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Front sleeping - how bad is it?

(16 Posts)
DorotheaHomeAlone Mon 04-Jul-16 09:25:24

My ds is 2 months old and has been a pretty dreadful sleeper even by newborn standards. For the first 9 weeks he mostly refused his cot entirely. Occasionally he'll do a couple of hours in there or in his sleepyhead at the start of the night but after that it's just been a mess.

I've ended up feeding him, winding him, holding him up until he goes to sleep then putting him down over and over. Each time he wakes either immediately or 10-20m later.

It's exhausting and I've often fallen asleep with him during this process which is very worrying. He'll sometimes sleep alongside me for an hour or so if I feed him to sleep (ebfeeding him). But that's not really a solution although obviously safer than just dropping off and waking up with him across my lap.

The last three of nights I've put him down on his from and he's slept for 6 hours straight! He also naps happily in the day if I put him on his belly. He's in a safe cot, no toys, cellular blanket and breathable mattress. He has good neck control and can easily lift his head in this position.

It's a god send as I also have a toddler to care for and its been so hard with no sleep. But I'm fretting and do is my husband. I know this isn't ideal but I'm weighing the risk against the fact I otherwise fall asleep with him which seems worse.

How bad is this?

whatsagoodusername Mon 04-Jul-16 09:40:03

Some DC people just sleep better on their front - one of mine did. It used to be standard sleeping advice.

I think the neck control is important, and once they start rolling then they will roll until they are comfortable anyway so if you're determined they will sleep on their back, you just spend a lot of time turning them over.

They have monitor mats that check the baby is breathing which are supposed to be good for this, although I forget the name because we didn't use one...

adagio Mon 04-Jul-16 09:41:01

[I am no expert]

I have a 3yo, who i followed all the rules for and she was a crap sleeper (much as you describe) for over a year. I also now have a 5month old, who got her first cold at 3 weeks old and basically had cold after cold after cold for 3 months until finally having a dose of antibiotics which seem to have 'reset' her system (thank god). Due to the constant snot the only way she could settle was on her front, or she choked. She has been sleeping 6h+ ever since we started front sleeping, despite the constant colds.

It does increase the risk of SIDS, but increased risk does not mean it will happen. For me, the risk of SIDS was outweighed by the higher risk of either her choking on her own sick in her sleep (thick snot trying to go down her throat made her gag), or me falling asleep with her upright on me and potentially dropping her. her crib was and is right by my bed so I can hear her breathe (and she can hear me, which will help her regulate).

My research online found that it is recognised that babies on their front sleep deeper - thats believed by some to be a potential factor in SIDs i.e. they go to sleep so deep they forget to breathe. That was just one article google threw up (no idea how true it is).

Might be worth getting an angel care or equivalent sleep monitor if you are worried?

Itsaplayonwords Mon 04-Jul-16 09:50:40

Definitely look at an angel care monitor - worth the money for the reassurance. Both of my daughters were born premature and spent time in NICU/SCBU. The nurses would regularly put them on their front to sleep, especially if they were unsettled and said its okay because they were on monitors. They did emphasise that you shouldn't do it at home but on the basis of having a suitable monitor I can't see how it's that different. My eldest had regular desats and laying on her front reduced them - the nurses said this is because their airways are more open when they lay on their front. Maybe have a chat with your HV and see if they'd be happy for your baby to sleep on their front if you had the apnoea monitor.

DorotheaHomeAlone Mon 04-Jul-16 15:22:42

That's interesting about the deeper sleep potentially being the risk element. I'd assumed it was just about them suffocating. I'll look into the monitor but obviously I don't want him to stop breathing in the first place. I just wish there was a bit more info to help me assess how dangerous it actually is. From what I've found the number of deaths dropped when they changed the advice but that seems to cover a few things (stuff in cot, in same room). I just can't tell how bad this one thing is if everything else is in line with the guidance. It can't be as bad as falling asleep with him.

