Is It Normal For A 3 Month Old To Be Sleeping On Their Side? 

As an adult, you probably have your sleeping position preferences. Some people sleep on their backs, others on their bellies, and some on their sides. Side sleeping feels excellent for many, especially if you have someone to cuddle up to at night. Everyone is different, and how you sleep is your prerogative. 

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But what about babies? While they still may develop a preference, sometimes, the way the baby is sleeping can put your baby at risk of death. The way a baby sleeps can either increase or decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS. When your baby is young, sleeping on their back tends to be the safest way to reduce the risk of SIDS. So what happens when your baby refuses to do so and sleeps on their side? Is it good for them, and if not, how can you prevent your baby from side sleeping? Let’s find out, and look at tips for safe sleeping baby positions.

Side Sleeping Babies 

As a parent, you know that a young baby sleeping on their belly is bad, while the back is good. So what happens when it’s a little bit in-between? Is it a gray area, or is it worth stopping? What do you do if you find your baby starts to roll on to their side at an early age? You know you need to place your baby in their bed laying on their back. But, once they fall asleep, they could move to other sleeping positions. Then what?

While the side position in of itself is not necessarily bad, it can mean that your baby is more likely to roll on their belly. And that’s not good, especially with a baby as young as three months. Stomach sleeping increases the risk of SIDS in infants. 

Around that age, babies can’t be able to roll independently. An older baby who can do so can just roll to their back if a certain position is uncomfortable. But a young baby cannot do that and risks the chance of a position that can kill them. Sudden infant death syndrome is a real thing, and not something that anyone should have to deal with if it can be helped. And while we said that side sleeping isn’t known to cause SIDS, it is known to result in babies taking a stomach sleeping position eventually, and that does increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Some medical conditions make a baby need to sleep on their side, but otherwise, don’t risk it. If you feel there is cause for concern, have your child medically reviewed by a professional to see if there is a reason your baby needs to be side sleeping. If your baby keeps rolling on their side, make sure they are staying on their back, as this is the safest position. It is not healthy for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side. It’s usually pretty easy to roll a side sleeping baby back onto their back without even waking them up.

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Preventing Side Sleepers

Sometimes, babies get into that sleep position on their own, and you may wonder how you can avoid it. Putting the baby on their back is the best move, but what happens when they keep turning to their side? You might find yourself thinking, shouldn’t I just leave my sleeping baby alone? No, you shouldn’t. Side sleeping at this age needs to be avoided. Here are things that you can do.

Swaddling

Swaddling is when you wrap a baby in a swaddle, and it mimics the feeling of being in the womb. It’s tight enough to prevent the baby from moving but loose enough, so it isn’t uncomfortable. Swaddling is worth trying if you have a baby who is always moving around. Until your baby reaches an age when he or she is old enough to roll around independently, it’s worth trying. You can swaddle your baby with a blanket or with a sleep sack that comes with a Velcro swaddle piece to go over the top. As the baby gets a little older, you can continue to use the sleep sack as a wearable blanket.

Some babies prefer to sleep on their side. They may resist swaddling for a bit. However, with time, your baby will learn to love it, and they will love every bit of it. In this way, babies won’t engage in it since it is not healthy for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side.

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When A Baby Starts To Roll 

Around the 3-4 month range, a baby starts learning to roll, and that’s when side or stomach sleeping occurs. When your baby is awake, teaching them to roll is a good thing, and it helps grow their muscles. However, when they’re sleeping, this is when it’s a problem. They may not be strong enough to roll back. A baby’s head is too heavy for them to lift and hold up for very long. That’s one of the reasons rolling over is so tough for infants. It starts to become a bit safer when a baby is sleeping on one side once the baby’s head is under better control.

Keep them swaddled until then. As for the crib, clear it of any toys or any objects, and make sure there are no sheets or pillows the baby could become entangled with. Your crib should be clear of anything and have nothing fancy in it. When your baby can roll around, it’s usually safe for them to sleep on their side. Whatever your baby sleeps in, crib or bassinet, there shouldn’t be anything in their bed with them, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It can be frustrating. You can empathize with your baby. You may sleep on your side and have a harder time sleeping on your back, but preventing your baby from side sleeping until they’re old enough to do so is the best way to prevent SIDS. SIDS is no laughing matter; it can strike suddenly, as per its name. While all of the exact causes are unknown, a baby sleeping on their stomach is one reason why SIDS can happen. We know that babies who are sleeping on their backs in crib or bassinet beds are less likely to experience sudden infant death syndrome. Allowing a baby who is too young to continue side sleeping can turn out badly so if your baby is  sleeping on side positions, place your baby back on their back to keep your baby safe at night.

When Does A Baby Master Rolling Over? 

Rolling over is the stage that precedes crawling. When a baby rolls, it can be able to move around, and it’s when a baby can sleep well. On average, a baby rolls over between 5-6 months and masters it a month or so later. There are a couple of early birds and some late bloomers in the field of rolling, so don’t think that it’s a big deal if your baby rolls over later or earlier in life. It won’t affect their development. You don’t need to have your child medically reviewed unless they’re getting closer to a year or so old and still haven’t made this milestone.

