Learning about safe and unsafe baby sleeping positions is crucial to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
Doctors recommend that newborns be put to sleep on their backs. However, sometimes you will lay them on the back only to find them in funny postures that might worry you. For instance, you might wonder if it is okay if your baby sleeps with hands behind the head.
This article will discuss why babies sleep with hands behind their heads and whether you should push them to the side. Read on!
4 Reasons Why Your Baby Sleeps With Hands Behind Their Head
Here are possible reasons why your baby sleeps with hands behind their head:
1. Baby Is Experimenting With the New Sleeping Positions
As your baby grows, they experiment with new sleeping positions for comfortable sleep.
Babies turn and change postures, which might be why your baby has their hands behind the head. Yes, babies can take different sleeping positions just like adults.
Therefore, if you catch your baby in this posture, understand that it might be their sleep position. If you decide to remove the hands, they might wake up. However, do not hesitate to straighten their hands if it poses a safety risk.
2. It Is a Result Of The Startle Reflex
Your baby might be sleeping with their hands behind the head because that is where they rested after a startle reflex. The startle reflex is a reaction the baby gets in response to sudden noise, light, or movement in their sleep.
Have you ever witnessed your baby suddenly throw their hands and legs in the air or bend their back during sleep? Then you witness the Moro or startle reflex.
Most parents are bothered by the startle reflex because it might wake the baby. But, it is part of growth milestones, and you should be worried if your baby doesn’t have them.
3. It Is A Comfortable Sleeping Position
Paediatricians recommend that babies should be laid on a flat surface. But some babies find it uncomfortable to sleep without head support. In search of support, some babies put their hands behind their heads.
Have you ever noted that you unconsciously put your hands behind your head while relaxing on your back? The same applies to babies.
They replay good moments during their sleep, and having their hands behind their heads makes them more comfortable. If this is the case, you will catch them in this posture with a smile on their face.
If you change their sleeping position at such a moment, they might wake up with a cry because you have interrupted their good moments. Therefore, leave them to enjoy as long as they are safe.
4. It Is An Infant Sleeping Position
Babies up to 4 months sleep on their backs only because they have not learned how to roll and change positions. At this age, their only option during sleep is to move their hands, which might end up at the back of the head.
Therefore, it is part of being an infant for your baby to sleep with their hands behind the head.
You will see less of this position once they learn how to turn. Thus, let them enjoy this position while it lasts but ensure they are safe.
Is It Right Or Wrong For A Baby To Sleep With Hands Behind Their Head?
Knowing whether it is right or wrong for your baby to sleep with their hands behind their head is crucial for their safety. The last thing you want is for your baby to die in their sleep because of a sleeping position you could easily change.
Whether it is right or wrong for a baby to sleep with hands behind the head depends on whether it’s a habit and if the crib is safe.
Sometimes babies take this position because they are just infants or because it is a comfortable sleeping position. However, do not let them make it their only sleeping position.
The position can be dangerous if the baby tilts their head and blocks the trachea because it makes it difficult for them to breathe. Such cases cause the baby to suffocate because they cannot recover from the distress.
Moreover, ensure that the baby is sleeping on a safe sleeping surface. A safe crib should:
- Have a firm mattress
- Not have loose bedding
- Be free of comforters, wedges, positioners, and quilters
Can I Stop The Baby From Sleeping With Their Hands Behind Their Head?
You can do nothing to stop the baby from sleeping with hands behind their head. The baby switches to this position because it is comfortable, a result of the startle reflex, and it is an infant sleeping position.
However, you should change the position because the baby might tilt their head, experience breathing difficulties and be hypoxic.
If your baby has made it a habit to sleep with hands behind their head, pull them to the side. The star sleeping position is safe because the baby cannot block their airways.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Does My Baby Sleep With Hands Behind The Head?
Babies sleep with hands behind the head because it is a comfortable position, is a typical infant sleeping position, and is a result of startle reflux.
2. Is It Safe For A Baby To Sleep With Hands Behind The Head?
Babies enjoy sleeping with their hands behind the head because it is comfortable. However, the position can become dangerous if the baby tilts the head and blocks the airways.
If you decide not to disturb them, keep a close eye to ensure that the baby does not tilt their head to a position that might cause suffocation.
3. Is The Position Of The Baby’s Arms Important For Sleep?
The hand position of a sleeping baby is essential because it offers some benefits and dangers. For example, sleeping with the arms up or on the side prevents overheating, while sleeping with the hands behind the head could lead to suffocation.
Parenting involves observing and questioning your baby’s actions, so you are not weird to worry about their sleeping position. We hope you understand why your baby sleeps with hands behind your head and whether it is okay.