Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air? 9 Best Reasons

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air

When you have a little one, everything they do calls for observation. We can’t get enough of watching what our sweet little babies do. Even the sleeping position a baby chooses is cute! However, at some point, most parents wonder: Why do babies sleep with their butt in the air?

This sleeping position seems to be a hit with all little ones. A baby can fall asleep in nearly any position, but one of their favorite sleeping positions is with their bum in the air. There are reasons and myths surrounding just why this is.

In this article, we’ll talk about baby’s sleeping habits and things like baby sleep science and more.

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt in the Air?

There are various reasons why a baby may sleep with their butt in the air. Below we outline the top reasons.

1. The Fetal Position

When you see babies sleeping with their butts in the air, you may wonder why this is. Most adults don’t sleep like this, so why would a baby? Legs underneath, butt in the air, almost in a frog position, we must wonder why our baby sleeps in this frog-like pose.

Think about the position that most babies are in when they are still in the womb. This may explain why babies assume this position to fall asleep. Little ones spend nearly a year in utero, in a tight space, in this frog position.

This, of all sleeping positions, is the chosen position for nearly every sleeping baby, and research indicates that a lot of it may have to do with simple muscle memory. This is how babies sleep in the womb, and they naturally just fall into the position of sleeping with their butt in the air.

Adults Don’t Drop the Habit Either

It seems a little bit strange that all babies sleep in this frog position. And it makes sense that they do it when they’re very young because of muscle memory. It’s probably an assumption by many parents that it’s something that a baby will grow out of. Sleeping patterns for baby’s sleep will change, so the position will, too, right?

Consider this, though. Many adults sleep in this same position, just rolled onto their side. Baby sleeps on their stomach for this, with knees tucked under the body, but if you turned yourself up onto your belly when you sleep on your side, your butt would most likely be in the air, too. And your sleeping position would resemble the way your child sleeps.

Some, if not many adults, sleep this way, as well, just rolled over onto their side.

2. It Makes for Comfortable Sleep

A baby curled up like a roast chicken is adorable, but many babies sleep like this, with legs tucked under, simply because it’s comfy.

When a baby learns to crawl or sit up unassisted and gets exhausted, it’s perfectly normal for them to flop forward and rest. Baby’s muscles wear out quickly when learning new skills, and this is a default position that babies love.

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air

3. To Self Soothe

Sleeping curled up in a little ball with their butt in the air is an excellent way to self-soothe. Just like in an adult’s yoga class, certain positions create positive emotions, and if your little girl or boy likes to sleep face down and butt up, then it’s entirely possible that your baby likes the way it makes them feel: happy and safe.

Your little one slept undisturbed for nine months in warmth and safety. Young ones may not remember this, but the feelings are familiar and feel remarkably similar to what they used to experience when fast asleep inside mommy’s tummy.

4. Before They Start Crawling

When babies learn to crawl, they naturally shift onto their bellies. This new position quickly becomes a favorite, especially when they know that putting their arms and legs underneath them and moving them can get them somewhere!

Sleeping is no exception, and often, even in bed, babies prefer sleeping in a crawling position that is simply more relaxed, which puts their butts in the air. This makes for more comfortable sleep because they’re used to spending a large portion of their day while awake in this position, trying to learn to crawl.

5. Warmth

Temperatures outside and inside tend to be a little bit cooler at night. And since it is not recommended that a baby sleeps with a blanket until after age one, sometimes a baby will stick their bum in the air and tuck their arms underneath their bellies to stay warm.

If you have an older baby who can sleep with a blanket and notice them sleeping at night in this position, try covering them with a blanket and see what happens.

Often, the baby will abandon how they slept in the womb and instead stretch out. This is because the blanket offers warmth, and they no longer need to sleep with their butt up to get that warmth.

6. Cuddly Babies Love It

Sitting with your little one in a rocking chair or recliner and holding your baby on your chest is very soothing and comfortable. Your baby can hear your heartbeat, which is very reminiscent of when they were still in your uterus.

Small babies may curl their feet underneath them on your chest and sleep with their butt in the air so that they can relax, feel your skin, bond, and listen to your heartbeat. Babies who love to cuddle like this often prefer this position to sleep in.

