Why do Babies Sleep on Their Knees

Babies are known for sleeping in various positions, including on their backs, stomachs, and even on their sides. However, it is not uncommon to see babies sleeping on their knees. In this article, we will explore why babies adopt this position during sleep.

The Sleep Cycle of Babies

Before discussing the kneeling position, it is crucial to understand the sleep cycle of babies. Unlike adults, babies’ sleep cycle is shorter and lighter. They may wake up frequently during the night and take shorter naps during the day.

The Importance of Sleep for Babies

Sleep is essential for a baby’s growth and development. It is during sleep that the body repairs itself and consolidates memories. A lack of sleep can lead to irritability, fussiness, and even developmental delays.

Common Reasons for the Kneeling Position

It is not entirely clear why babies adopt the kneeling position during sleep. However, some experts suggest that it may be due to comfort or a desire to change their sleeping position. Some babies may find it easier to breathe or have less reflux in this position.

Possible Health Implications of Sleeping on the Knees

Sleeping on the knees is generally considered safe for babies. However, parents should be mindful of potential health implications, such as the risk of putting pressure on the knees or hips. If your baby seems uncomfortable or develops any unusual symptoms, consult a pediatrician.

Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep Better

Regardless of the sleeping position, parents can take steps to help their babies sleep better. Here are some tips:

  • Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment

A comfortable sleep environment is essential for babies. Ensure that the room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using a white noise machine or humidifier to help your baby sleep.

  • Developing a Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine can help your baby associate certain activities with sleep. Try to establish a routine that includes a bath, reading a story, and a lullaby.

  • Swaddling Your Baby

Swaddling can help your baby feel secure and calm during sleep. Use a swaddle blanket or sleep sack to wrap your baby tightly, ensuring that their arms are positioned comfortably.

  • Co-sleeping

Co-sleeping can be a controversial topic, but it can help some parents and babies get better sleep. If you choose to co-sleep, ensure that your baby is on a flat surface with no blankets or pillows that could suffocate them.

The Benefits of Sleeping on the Knees

You may have noticed that your baby sometimes sleeps on their knees, and wondered why they prefer this position. While it may seem uncomfortable to us adults, sleeping on the knees can actually be beneficial for babies. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improved Breathing: Sleeping on the knees can help to open up a baby’s airways and improve their breathing. This is particularly helpful for infants who suffer from congestion or respiratory issues. By sleeping in this position, babies are able to breathe more easily and may be less likely to wake up in the middle of the night due to breathing difficulties.
  • Reduced Reflux: Another benefit of sleeping on the knees is that it can help to reduce reflux in babies. Reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing discomfort and sometimes even vomiting. Sleeping on the knees can help to keep the baby’s head elevated, which can prevent reflux from occurring. This is especially important for babies who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Comfort: Many babies find sleeping on their knees to be a comfortable position. This may be because it allows them to feel more secure and cozy, or because it relieves pressure on their tummies. Babies who sleep well are generally happier and healthier, so anything that helps them to sleep more soundly is a good thing.

Other Sleeping Positions for Babies

While some babies may prefer to sleep on their knees, there are several other sleeping positions that are safe and comfortable for infants. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Back Sleeping: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, as this is the safest position for reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Back sleeping is particularly important for babies under 1 year of age, as they are at the highest risk for SIDS.
  • Stomach Sleeping: Stomach sleeping is not recommended for babies, as it increases the risk of SIDS. However, some babies may prefer this position, and may have difficulty sleeping in any other position. If your baby is able to roll over onto their stomach on their own, it’s still important to put them to sleep on their back.
  • Side Sleeping: Side sleeping is not recommended for babies, as they may roll over onto their stomach and increase their risk of SIDS. However, some babies may find it comfortable to sleep on their side while being held by a caregiver.


While sleeping on their knees may not be the most common sleeping position for babies, it does have some potential benefits, such as improved breathing and reduced reflux. However, every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Ultimately, it’s important to pay attention to your baby’s cues and do what works best for them. Regardless of the sleeping position, it’s important to follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of SIDS.