Dr. Mannen measured infants’ muscle movements and oxygen saturation while in various products and positions.  These products include a flat crib, an inclined crib, and several inclined sleep products.  Dr. Mannen’s findings reveal none of the inclined sleep products her team tested are safe for infant sleep. Dr. Mannen’s report is conclusive that products with inclines 10 degrees or less, with flat and rigid surfaces, are likely safe for infant sleep. Dr. Mannen’s findings also reveal soft and plush-like sleep surfaces pose dangers to infants.

It is not surprising that Dr. Mannen’s study concludes infants should be placed to sleep on a firm, flat surface in a crib or bassinet. 

Car Seats and Safe Sleep

So, what is the American of Pediatrics’ (AAP) take on infant car seats?  Infant car seats puts infants in an inclined position.  We all know infants fall asleep in the car.

The AAP advises against letting babies sleep in car seats, strollers and other sitting devices.  In a recent article published in Reuters Health, Dr. Jeffrey D. Colvin of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine told Reuters Health. “Car seats are for cars, and they’re not a substitute for cribs or bassinets,” Most infant deaths in car-safety seats happen when the seat is being used as a napping spot, rather than for transportation.

Ben Hoffman, M.D., chairman of the AAP’s Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention Executive Committee, agrees. “All the data that we have on car seats indicate that there aren’t risks associated with babies sleeping in the car for short periods of time when they’re properly restrained in a car seat that’s been installed with appropriate positioning.”

Car Seat Safe Sleep Data

Colvin and his colleagues reviewed U.S. data on 11,779 infant sleep-related deaths in 2004-2014, of which three percent took place in a sitting device, such as a car seat, stroller or bouncer. Car safety seats accounted for nearly two-thirds of these deaths, and when the sitting devices are being used as directed, less than 10 percent of the time.

According to the study, most deaths occur while a child is at home or at a friend or relative’s home, and while a child is being supervised by a parent or guardian. Deaths in sitting devices are almost three times more likely to occur when a child is being supervised by a child-care provider rather than a parent and are twice as likely when a babysitter is watching the child.

In many cases, infants are not strapped into the seat properly, Colvin notes. “What we are seeing a lot as well, is the infant is being placed in the car seat in the house for hours and hours, and the parent who is supposed to be supervising the child goes to sleep.”

Car Seats are Not For Sleep

Because car seats are safety devices, and the safest place for babies to be while in a car, parents and caregivers may mistakenly believe that the seats are safe for sleep too. Low-income families are often forced to let their child sleep in a car seat because they can’t afford a crib or a bassinet at home.

“All parents, including me, have been guilty of taking a sleeping infant in a car seat out of the car and not wanting to risk waking them up,” Colvin said. “The safest thing to do for a sleeping infant outside of a car is to place them in a bassinet or a crib, but at an absolute minimum, that infant should be directly observed and fully strapped in.”

Safe Sleep for Infants

The AAP continues to emphasize that the best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard. Parents and caregivers should never add blankets, pillows or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs. 

According to the AAP;s 2016 Safe Sleep Technical report, air permeable surface may be preferable to air impermeable surfaces for infants who roll.  There are many safety features of a completely “breathe-through” crib mattress that the AAP recognizes as safe sleep for babies.

You can check www.cpsc.gov often to see if your nursery products have been recalled.  If your product has been recalled, promptly follow the recall instructions to receive a refund, replacement, or repair. Consumers who register their nursery products with the manufacturer’s registration card (included with nursery items) can be contacted directly by the manufacturer if there is a recall.

5 Amazing Resources for New Moms

Best Breathable Crib Mattress

These five amazing resources for new moms will be your favorite go-to’s. Becoming a mom is surely life-changing – they say when a baby is a born, so is a mom. I know that I completely changed as a woman after having my son. I felt a new found confidence and a feeling that I could do anything. Having a baby is not easy so once it’s done there’s an immense feeling of pride.

As a new mom I found these five amazing resources to be extremely helpful with tips, stories from moms, and just good reading to make motherhood fun. Let’s face it, even the basics for first-time moms is sometimes a hidden secret.

#1 Red Tricycle

With over a million mom readers each month, Red Tricycle will become one of your favorite basics for first-time moms.  Red Tricycle is an amazing website I love and frequent often.  The websites tagline says it best — “Find the coolest ideas for things to do, eat, see and make with your kids. Our mission is simple, help parents have more fun with their kids.”