There are Even Myths Surrounding this Child’s Pose

Somewhere in all of the wondering, someone asked, “Why do babies sleep with their butt in the air?” and some truly wild answers were invented.

Myths and wives’ tales exist for nearly everything, even when answering why babies sleep with their butts in the air. The following are just a few of the myths surrounding this sleeping preference of infants.

7. Scared Baby

I’m sure this has produced more than a few offended parents who have made the mistake of asking the wrong person, “Why do babies sleep with their butt in the air?”

The origin and thought process of this is that a child who sleeps like this must be afraid of the dark because they’re in a somewhat defensive position with their butt in the air.

There’s not a scrap of truth to this, however. If it were true, then nearly all parents would have frightened babies. Rest assured that your little one is simply sleeping as they did in the womb.

8. Asking for or Predicting a Sibling

If you have a brand new baby, the last thing you want to hear is that that little bum in the air means you’re going to have another baby soon. This old wives’ tale is still believed to be true by many. It extends to when the baby is awake and goes into the “downward dog” position when learning to stand and walk.

While some swear by it, nearly all babies put their butts in the air, and plenty of only children and youngest children in families prove that this is simply a myth.

9. A Bowlegged Baby

Another not-so-wonderful myth surrounding a baby butt in the air when asleep is that this sleeping position causes a child to be bowlegged.

This most likely came about because some may think that to lay like this would put strain or tension on the small and still growing bones of the lower legs. This, in theory, would cause a child to end up bowlegged.

However, if this were the case, none of us would have the body we have. To lay at night with our arms tucked and our legs tucked, and our butts in the air as infants does not cause our legs to be misshapen at all.

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air

At what age can babies sleep on their stomach?

After asking, “Why do babies sleep with their butt in the air?” you may ask if it’s safe for babies to sleep this way. The answer isn’t entirely straightforward.

It is recommended to always put a baby to sleep on their backs. What happens if the baby rolls onto their tummy and assumes this frog position anyway?

Safe Sleep

Babies sleep in this butt in the air position through preference. But it may not be completely safe to allow them to do so.

We want our little ones to have a comfortable sleep, but safety is more important. Sudden infant death syndrome is a significant risk to babies. There is no known exact cause for SIDS, but there are ways that doctors and researchers have found to help prevent it.

The risk of sudden infant death syndrome reduces significantly after six months, and one of the most strongly advised pieces of advice to help prevent it is always to put your baby to sleep on their back.

Even though your infant may love sleeping with their butt in the air, don’t just put them to bed on their stomachs and let babies sleep in this manner. Always put baby to sleep on its back.

It is also important that you don’t have anything in the crib with your baby, like pillows, blankets, or toys. These items all pose a significant suffocation risk. If you are worried that your infant will get cold, put them in warm pajamas or a sleep sack.

When Babies Roll in their Sleep

Once a baby starts to roll on their own and begin to incorporate it into their sleeping patterns, it’s okay to allow them to stay on their bellies if they roll over and sleep with their butt in the air. Once your baby has developed these motor skills, falling asleep and then rolling onto their tummies is baby safe and no longer cause for concern.

To encourage babies to roll (which usually occurs between four and six months of age), tummy time is a great exercise. It helps your baby to develop muscle control and motor skills such as lifting and turning their head and rolling.

Should You Put Your Child in this Position After They Can Roll?

If you’ve learned the answer to: Why do babies sleep with their butt in the air? Then it makes sense to want to bypass making a baby who can roll on their own work for that preferred position and just start them off in it.

However, it’s not advised.

Just like how you yourself would get into bed and then adjust to the way you want to lay to go to sleep, you should allow your rolling older infant to put themselves in this position. Always start with your baby on their back to sleep. If it’s not comfortable, and your baby would rather sleep with their butt up, then they will quickly find this position.

Most young ones learning to crawl will go right to this position.

It is also recommended that you put your child in their bed while sleepy but still awake, which will help them train to go to sleep and give them plenty of time and opportunity to get into whatever position they want to sleep in for the night.

Conclusion

They may seem tiny and helpless, but once they can roll around on their own, your little bundle of joy is more than capable of arranging their body into whatever shape they find most comfortable to sleep in.

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