kimmy726 Mon 04-Jul-16 15:38:29

My DD was a crap sleeper too! On her back or side, she slept 1-1.5 hours and kept waking. I put her on her tummy to sleep for naps during the day when I was awake and watching her, and she slept a lot better , less fidgeting and deeper. Then I bit the bullet and at 11 weeks put her to sleep in her next to me crib , along with the Angel care sensor monitor, and boom, 4 hours in one go. I felt like a new woman!
Now, at 17 weeks she's doing 5-6 hours in one go, waking up once in the night for a feed. My DD had silent reflux and tummy sleeping has really helped with that too, as I was also having her sleep on me, which isn't a good thing really.
As long as you're monitoring the sleep I'd say do what you need to fit sleep! Xx

DoctorTwo Mon 04-Jul-16 16:49:40

DS was a crap sleeper for the first few weeks until he had enough muscle to turn onto his stomach. Once he did that he'd sleep hours at a stretch. DGD is also a tummy sleeper.

Kittyrobin Mon 04-Jul-16 16:59:09

It increases the risk of sids so I wouldn't do it personally. However small the risk, it's not something I would chance.

FATEdestiny Mon 04-Jul-16 17:08:53

I can't link, but Google"lullaby trust evidence base" for the facts and detailed analysis. Section 3.1

Sleeping position is the single biggest risk factor in SIDs:

"*Subsequent studies from the UK, the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong have consistently reported that the proportion of infants sleeping prone is significantly higher among SIDS babies than among surviving controls*"

GreenSand Mon 04-Jul-16 17:12:12

Front sleeping increases the chance of SIDS.
However, we made the decision that, in the absence of any other risk factors, a chronically sleep deprived Mother (were talking DS1 who would feed for an hour, then sleep for 40 mins and repeat all night) was probably more of a risk to him than tummy sleeping.
It stretched him out to about 90 mins of sleep, so still not a heavy sleeper.

Strokethefurrywall Mon 04-Jul-16 17:17:45

DS2 rolled onto his stomach the moment he was born and was happiest sleeping that way.
I had him next to me in a newborn crib and decided after a couple of weeks of him settling badly in his back or side (or swaddled) he was happiest on his front where he could fart comfortably (and noisily).

Seems to be the position most favored by gassy infants I think! I just let him get on with it, he didn't uncurl from the foetal position until he was about 2 months!

missionmumlondon Wed 12-Apr-17 03:36:13

My DS is exactly the same! He will only sleep for 2 hours at night on his back and he's never liked being swaddles. I have the Motorola breathing sensor monitor plus video. I will trial out for the day and when confident I will try it out at night!

Thank you all for sharing your experience and advice!

3luckystars Wed 12-Apr-17 08:34:06

I know exactly what you are going through. Dd had bad reflux so was in the sling all day long and would sleep away on top of me, but would wake in the cot. She would sleep no bother on her tummy!

My sister reassured me that she was tummy sleeping by day on me anyway so what was the difference? (But there was a difference because I was awake by day!)
I read everything I could find about tummy sleeping because I was so tired and desperate for sleep. In the end I just couldn't do it, any increased risk at all was not worth it to me because I wouldn't be able to sleep if I was worrying! It's so hard.

My neighbour left her son sleep on his tummy from birth, the paediatrician told her to. It's up to yourself, it's just amazing how much better my daughter slept on her tummy, yet as mentioned above, that is the very danger.

Best of luck, wishing you a good nights sleep very soon x

mimiholls Wed 12-Apr-17 20:24:41

The evidence for increased sids risk for front sleeping is very clear but it is still a very tiny risk. You need to look closely at the research and decide if you're happy with the level or risk I would say.

Blossom789 Wed 12-Apr-17 21:00:48

From a stTs point of view I don't know but my generation (early 30s) were all put to sleep on our fronts. There may be higher rates of SIDS but it didn't wipe us all out. Just manage the risk as much as you can using the monitor

HelenaJustina Wed 12-Apr-17 21:16:16

I assessed and managed the risk as best I could, but all my DC preferred being on their stomachs. I figured that I was reducing the risk slightly by following every other piece of advice.

I fought it for less and less time with each DC, I still remember the night I caved with DC2, helped her roll over and she slept...

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