I love reading the articles from their contributor network of moms too. Here’s an article that shares how to keep toddlers entertained at restaurants without using technology.

#2 Romper.com

With 82 million readers Romper.com is another guaranteed favorite for first-time moms. Their Instagram bio says it best:  “A new generation figuring out what motherhood means for us.”

They have really fabulous round-up articles like this one:  Winter Gear for Babies to Keep them Warm & Cozy

I also love their heartfelt stories like this article about honoring our little babies on World Preemie Day.

#3 Family Sleep Institute

As first time parents we learned the hard way about not letting our baby learn how to self-soothe back to sleep on his own. Instead he needed mommy to rock him back to sleep. So 16 weeks straight of our baby waking up every one to two hours all night long turned our world upside down.

We tried everything and nothing worked. You can learn more about what saved us and how to get baby to sleep in a crib all night long after JUST ONE NIGHT.

So this is why we chose The Family Sleep Institute (FSI) website as a top resource for new moms. They certify sleep consultants and their program is amazing. So any certified sleep consultant that comes from FSI you know will be amazing.

You can find a certified child sleep consultant anywhere in the US and it’s all done virtually so you do not need to be local to them.

#4 Faust Island

I adore this blogger and her articles are awesome. This website offers a ton of green living and family tips and some fun posts too.

Some of my favorites basics for first-time moms are:

#5 Baby-Chick.com

This is last on the list but certainly not least. It’s one of my favorite resources for first-time moms and most frequented websites.

This site is all about giving moms education, inspiration and a smile. With nearly 500k social media followers and growing fast, bookmark this website too – you won’t be disappointed.

Baby-Chick says it best, “We believe in celebrating this time in a woman’s life and supporting each mother through her parenting journey. Through our website and social media channels, we provide an empowering, educational and uplifting experience to expectant women and mothers by giving them helpful information so that they can make better informed decisions for themselves and their family.”

How awesome is this?!

My favorites (so many to choose from):

How we Potty Trained in One Day

5 Products that Celebrity Moms Love

As moms we are so busy, so it’s great to take time to read an article each day not only to learn from other moms and relate to our fellow mom superheroes.

Hiccups May Help Babies Regulate Breathing

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Scientists have discovered hiccups may help babies regulate their breathing.  Baby’s who can regulate their breathing are less likely to get in stressful situations while sleeping.

About the study:

In a study led by University College London (UCL), researchers monitored “13 newborn babies” and “found that hiccuping triggered a large wave of brain signals which could aid their development.” The study’s senior author Lorenzo Fabrizi said the observed brain activity might help babies “learn how to regulate their breathing muscles.” The study, which was published in Clinical Neurophysiology, suggests that hiccups “may play a crucial role in our development – by helping babies regulate their breathing.”

The highlights of the study reveal:

1)  Diaphragm contraction in newborns evoked a sequence of three event-related potentials.

2)  Hiccups can be encoded by the brain as early as ten weeks prior to average time of birth.

3)  Hiccups – frequent in newborns – provide afferent input to the developing brain

Ectroencephalogram (EEG) activity

The CNN Health Study tested whether diaphragm contraction provides afferent input to the developing brain, as following limb muscle contraction. In 13 infants on the neonatal ward (30–42 weeks corrected gestational age), ectroencephalogram (EEG) activity were analyzed.  EEG is a test that detects electrical activity in the brain.   All bouts of hiccups of the infants occurred during wakefulness or active sleep.

Why Hiccups May Help babies regulate breathing:

The study confirms, Involuntary isolated body movements are prominent in pre-term and full-term infants.  Hiccups are involuntary contractions of respiratory muscles, primarily the diaphragm.  Hiccups, observed in newborns, provides nerve impulses to the brain to the developing sensory cortices in pre-term and full-term infants – helping babies regulate breathing

Further, Hiccups are frequent throughout the human perinatal period during active phases of the infant. The perinatal period starts at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends 1 to 4 weeks after birth.  Involuntary contraction of the diaphragm can be encoded by the brain from as early as ten weeks prior to the average time of birth.

The study’s senior author Lorenzo Fabrizi states, “When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns.”  This leads to our theory that hiccups may help regulate breathing in babies.

See the full study on why hiccups may help babies regulate their breathing here 

Helping babies regulate their breathing is an important safeguard for infant safe sleep.



