Home motherhood/family/parenting A Helpful Hint About Newborns

A Helpful Hint About Newborns

by Kelly Crawford

A heart-wrenching experience led me to remember a hint I thought would be good to give to mothers of infants. I hate to tie the two together, for reasons you will see, but I thought it would be good to share.

Sunday morning we got a call that a family we’ve known for a long time (and my sister’s best friend) had lost their 3 month old baby. The best they can tell (autopsy reports have not come back) the baby spit up in bed and aspirated.

My heart has been broken for this young family, and the grave-side service we attended Wednesday was so incredibly sad. That tiny casket…as a mother, watching another mother have to put her baby in the ground…and then walk away…it’s unthinkable to me and I could not stop sobbing as I watched.

Of course the accident was completely tragic and realistically unavoidable. And we believe God is sovereign over the timing of life. Yet, as mothers, there was the hum of “you just don’t know what to do….doctors tell you DO NOT put your babies down on their stomachs–backs only.” And of course the instructions have changed over the years.

And while I don’t want to underestimate God’s sovereign timing in the taking of a life, or remotely suggest that this baby’s life was ended “at the wrong time”, I know other mothers who hear these stories are left with fear and confusion about putting their babies down to sleep.

Years ago, we discovered a little secret we’ve done with all our babies. For the first 5 or 6 months of life, we let them sleep in their car seat. We tilt it back, put a soft, thick blanket in it, and wrap them snugly and nestle them down.

The two benefits I see is that this position seems to cuddle them more naturally as newborns, and they sleep better. This has always been our experience. Secondly, I worry less about aspiration or smothering because of their tilted position.

Just a helpful word I thought might be of some value to you mothers!

You may also like


Lynn January 1, 2009 - 10:35 pm

This post hits so close to home for me. My son is now six and very healthy. But at one week of age he spit up and aspirated. He was sleeping peacefully and the next thing I knew we was gagging and not able to breathe. He almost died. It was a terrible expirence as I watched him not able to breath. He ended up spending 48 hours in the hospital. Thankfully in the end he was fine. I am so sorry to hear about your friends. What a tragic thing to happen.

Kellie January 1, 2009 - 11:54 pm

Just curious– do you use an infant car seat carrier and just put it by your bed for them to sleep in?
Our babies seemed to sleep better in their car seats anyway. I never thought to let them do it all the time though. I’ll have to try that for the next one.

sheena January 2, 2009 - 2:05 am

‘And we believe God is sovereign over the timing of life. Yet, as mothers, there was the hum of “you just don’t know what to do….doctors tell you DO NOT put your babies down on their stomachs–backs only.” And of course the instructions have changed over the years.’

I completely agree with you.

We chose to keep our baby right next to me in bed while she was very little. I have heard that when a newborn stops breathing the sound of the mother’s steady breaths will often help to trigger the baby to restart breathing again. I have noticed this phenomena, personally, with two of my three children.
Of course, keeping your baby in bed with you is not always easy. Our baby is now one year old and she still wakes up to nurse at night and wants Mama. Still, for some mothers, co-sleeping is a warm and comforting way of caring for a tiny new life and is definitely worth any extra effort.

My heart and my prayers go out to your friend. I can’t imagine anything more painful than what she must be going through right now.

Mrs. Parunak January 2, 2009 - 2:09 am

What a gut-wrenching, tragic story. I will be praying for this family.

And thank you for your tip. It’s a good idea. My last baby took most of her naps in her bouncy seat during her early weeks. She seemed to love the cuddly, cradled position.

Sarah January 2, 2009 - 5:14 am

Do you think it would have a similar effect to raise the bassinet mattress a little bit? I’m about to have a baby and I want to use the bassinet we have.

Word Warrior January 2, 2009 - 9:18 am

our family & Sarah,

We put the car seat over in the baby's crib beside our bed–I like them to be off the floor and it's easier to check on them, etc.

Allison January 2, 2009 - 9:38 am

Yes! We discovered this tip with our 3rd baby. They are in the perfect position in their car seat. We actually have taken a car seat we aren’t using anymore and adapted it for this specific purpose. Thank you for sharing this!

Michelle January 2, 2009 - 10:29 am

Thank you for that tip.
I ignore most dr.s’ advice – my second son would not sleep at all when he hit 2 months unless he was on his belly…
All my other babies have slept on their sides.
I see no problem with belly-sleeping as long as there’s no fluffy bedding around them.
Prayers for your friends.

Kim M. January 2, 2009 - 11:33 am

NONE OF my boys would sleep just put on their backs; they would always turn over and end up on their tummies by morning. Your idea is a good one!

How horrible for that family… will be praying!

