What To Do When Your Baby Is Rolling Over In Sleep

A napping baby
Source: flickr.com

Your child has reached a new developmental milestone: your baby is rolling over! You are ecstatic about your precious creation learning a new skill but then the dread sits in. What happens when your sleeping child rolls over at night? What if he or she gets stuck? What about suffocation? And then there is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)! As soon as this achievement is attained, there are all these endless, scary possibilities, which can be sleepless nights for you and your whole family. Well, don’t get too worried too quickly. There are a few things you need to know about safe infant sleep.

First off, celebrate your baby’s achievement because that is what it is!  This is one of the child’s developmental milestones. Your child is growing every day and just seeing him or her transform before you is the most amazing and wonderful feeling in the world. When a baby begins to roll over, they engage and strengthen the upper body muscles as they lift and turn their head, push against the surface, and rotate their body.  Savor this moment – even when you sleep train at age 4 months – because soon your tiny, sleeping baby will be crawling, walking, and then running!  But until then, here are some questions you may have that can easily be answered.

How Do I Keep My Baby From Rolling Over While Sleeping?

There are a few safe solutions for this. Sleepers are an excellent way to keep your little one from rolling during sleep at night.  Now sleepers are different from the swaddle. Do not put on a swaddle when your baby starts rolling. Swaddles come loose and can become a suffocation hazard, especially when your child is still trying to practice rolling. Make sure the sleeper is the right size and not too big. Any loose clothing can become a suffocation hazard, including loose bedding in the sleep environment. You should also read about the best sleep tips, allowing babies to establish a comfortable sleep routine.

Source: flickr.com

I want to add that this is perfectly normal. Health professionals state that when babies start rolling, it is okay for them to be in the position of transitioning onto their stomach, shifting from back to tummy. Most babies typically roll from back to tummy when they are within  5-7 months. There is only about a week where your child will be weak at rolling and may end up stuck.  So try not to worry too much. Just make sure the bed is clear of blankets, pillows, toys, and any other suffocation hazards as these may cause safety concerns in the sleep environment.

What If My Baby Is Rolling Over In Sleep?

What if your baby rolls onto their stomach while they sleep? Should you let your child roll over at all? As I said earlier, young babies are fine to sleep on their stomachs if they roll over onto it. Now, I want to remind you that you should never lay your baby on their stomach. Make sure you put them to sleep on their back in accordance with safe baby sleep guidelines.

It’s common to discover your baby in a different sleep position from where you placed them. If you find your baby has rolled during sleep, gently roll them back to their original position. There is no hazard in putting your child back on his or her back after they have rolled over. The baby’s sleep habits change. Luckily, this phase usually lasts for only a couple of weeks in most cases.

Source: pxfuel.com

Can A Baby Wear Sleep Sacks When They Roll Over?

Yes, that’s totally fine and completely safe. They can wear sleep sacks as long as they allow movement of the arms, a recommendation supported by most doctors. When you sleep train, your baby needs to have access to moving their arms so if they get stuck or need to roll back over. This is why you should stop swaddling your baby once they can roll. The arms of a swaddled baby will be restrained and can cause them to be face down and suffocate. The use of a sleep sack and discontinuing the swaddle help ensure a safe baby sleep position for your precious infant.

When Can I Stop Worrying About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is something many parents find themselves worrying about. This is especially true for infants up to around 6 months. 6-month-old babies are still at risk for SIDS all the way up until they are a year old.  There are a few reasons why sleep-related infant deaths happen, but data has shown that there’s an increased risk if you put your baby to sleep on their tummy.  To minimize the baby’s risk of SIDS, always lay them on their back while sleeping.

On the other hand, you can do a supervised tummy time or lay your baby on his stomach while they’re awake. Tummy time actually improves upper body strength. It strengthens your baby’s head, back, spine, and neck muscles. It’s scary, but safe practices and a safe sleeping space go a long way in keeping your baby safe and healthy. Additionally, avoiding placing soft objects or loose bedding in the crib further reduces the suffocation risk.

Source: pxfuel.com

Can I Let My 6-Month-Old Sleep On Their Stomach?

