Baby sleep positions

Last night when I went to bed my baby was in the strangest sleeping position. She was on her knees with her bum in the air and her head down on the mattress facing one side with her arms outstretched but twisted with the palms upwards. Kind of like a child’s pose in yoga combined with a twisting pose. I had a bit of a dilemma deciding whether to leave her peacefully sleeping or try to move her, or takea funny photo, but in the end I decided she was obviously comfy so I left her like that.

Whenever I check on her sleeping, or go to bed in the same room, I always wonder what position I will find her in. I enter the room and holding my breath stand over the cot, by the low light of the Calpol infuser, and let my eyes adjust as I make out where her head and body are. It gives me reassurance, because I know her face is free to breathe easily and if she wakes in the night I’ll know where to find her.

When she was little it was much simpler, she always slept on her back, and the only variation was whether her head was to the left or right, and whether her left or right arm was raised up besides her head.

Baby asleep on back with arm raised by head
Sleeping in the Snuzpod at 2 months old

Since she got mobile bedtime is a much more wriggly affair. Her favourite sleep position is on her front with her face to one side and her arms cradling her head, or tucked into her side.

Baby asleep on front through white cot bars
Sleeping in cot at 11 months

However if she doesn’t fall asleep straight away she tosses and turns trying to get comfy. She sits up and flings herself down trying to find new positions. It reminds me of a cartoon of a person with insomnia, complete with overdramatic sighs and hypothetical pillow thumping.

As adults we have a sense of what direction a bed faces and generally sleep in one alignment, but for babies there’s no sense of one end being better than the other. They can equally have their head at either end, or even sideways or diagonally.

Safe sleeping guidelines recommend babies are best sleeping on their backs, but once they can fully roll both ways there’s no need to panic if they roll over, because they can always roll back if they need to. I always start putting her on her back and sometimes she falls asleep like that, but she often turns before I’ve even left the room. I’m not sure what the sleep experts would say to some of the positions she finds herself in, but I am careful to check her face isn’t covered.

Last night I left her in the strange position and I went to sleep on my side (my sleeping positions are much more predictable and boring). I got a few hours sleep and woke up when I heard her coughing in her sleep. I checked and she had moved onto her side, and was perfectly safe and comfy, so I was glad I hadn’t woken her earlier to move her.

I don’t know at what age she will grow out of this ability to sleep in strange positions, and will recognise the conventions of which way up a bed goes. However I think I’ll be a bit sad when it passes. I like that she can do her own thing and add a bit of personality and mystery to bedtime.

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