Tummy Time Helps 

One way to teach your baby how to roll over sooner is through tummy time. This is when you put your baby on their tummy during playtime for a few minutes, increasing as a baby gets older. This builds up your baby’s muscles, and it’s a good idea for any baby of any age. It’s something worth trying as soon as your baby is born. Although at the newborn stage, a baby can’t be on their tummy for too long. Usually, it’s just for a few minutes, and then they can grow later on with time. A baby’s head is very heavy for them so they have to work on developing the muscles in their necks and cores so they can hold their head up. Make sure that every time you do place your baby on his or her tummy that you stay right there with them in case they get into trouble and need your help.

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It Takes Time 

The takeaway is that it takes a while for babies to master rolling. They may roll to their stomach, but be unable to roll back. With time, your baby can fully rollover, and they can sleep wherever they want to. When your baby is rolling both ways, that’s a great thing, and it’s something that you can be proud of. Your baby is growing, and watching them learn simple things like rolling feels so good. Understand that side sleeping isn’t a bad thing once your little one is old enough to go from side sleep to stomach sleep, back to side sleep and on over to back sleeping all on their own. Baby sleep positions are about so much more than just comfort. Side sleeping too early could ultimately cost your baby’s life, so stick to the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on safe baby sleep positions to ensure better health for your baby.

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Conclusion

Your baby should not be sleeping on their side when they are three months old. While the position itself won’t hurt them, it risks them rolling on their stomach, where the risk of SIDS goes up. Always remember that it is not normal for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side. Swaddling a baby until they’re old enough to roll independently may be a good move. With that said, you should still check up on your baby when they’re sleeping to make sure that they didn’t break out of the position when they are sleeping. If you’re feeling very concerned for your child’s safety because of side sleeping, you can call your pediatrician and have your baby medically reviewed. You’ll get to have all of your questions answered about side sleeping so you can feel more at peace when your baby sleeps.

FAQs

 Is it okay for a baby to sleep on their side?
Babies should be put to sleep lying on their back, not their stomach or sides, because that is the safest position for them. It is not normal for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side. Children who have been medically reviewed and found to be a baby sleeping on side positions are at a higher risk for SIDS.

Can 7-month-old babies sleep on their side?
It is excellent for the baby to remain in the sleep position they choose if they roll over from front to back. If your 7 month old is able to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back without your help, then side sleeping should be just fine.

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What should you do when your baby rolls over in his sleep?
It’s best to flip your baby on their back. A 3 month old side sleeping baby should not be left in that position.

What age can babies and toddlers sleep on their stomach?
Babies can sleep on their stomachs between 4 and 6 months, in some cases. However, it’s best if they are closer to 9 months or so before they really start sleeping on their stomachs. 

How do I stop my baby sleeping on his side?
Newborns stay in the same position when they sleep. It is not normal for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side. The best way to prevent your baby from sleeping on their side is to lay them on their back. You can try to prevent side sleeping by swaddling, too. 

Should I stop swaddling when the baby rolls to side?
Swaddling is a calming routine for your baby. However, you need to stop swaddling once the baby reaches the developmental milestone of rolling over. A swaddled baby will have a hard time rolling back over, which could result in harm.

Should I roll my baby back over at night?
Babies start rolling over on their own when they are 4 to 6 months. It is a natural part of their growth, so you need not worry. If they are rolling and side sleeping before that, though, you should place them back onto their backs.

Is side-lying breastfeeding safe?
The side-lying position in breastfeeding is a good choice when you don’t want to sit up at night. But you should remember that it’s important to note that the bed-sharing can be dangerous. Consider it not normal for a three-month-old to be sleeping on their side because it is uncomfortable and unsafe. Medically reviewed cases of co-sleeping situations have been determined to be unsafe.

Should newborns sleep on an incline?
Experts and professionals warn parents never to allow a baby to sleep in pillows, rockers, car seats, as well as other products that hold an infant at an incline position. Medically reviewed cases have revealed that it can cut off the baby’s airflow resulting in death.

Can I let my 6-month-old sleep on his stomach?
Yes, it’s okay to leave your baby in that position. Because by the time your child can do this, the risk for SIDS is much lower.

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What happens if a baby rolls on their stomach while sleeping?
SIDS and other medically reviewed sleep-related causes of infant death can happen if babies are placed on their stomachs for sleep.

When can baby sleep face down?
If your baby can manage his or her head and rolling over, that is the only time you allow him or her to sleep face down.

Do babies sleep better on their stomachs?
Though it is pretty much common, a lot of experts urge parents to put babies to sleep on their backs and never on the stomach. After many medically reviewed cases of SIDS, it’s been determined that back sleeping is much safer for young babies. 

 

Last Updated on September 13, 2020 by Marie Miguel

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