If you are worried about how to keep baby from rolling over in crib, then be sure to read this article! It answers all of your pressing questions regarding a baby rolling over in sleep – why babies roll over in sleep, what age babies start rolling over in their sleep, what to do about it, how to prevent it (and if you should), how to safely co-sleep with a baby that rolls over, and swaddling tips for babies that roll over in their sleep.
The message was clear during my first pregnancy: back is best when it comes to infant sleep. I was told repeatedly that all babies should be put to sleep on their backs, should sleep by themselves in their own crib or bassinet, and shouldn’t have toys in their crib with them (among other tips).
The reasoning for all this was clear: babies who sleep on their backs, alone, have less chance of suffering from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
And like a great first-time mom, I dutifully put my newborn twins to sleep on their backs, all swaddled up tight in a blanket, in their separate cribs.
It worked! We went months with them sleeping dutifully on their backs, alone.
But, then one night as I went in to check on one of my babies who was screaming and crying, I found her on her tummy! She had rolled over in her sleep! I calmed her down and laid her back on her back (cause she could die otherwise) and put her back to bed. However, she again rolled over, screamed about how she didn’t like it, and I did the same thing again.
Now repeat that process a few times, and that was me dealing with infant twins rolling over in their cribs at around 4 or 5 months old.
It was exhausting. And stressful.
I asked my pediatrician about it, WIC, and family and friends. Should I be concerned that my twins were rolling over in their sleep? Should I prevent them from doing so? Would they die if I didn’t keep rolling them over if I found them on their tummies in their beds asleep?
I seriously had these concerns!!
And chances are you are having the same concerns if you are reading this!
My twins are now 8 years old and I’m currently on baby number five. I’ve dealt with all of my babies rolling over in their sleep, not liking it, and thankfully, came to understand this phase and how to make sure babies are indeed safe when they enter this stage of development.
Everything You Need to Know About Having a Baby Rolling Over in Sleep
Why Do Babies Roll Over in Their Sleep?
I am convinced that babies roll over in their sleep because they can.
When babies start figuring out how to roll from back to tummy, it is about the most exciting thing EVER in their small little life so they just want to do it all. the. time. Including when they are laid down safe and snug in their beds at night, much to their parents’ chagrin, especially if they cannot roll themselves back to their back and find out after a few minutes that, actually, they don’t like this tummy position, at least not for sleeping.
So, why do babies roll over in sleep? Because they can and some babies, eventually, find the belly-sleeping position to be more comfortable.
What Age Do Babies Roll Over in their Sleep?
You can expect babies to start rolling over in their sleep when they start rolling over elsewhere. A crib feels no different to them than the floor, so roll they will.
The time frame in which babies roll over varies widely, but most babies start rolling over starting as young as three months old but some take up to seven months or longer to roll over. Most babies roll from tummy to back first (sometimes accidentally during tummy time when they’re mad) and then later from back to tummy. However, other babies are the opposite. Both are normal, but the latter is just less common.
What If Baby Rolls Over While Sleeping?
This is the real question, right? You are worried about baby rolling over in sleep and want to know what to do when baby starts rolling over in her crib! You don’t want your baby to die!
Here’s the really, really important thing for you to know: Once a baby can roll over in her sleep, you don’t need to flip her back onto her back.
Yes. That’s right! All the people I talked to, from my pediatrician to my mom, said you do NOT need to flip a baby back onto her back if you find her sleeping on her tummy in her crib! In fact, the National Institute of Health on their official Safe to Sleep website said the following about this question:
No. Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby’s growth. Most babies start rolling over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age. If your baby rolls over on his or her own during sleep, you do not need to turn the baby back over onto his or her back. The important thing is that your baby start every sleep time on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS, and that there is no soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under baby, over baby, or anywhere in baby’s sleep area.
Hooray! Make sure to sigh a sigh of relief on this one! I know I did, because I may have rolled over a sleeping baby a time or two because I was so that paranoid new mom!
Also, keep in mind that the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age and peaks between 1 month and 4 months of age (though can occur any time in the first year). Most babies who can roll over are beyond the scariest window. Sleep position is only one of many contributing risk factors for SIDS, which is why it’s important to follow all recommended safe sleep guidelines.
It’s why I really like the Newton Crib Mattress I was sent to review. It is completely breathable. It’s also the internet’s highest-rated crib mattress. Sleep easy, knowing your baby sleeps safely. Check it out here (or scroll down to the end of the post to learn more and grab a discount code for one!).