When you put your 6-month-old to sleep, make sure to put them on their back.  It is okay for your baby to move to a new position while sleeping, but to practice safe sleep, always put them on their back when you put your baby to sleep.

Make sure to always take precautionary measures. Remove all items like pillows and loose blankets from the crib, bassinet, or sleeping area. Ensure that there are no bumpers or baby sleep positioners in the crib, as these can pose a dangerous suffocation hazard due to their fluffy, pillow-like nature, and they may increase the risk of SIDS.

As babies grow, sleep training becomes a wonderful tactic to help prevent hazards. The goal is for your baby to learn and master proper sleep habits. The sleep training method typically takes about seven days to complete—just a few days and nights that are worth every moment you spend with your baby.

Source: pikrepo.com

Can I Let My 9 Month Old Sleep On Their Stomach?

Again, when you lay your baby in their bed, make sure to put them on their back.  This is always the safest solution.  Just practice safe sleeping by providing a safe, clean environment for your baby to sleep in.  Remove all toys, pillows, blankets, loose bedding, stuffed animals, and other objects.  Do not have toys hanging on the sides of the crib or have a bumper. Check the sleep surface and ensure there are no gaps or a potential suffocation hazard. It is generally considered safer to have no bumper at all. Also, use a firm mattress to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Maintaining a safe infant sleeping environment is crucial.

Why Is My Baby Facing Down In Sleep?

Just like adults, many babies move positions to get comfortable. They may prefer lying on their tummy while sleeping rather than on their backs, and if they can do it independently, then they are fine to do so. If you are worried, which is a common concern for first-time parents, you can gently flip your baby back over. Just be forewarned that your baby may or may not wake up in the process, as they naturally shift and adjust to find a comfortable position to fall asleep.

Why Does My Baby Cry When Rolling?

What if your baby rolls over during sleep and starts crying? In the beginning, when your baby starts to roll, they may lack the strength to flip back over, leading to frustration or irritation as they attempt to find a more comfortable position. Crying is the only way they can communicate their feelings before they can speak and so this can be normal.  If your baby is constantly crying, please ask for advice from your baby’s doctor in order to address any potential concerns or issues. If you have any concerns that still seem to linger, there is never harm in asking your baby’s doctor.  The pediatrician is there for you, and they are the experts in providing guidance and support for your baby’s health and development. They will provide more evidence-based information that is up-to-date and safe for you to follow in caring for your baby.

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

What Are The Sleep-Related Infant Deaths?

Sleep-related infant deaths encompass cases where infants die suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep. This category includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), where an otherwise healthy baby passes away for unexplained reasons, and accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed, often involving factors like entanglement in bedding.

What’s The Safe Infant Sleeping Environment?

A safe crib for a baby, especially during the new milestone of rolling over, should have a firm mattress and a snug-fitting crib sheet, keeping the crib clear of soft bedding and toys to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Ensure the crib is sturdy, regularly inspect for damage, and avoid drop-side cribs. Choose a crib with adjustable mattress height and certifications like JPMA or ASTM to meet safety standards. Creating a secure sleep environment is essential for your baby’s well-being, allowing them to move and explore safely as your baby moves and grows.


Your baby rolling over is just another stepping stone for them to achieve independence. Babies often sleep on their stomachs when they start to roll over in their sleep. Don’t be alarmed if your baby rolls over onto their stomach when sleeping.  This is just a natural achievement.  Just make sure you take the necessary precautions that have been outlined earlier in this article, especially if your baby is able to roll. If you are still worried and would like more resources, here are a few below:




Is It A Cause For Concern If A Baby Rolls In Sleep?

No, it’s not a cause for concern if a rolling baby turns over during sleep, especially after reaching the developmental milestone of around 4 to 6 months. At this stage, babies typically gain the ability to roll over, and it’s considered a normal part of their development. However, it’s crucial to maintain a safe sleep environment by placing the baby on their back, removing potential hazards from the crib, and never leaving an unattended baby’s crib to minimize any risks during sleep.

Why Is My Baby Rolls Over In Sleep And Cries?

