Monday, June 9, 2014

Sleeping Like a Baby? Depends on your Definition.

I always joke that I sleep like a baby.  My head hits the pillow and I am out for the count, usually seven to nine hours.  A friend I have traveled with says that by the time she gets in her bed and says 'good night' I am long gone.  Well, ya gotta be quick.  (I also do not get up during the night, unlike many folks I know who are my age.)

But now that I am babysitting my grandson all day, I realize that I sleep much better than a baby.  To me, the easiest explanation is that I am sleeping on my side, very comfortably.  New parents today are warned that their baby MUST sleep on his/her back.  Allowing a baby to sleep on his stomach may mean certain death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

I vaguely remember hearing about this when my children were born between 1977 and 1981, but paid it no mind.  None of my sons had low birth weight, I was not a smoker, nor was I malnourished during pregnancy. My babies came home from the hospital and slept every night in their own cribs, in their own rooms, on their tummies.

Now, babies bunk with Mom and Dad in their own special sleep units next to the parent's bed.  On their backs, of course.  I'm not sure how anyone gets any rest.

Curiosity got the best of me and I started 'Googling' articles about SIDS.  I discovered that they know little more about this than they did 30 years ago.  I figured if there was something neurological that caused a baby to stop breathing, than it wouldn't matter if the baby was on his back or tummy.  And then I saw some statistic that said that half of SIDS deaths in a ten-year study involved a baby on his/her back.

Charlie fussed for two hours this morning.  I could tell that he was really tired.  He would fall asleep on my chest while I was sitting in the chair, but no sooner had I lain him down in his sleeper, on his back, of course, he would start fussing again.

Getting frustrated myself, I brought him in here and put him in the bassinet on his tummy with his head turned to the side, just as I used to do with my sons.  I sat in here and read a book.  He conked out for two hours and only woke up when the phone rang, a little too loudly.  He got changed, ate, got changed again and went back to sleep in my arms.  I laid him back in the bassinet and he continued sleeping, on his tummy.  He just now picked up his head and turned it to the other side.

Babies spend nine months in an environment where they are free to move and get cozy.  His mommy's 3-D ultrasound shows a happy baby curled in the fetal position.  Someone please tell me how you can suddenly come into the world and find any comfort lying on your back (which is the reason I am sure that they tell parents to swaddle their child).  I've never been able to sleep that way.  I don't think most babies are getting much rest in that position either, but that is just my opinion.

And yes, I could just sit in the chair and hold him while he sleeps.  The problem is that I get sleepy watching him sleep and I want to sleep, 'just like a baby'.


  1. I used to say the same thing,, but lately I have been having problems getting to sleep, don't really know why. I do have to get up during the night, but I understand that is a side effect of diabetes.

  2. A dear friend of mine lost her baby to SIDS and no the medical field have no clue. I can say that Little Shayne slept through the night from the beginning. My mom and another lady were surprised at his slow progress. He was 6mths old and my mom thought he acted more like he was 3 months. I do not have children so I couldn't tell. Another friend babysat him one night and noticed that his feet were bluish/purple. She told my friend who brought Shayne to the Dr's. The Dr said he was fine but, to me, that means circulation. In Jan 2006 he got sick-breathing seemed difficult and yet the Dr said all seemed ok. My friend stayed up with him until she could no longer and she placed him in bed but placed blankets and a pillow so he would be a little on his side. She went to catch some sleep and her husband watched. He was on the phone when he heard her screams. She found Shayne and he passed away. The autopsy revealed nothing out of the ordinary but I wonder to this day if he was receiving the right oxygen. It is one of the most sad things I have ever experienced. My mom always said she made sure we slept a little on our sides or back but never on our tummy's. Who knows

    1. In your friend's case it certainly looks like thee was something going on that was not diagnosed. From the reading I have done it appears that ten or more years ago a lot of deaths were labeled SIDS when they had no idea what happened.

  3. Both my babies slept on their tummies too. We wouldn't hear of putting them to sleep on their backs. What if they vomited and choked on it. I think parents need to quit listening so much to the experts and do what is right for their babies. Some babies just need to sleep on their tummies. Mine did! I can't imagine sleeping flat on my back and being comfortable at all.

  4. I can never get to sleep on my back, mostly because when I try to, the cat tries to get comfy on my belly, which usually makes me want to pee; if I lie on my front though, I get a nice kitty back massage which sends me straight off to sleep! ;-)


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