Basics Sleep

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air?

Babies can get in some pretty cute positions when they’re sleeping – a great example being when they sleep with their arms up above their head.

An equally cute and adorable position is when a baby or toddler sleeps with their butt in the air.

My daughter often slept in this super cute position, and if you’re reading this there’s a good chance your little one has suddenly adopted this habit too!

Curious parents often wonder why exactly do babies sleep with their bum in the air, and is this safe or something you should be concerned about?

Babies and toddlers typically sleep with their butt raised up for several reasons, including because it reminds them of the womb, it’s comforting, it’s linked to crawling and because it reminds them of being held by mom or dad.

Let’s take a closer look at this sleeping position in more detail.

Why Do Babies Sleep With Their Butt In The Air?

It’s worth noting that there is no scientific evidence or proof as to why a baby might sleep with their bum in the air, so pediatricians and sleep experts are only able to theorize about why this position is popular with babies and toddlers.

There are several possible reasons why your little one might sleep in this adorable and somewhat comical position – here are 5 of the most popular reasons or theories.

1. It Reminds Them of the Womb

The first reason comes down to what your baby was used to before they were born.

When your baby was in mommy’s womb, space was at a premium and they were therefore very snug, which means that for months, being tucked up was the only position they knew of.

The womb is a warm, safe and comfortable environment for a baby, so it makes sense for them to want to mimic the feeling of being in mommy’s tummy even after being born.

It’s almost as if your baby developed a habit of curling up in the womb, and they now associate this position with safety.

This is a valid and understandable reason why they might therefore have a preference for sleeping with their tooshie or rear end in the air!

2. It’s Comfortable

Another possible reason why babies sleep in the frog position is because it’s likely to be a very comfortable position to be in.

We all have our favorite or preferred sleeping position, and your newborn baby or toddler is certainly no different.

To promote safe sleep and reduce the risk of SIDS, it is recommended that you put your baby to sleep on their back for naps and at night.

But once your baby is a little bit older and can roll over by themselves, you might be concerned that they are sleeping face down, with their bottom in the air.

The good news is there’s nothing to worry about if you baby gets themselves into this position, and it’s perfectly normal for a baby to move when they are asleep.

They might well be doing so because they find it to be the most comfortable position to sleep in, and it’s worth remembering that what we as adults find comfortable is not always the same as a toddler, especially given how flexible babies are!

3. To Help Stay Warm

In the warmer summer months it’s recommended you put your baby to sleep wearing lightweight fabrics in a room that’s 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

And in the colder winter months, you should still target the same room temperature as above, but dress them in another layer or use a sleep sack or pajamas with a higher TOG rating.

Even if you follow the guidelines above, there will however be times when your baby feels a little too chilly, in which case they might sleep with their butt in the air or sleep on their knees in a bid to stay warm.

Newborns and young babies cannot regulate their body temperature particularly well, so it’s common for them to get cold hands and feet when sleeping, which could therefore be a reason why young babies sleeps with their butts in the air.

But even older babies, infants and toddlers can get cold feet when sleeping, so sleeping on their knees in a curled-up position, or with their bum in the air, can be an effective way for a baby to keep their feet, toes or even their entire body warm.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Baby & Toddler Sleep

4. It’s Linked To Crawling

Baby Boy Crawling on the Floor

Another valid and understandable reason why a baby or toddler might default to this sleeping position comes down to their stage of development, and the fact they are learning to crawl.

It’s believed that babies sleep in the frog position because this child’s pose is similar to the position a baby assumes when they are learning or have just learnt to crawl.

It takes time for a baby to develop the require strength and coordination to crawl, so when they are settling down to sleep your child might be “practicing” the movements they require to be able to crawl.

5. Similar Feeling To Being Held

The final explanation is similar to the first one, but revolves around the comfort and security of being held rather than the safety of the womb.

There is a strong resemblance between the butt in the air position and the way a baby is held in mom or dad’s arms.

Being so close to their parents, where they can feel your heartbeat and actually feel your breath and speech, is incredibly comforting, which is why babies like sleeping on your chest and why it can be difficult to get your newborn to sleep without being held.

When your baby is very young they are unable to move from the position you put them to sleep in, which as we mentioned above should be on their back.

But once your baby is a little older and their are nearing or have reached toddler age, they have the required strength to move into any position they want.

So in a bid to self-soothe and to help comfort themselves, especially if they are feeling stressed, a baby might try to replicate the feeling of being held by mom or dad by sleeping on their keens, or with their butt in the air.

Mother Holding Her Baby


  • It’s very common for a baby or toddler to sleep on their knees and to sleep with their butt in the air.
  • This is a natural and safe position, so there is nothing for parents to worry about, provided they are following other safe-sleep guidelines such as having an empty crib at naptime and bedtime and sleeping on a firm, flat surface such as their crib or bassinet.
  • The most likely reason for sleeping in this position is because it helps your baby feel safe, secure and comfortable.
  • Another possible reason could be because it’s a prelude to crawling, or because your little one is still mastering the art or learning to crawl.

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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