Keep Baby & Toddler Safe at Home

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Keeping baby and toddler safe at home can sometimes produce high anxiety.  We try to watch our kids every moment and be there to catch them for every tumble.  Unfortunately we cannot be there 100% of the time. It’s very important that we prevent injuries to our little ones as best as possible.One way is to identify and know hidden hazards around the home.

#1 Hidden Hazards in the Crib 

Many parents are unaware of the risks that a traditional crib mattress poses. Fiber-fill crib mattresses trap carbon dioxide.  If baby rolls over and breathes face down, or even has an arm or hand up near their face, there is a high risk of trapping and rebreathing carbon dioxide.  Rebreathing carbon dioxide leads to hypoxia, a form of suffocation.  In many instances, rebreathing deaths are coded as SIDS. 

One way of keeping your baby and toddler safe from this hidden danger while sleeping, is to use a Breathe-Through Crib Mattress.  The Safe Sleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is the only crib mattress where babies can breathe normally even if face down all night. There’s no crib sheet, or fiber fill to cause the hidden danger of carbon dioxide rebreathing.  Instead, the air permeable topper sits over a hollowed airspace producing constant airflow.  Baby’s face down can breathe normally right through the mattress without trapping carbon dioxide. BONUS: it’s made from recycled and eco-friendly products!

#2 Door Hinges

My son had a play date with his friend from school, and his mom had to cancel because he had a horrific injury happen. His middle finger was in the door hinge when someone closed the door and it cut the tip of the finger right off!

It is so sad to see our little friend sitting in the hospital with his cast.

After this happened. I was determined to prevent this hidden hazard.
I found some great solutions. They have many different door shield guards that are easy to install and protect against pinched fingers available on many e-commerce sites.

#3 Small Coins & Button Batteries can be Lethal Hidden Hazards

Always keep coins and button batteries far out of reach and tucked away where babies and toddlers cannot get to. According to poison control, “swallowed batteries burn through a child’s esophagus in just 2 hours, leading to surgery, months with feeding and breathing tubes, and even death.” SOURCE

If your child begins vomiting consistently for no apparent reason, chances are they swallowed  something that is lodged in the throat.  Many parents mistake this reaction as a food allergy.  Be sure to insist on a chest X-ray in the ER.  A chest X-ray can determine if your child did swallow something.

#4 Dressers, Bookshelves & TVs 

“In the U.S., a child dies every two weeks from furniture tipping over, and 42 percent of those fatalities occur in the bedroom.” (SOURCE)

We all probably remember that big IKEA recall due to the death of six children, but it’s not just IKEA furniture that poses a risk.

By securing all dressers, shelves, and TVs to the walls so if a child tries to climb up it, you can easily prevent this hidden danger.

#4 Things in the Crib

We have come a long way educating parents on safe sleep for babies, but we still have a ways to go because we see photos of babies sleeping in cribs packed full of stuff like pillows, blankets, bumpers, toys, and stuffed animals. NO. NO. NO. Please never have anything in the crib with your baby.These items all pose a hidden danger to your sleeping baby.

A SafeSleep Crib Mattress, the best breathe-through crib mattress for babies, and a wearable blanket on baby is all that should be in the crib EVER.

Get in the habit of not putting anything in the crib even during awake times. The crib is for sleeping and, babies can become confused if they play in the crib with toys.

#5 Crib Rail Covers

When babies start to teethe they chew on everything including the rails of the crib. Ingesting toxic chemicals and paint is a hidden hazard for baby, but there’s a simple solution.

KidKusion invented these amazing gummi crib rail covers that stick right on. Babies can now safely chew on their rails and get relief from the unique texture, but without ingesting anything toxic.

#6 Corners

When my little onestarted cruising around (holding onto furniture to “walk” around) anytime he was near a corner I would dash over to protect him. Kid Kusion has these awesome furniture edge and corner cushions to protect babies and toddlers from falling on sharp furniture.

#7 Eco Cleaners

Most parents lock up their cupboards so babies cannot get into cleaning products, but cleaning with toxic chemicals still harms your children.  Instead, make a swap for green cleaning products so that you and your family don’t have to be exposed to the hidden hazards in chemicals.

Favorite all time cleaners:

Let’s protect our little ones and make sure these hazards are not hidden anymore in your home. What other safety tips do you have?