Vicki January 2, 2009 - 11:35 am

There were quite a few news articles in the UK some time ago, about the dangers of letting a child sleep for too long in a car seat. I’m sure they could be found by Googling. Maybe our baby car seats are different to yours? My children have all hated car seats lol! so it was never an option for me.

Not sure whether to leave this comment or not, but maybe something people should look into?

Civilla January 2, 2009 - 11:51 am

You’re right about advice changing all the time. When my children were born in the late ’80’s, we parents were told to raise the mattress at the head of the crib a little (put a rolled towel under the head of the mattress) and place the baby on its side to sleep. The raised mattress head would keep the food down in the baby’s stomach, and by laying on its side, (switch sides occasionally) it wouldn’t aspirate any spit up material. That’s what we were told then by the pediatricians.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made January 2, 2009 - 1:27 pm

That reclined position is excellent for reflux babies, like my twins have been. They have always slept better, great actually, in their car seats, or a reclined bouncer seat, but always hated laying down in a crib, even when put on their sides. I agree it is safer too.

I am so sorry for this family, & will pray for them…

Laura January 2, 2009 - 4:15 pm

There is a danger with carseats too though. Right on our chair it says not to sit the chair on a bed or table because they can flip over if the baby moves around and cause suffocation, if they are strapped in. If they are not strapped in, I know from first hand experience that the baby can buck himself right out of the chair. I learned this the hard way when my baby was two months old. Thankfully he did not die or hurt himself, but I will never again let my child sleep in its chair if its not strapped in.

I really don’t think there is any foolproof plan for ensuring our babies don’t die. They are in God’s hands no matter what happens.

Michelle (She Looketh Well) January 2, 2009 - 4:39 pm

My heart aches for that family. I prayed for them during my nap today.

I struggled GREATLY with fear over this very issue with our last one (ninth) We have always slept our babies on their tummy…we don’t always take the medical advice…nonconformists??

Anyway, the Lord did a real work spiritually in me during that time. I was, by His grace able to come to a place of complete trust.

I think the carseat idea is a good tip, I never thought of that.

Audrey January 2, 2009 - 7:14 pm

We too have our babies sleep in their car seats until it becomes clear that they can roll out of them. We have done this with our last 5 children and its worked perfectly for us. Before that we used the side laying pads, but our babies just seem to like to be all cuddled up in their seats.

Brandy January 2, 2009 - 8:11 pm

We have a 3 month old … she’s been sleeping in her Boppi pillow (it’s got straps, so she can’t slide out), right next to me. She’s a little inclined … and has that pillow all around her, so I don’t have to worry about rolling on her.

With our oldest (who’s now 5yrs old), there were a few nights that I had her sleep in her bouncy chair right next to our bed.

My heart goes out to that family …. how incredibly sad … I will say a prayer for them tonight.

Lady Jen January 3, 2009 - 11:22 am

Wow! Thanks. All my kids have liked to sleep in their car seats and I thought I was a horrible mother for not putting them in a “real” bed. Thanks for the validation and letting me know I’m not the only one. I didn’t even think about it being safer.

bran January 3, 2009 - 3:07 pm

How heartbreaking…
This last baby of mine was put on his tummy to sleep very early b/c he wouldn’t sleep on his back.
I did wrap his mattress in polyethelene first at the suggestion of some articles on the web suggesting that the real reason for SIDS is chemicals in flame resistant mattress products mixing with heat and slobber from baby and forming a fungus that puts off a gas deadly to babies in small amounts. DH and I decided it was the most reasonable explanation we’ve heard yet. It also took into account all of the other causes for SIDS. Some of your readers might be interested in doing an internet search on this topic.

Word Warrior January 3, 2009 - 3:10 pm


I have read the very same theory about SIDS, and it also seemed to me the most reasonable explanation.

The main reason we let ours sleep in their car seats (tilted back so as to not obstruct breathing) is that they sleep so much better. The added benefit, I think, is the prevention of aspiration.


Leave a Comment

Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram

Post Category

motherhood/family/parenting Uncategorized christian living homeschooling pregnancy/birth control marriage frugal living/saving money large families public school abortion feminism dating/courtship church/children's ministry entrepreneur pictures

Author's Picks

Why We Should Encourage Our Kids to Marry Young 220 comments Two Children are a Heritage From the Lord (After That, You Should Know... 173 comments Population Control Through Tetanus Vaccine 127 comments

Latest posts

The Power of Gathering Around the Table: Beyond Hospitality 0 comment Weddings, Getting Older, Navigating a Large Family & God’s Goodness 33 comments Help My Friends Find Their Child Through Adoption 0 comment The Shocking Truth About Education 2 comments

Copyright ©2023 Generationcedar. All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by Duke