If your baby rolls over in their sleep and cries, it could be a natural response to the development of this new skill. The movement might startle or discomfort them. To help your baby, ensure a safe sleep environment, use comfortable sleep attire, and consider incorporating a consistent bedtime routine. If crying persists or you have concerns, consulting with your pediatrician can provide personalized guidance and reassurance to help your baby through this phase.

How Do I Stop My Baby From Rolling Over In The Night?

To minimize nighttime rolling, initially place your baby on their back to sleep in a safe environment, avoiding soft bedding and toys. If your baby rolls over during the night and has a hard time rolling back over, gently reposition them onto their back. Consider sleep sacks for added security and transition to a crib for more space. Supervised tummy time during waking hours can aid in building strength and motor skills. These methods can effectively prevent excessive rolling during sleep.

Do Sleep Sacks Prevent Rolling Over?

Are Sleep Sacks Safe For Babies Rolling?

Is SIDS Caused By Baby Rolling Over?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is not caused by a baby rolling over. SIDS refers to the unexplained and sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant, often during sleep. While certain sleep positions may increase SIDS risks, rolling over itself is not a direct cause. Following safe sleep practices, such as placing babies on their backs to sleep, using a firm mattress, and avoiding soft bedding, is crucial to reduce the risk of SIDS. Once a baby can roll independently (around 4 to 6 months), it is generally safe to let them find their sleep position. However, it’s essential to ensure they aren’t stuck on their stomach and that the sleep environment remains safe.

What Happens If My Baby Starts Rolling Onto Her Stomach At Night?

If your baby starts to roll onto their tummy at night, it’s a common developmental milestone that usually occurs around 4 to 6 months of age. This newfound ability is a sign of growing strength and mobility. While placing babies onto their back is crucial to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk, once they start independently rolling, it’s generally safe to let them sleep in their preferred position. Maintain a safe sleep environment, free of hazards, and consult your pediatrician for personalized guidance.

Is It OK For A 6-Month-Old To Sleep On Their Belly?

For a 6-month-old, it is generally considered safe if they can independently roll over. Always start by placing your baby on their back when putting them to sleep, following guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If your baby rolls over while sleeping, it’s typically okay. However, if your baby has difficulty flipping back or if you have specific concerns, consulting with your pediatrician for personalized guidance based on your baby’s specific development and health is essential.

Does Rolling Cause Sleep Regression?

Rolling itself doesn’t directly cause sleep regression, but the developmental milestone can coincide with changes in a baby’s sleep patterns. When babies start to roll, it may briefly disrupt sleep routines as they adjust to new positions. However, these adjustments are usually temporary and contribute to healthy development. Most babies adapt without causing long-term sleep issues. It’s essential to be patient during this phase and provide a comforting environment to help them enjoy sleeping. If concerns persist, consulting with your pediatrician can provide personalized guidance for ensuring both a smooth adjustment and healthy development.

Do Babies Cry When They Roll Over?

Yes, it’s not uncommon for babies to cry when they first learn to roll over. The process can be unfamiliar and may cause discomfort as they find themselves in an uncomfortable position, leading to crying. This phase is usually temporary, and as babies become more accustomed to rolling and discover how to adjust when the baby moves, the crying tends to diminish over several weeks. If concerns persist, consulting with your pediatrician or healthcare provider can provide guidance.

How Long Does Rolling Sleep Regression Last?

The sleep disruption associated with a baby learning to roll over typically lasts a few days to a few weeks. However, the duration can vary, and not all babies experience significant sleep regression during this new milestone. There may be instances where the baby wakes up more frequently or experiences difficulty to continue sleeping. However, as babies learn to navigate this developmental stage, consistency in sleep routines and creating a comfortable sleep environment can help ease the transition.

How Do Autistic Babies Roll Over?

Autistic babies generally roll over like their neurotypical counterparts, as autism primarily affects social communication and behavior rather than specific motor skills. Developmental milestones can vary among all infants, and some autistic babies may reach them at different rates. If you have concerns about your baby’s development, early intervention services can offer tailored support to address your baby’s individual needs, promoting optimal development. Keep in mind that each child is unique, and understanding how their body moves and responds to stimuli is essential for providing the right kind of assistance and encouragement.

Do Babies Sleep Better After Rolling?

How Long Does The Rolling Phase Last?


Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Rejie Salazar

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