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Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butts In The Air?

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Babies do some very strange things that other parents just never think to mention.

For new parents, they can often be a cause of stress and worry as to whether they are normal or not. One of these questions will be why do babies sleep with their butts in the air?

It can make for some amusing photographs but it doesn’t mean that as a parent you are not concerned about your little one’s new favorite sleeping position.

Now there are a host of different reasons why your baby has chosen this weird sleeping position, so let’s take a look and see if we can put your mind at rest.

Why Does My Baby Sleep With Their Butt In The Air?

When you first bring your baby home, you’ll find yourself questioning even the simplest of tasks to make sure you’re doing right by them.

As they eventually gain a bit more mobility, you may find yourself noticing the positions they seem most comfortable in when sleeping. One of which is your baby sleeping on their knees.

This is also known as the frog position. But should you be concerned?

Familiarity

Your little one has just spent 9 long months safely squished in your belly, always warm, fed, and comfortable.

Their tiny adorable body will still have the muscle memory of being cuddled up in your tummy as their body slowly grows and adjusts to life in the big wide world.

This position is very similar to how they will have been laid in the womb, meaning it provides a familiar comfort to them and results in peaceful sleep for them (and you!).

You do not have to move your child over to their back again once they have developed the skill to roll over, you should welcome and embrace it as the amazing milestone it is.

You also may find, if you normally would rock them in a swing or cuddle them in your arms until they fall asleep, the feeling of sleeping with their butt in the air is not too dissimilar to that of you holding them.

The pressure from their closely folded limbs provides that reassuring feeling they are not alone and still have someone there to look after them as they rest.

More Mobility

At this stage, your baby will also start to find they have more control over their limbs, meaning they can make themselves comfortable whichever way they find.

For many babies, they will sleep on their fronts as soon as they discover the ability to roll and flip over, it is very important you don’t place your child on their front to sleep and ensure they do this themselves.

Pretty soon after your child discovers the ability to flip themselves over, they will start discovering the world of crawling.

This is an amazing chance to ensure lots of tummy time, maybe try placing some toys just out of their reach to get that little brain working towards the goal of independent movement!

Tight Muscles

Your child may also find this position most comfortable as their muscles and nervous system are still developing and maturing every day. This means they are more comfortable keeping their arms and legs tucked into themselves.

A lot of parents find the best way to help relax their baby is through lots of skin-to-skin contact.

You will find your child enjoys laying with their butt in the air on your chest as they can feel your warmth, smell your familiar scent, and hear your heartbeat that was there all along when they were in the womb.

This also counts towards their daily tummy time, which is massively important to ensure your child hits those milestones such as rolling, crawling, and neck control.

Safe Sleeping Guidelines

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS presents a greater risk the younger your child is.

When your child can comfortably roll over to their front you do not need to flip them back as they will be able to manage this themselves, although you will find yourself anxiously watching to see if they are okay!

However, if you place your baby on their front before they have the muscle capacity to facilitate flipping back over, this can pose serious suffocation and safety risks. Always consult your pediatrician for appropriate and up-to-date safe sleeping advice.  

FAQs

Why do babies sleep better in bed with mom?

Most commonly the answer to this is simple, they feel safe. Babies are not used to sleeping in their own space and find comfort in knowing their caregiver is near should they need anything.

You will find breastfeeding babies especially like knowing mom is near as they sleep more lightly and wake more often for feeds.

This is because breastmilk is easier to digest than formula and is lower in calories. This means the baby will feed more frequently to ensure the mom’s milk supply stays healthy.

Can babies sense when you’re not in the room?

One of the amazing developmental milestones your little one will go through is something called object permanence. This means they will realize that even when mom, dad, or anyone else leaves the room, they still exist.

As crazy as this may sound to us, it goes to show just how many incredible little things our babies learn from simple day-to-day movements and activities.

Fun games like Peekaboo help to reassure your child that even though you have gone, you will come back! This helps with any separation anxiety your little one may show. 

Picture presenting cute sleeping baby

What positions should babies NOT sleep in?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that placing a baby to sleep on their side provides no benefit to your baby.

It also has many risks as they may not be able to get themselves in or out of this position which can provide a suffocation risk. Many times people believe babies who tend to suffer from reflux or vomiting can benefit from sleeping on their side, however, this is not true.

Is it ok for my newborn to sleep with their head to the side?

As previously mentioned, the best and safest way for your baby to sleep is on their back. However, it is also important to be aware of your child developing flat spots in their skulls.

Baby’s bones and skulls are very soft, meaning that regular pressure such as laying flat on their back can affect the growing structure.

Due to the lack of neck muscles, newborn babies do not have the ability to support the weight of their heads until roughly the age of 4 months.

This means if their head regularly flops over to the same side, this may present some visible flattening or indentation. If you have any doubts, contact your pediatrician for more advice on how to treat or prevent flat heads in babies. 

The Final Thought

So sleeping with their butt in the air although strange is perfectly normal and just another milestone that your beautiful baby has hit.

Babies do so many strange and unusual things that no one things to mention to a new parent but for the most part, they are pretty normal and just a part of their development.

It is advised that you follow the safe sleeping guidelines that are recommended by the AAP in order to keep your little one as safe as possible while they are sleeping.

Hi, I'm Emma and I'm a mother to 5 beautiful children aged from 1 to 21 years old- life is hectic! I have learned so much along the way, not only from my own children but also through my professional life. In my positions as a Childminder and Teaching Assistant, I have studied Child Development and The Early Years Developing Practice. I wish to share all of this knowledge and help you with your own parenting journey!