How to Keep Baby from Rolling Over in Crib?
But, are you still wondering how do you keep baby from rolling over in a crib?
This may be your burning question because some babies really don’t like it! You have a baby who rolls over in her crib and cries. Or you’re still paranoid about SIDS, or because your sleep training baby rolls over now and is no longer sleeping well at night because of it (I’ve been there!).
To this, I will gently remind you that a baby crying because they don’t actually want to do “tummy time” all night is TEMPORARY.
When a baby starts rolling over at night it can lead to more tears and wake-ups (for everyone) but I have found over five babies that the tears and extra wake-ups usually last only a week, give or take a week. It will not last forever. Eventually, your baby will figure out the sleep position they prefer and be able to roll back to their back if they don’t like the tummy, all on their own.
This means I do NOT recommend any sleep positioner blankets or pillows that keep a baby on their back for sleep. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations warn against baby sleep positioners of any kind.
You need to let nature take its course! If your baby is rolling, you got to roll with the adjustment of her figuring out her new skill, including during the night time (don’t worry, I have tips in the next section on how to do this).
Again, I assure you it is so very temporary in the grand scheme of things. Save your money and keep your child safer by not buying one of these baby infant positioners. You do not need to prevent baby from rolling over in her crib.
What to Do If Baby Rolls Over in Sleep?
Okay, so what do you do if your baby rolls over in her sleep and she doesn’t like it? How can you help your baby sleep again (and yourself) if you really shouldn’t use a baby sleep positioner?
Start the same as you always have:
- Make sure baby is clean, comfy, full, and ready for bed.
- Place your baby to sleep on her back on a flat, firm mattress (even better if it’s a breathable mattress like Newton Baby Mattress).
- Give goodnight kisses and pray she goes to sleep quickly and easily.
If your child rolls over and fusses about it, do this:
- Wait a couple minutes (up to 10-15 minutes is okay) and see if baby calms on their own, finding a comfortable position after a while. Don’t wait though if the initial cry is more than just fussiness but an extreme upsetness (you should know the difference).
- Turn your baby back over to their back, pat their tummy, gently shush them, and tell them they are okay. Give them a paci if they take one.
- Walk out.
- Repeat as necessary.
If your baby continues to roll over and fuss, or starts the habit up again after that first initial transition period, you can try alternative methods of sleep training to help calm them and get them sleeping again.
Are Sleep Sacks Safe for Babies Who Can Roll Over?
Got a sleep sack baby rolling over in her crib? Wondering if a baby rolling over in a sleep swaddle is safe?
The answer is yes and no.
As your child ages, you need to start adjusting how you swaddle them. Babies older than three months should have their arms free when swaddling or using a sleep sack or sleep swaddle. This is important because it allows for self-soothing (sucking fingers or thumbs) and for their arms and hands to be free should they start rolling over.
However, you should stop wrapping and swaddling by six months or as soon as your baby shows the first signs of rolling over.
Also, wrapped or swaddled babies should never be placed on their tummy to sleep as it’s associated with a greatly increased risk of SIDS. If babies are wrapped, they should always be placed on their back. (source)
Some people say properly fitting infant sleeping bags with high, fitted neck and armholes prevent baby from rolling over and decreases the risk of SIDS, but there isn’t a lot of evidence to support this. But, because infant sleeping bags limit the amount of loose clothing and bedding in a baby’s sleeping area, it could be the reason there is a slight decrease in the risk of SIDS!
Important things to know about swaddling infants 4-6 months old:
- Swaddling and wrapping can be used to help settle them.
- Position baby on their back, with feet at the bottom of the crib.
- Ensure baby is wrapped below the neck to avoid covering the face.
- Use only lightweight wraps such as cotton or muslin.
- Wrap them tightly so it won’t become loose bedding, but make sure there is adequate room for hip and chest wall movement.
- Make sure baby isn’t overdressed or overheated.
- Should not be wrapped if bed-sharing, co-sleeping, or sharing a sleep surface.
How Do You Safely Do Co-Sleeping with a Baby Rolling Over?
If you are co-sleeping with a baby rolling over, it is important you are as safe as possible!
I do not co-sleep, nor do I support it generally, especially as we talk about safe sleep practices, but everyone is free to make their own choices for their families. I want your baby to be as safe as possible during this rolling over in sleep transition period! So here’s what I found suggested:
- Make sure your baby can’t fall out of bed – use some sort of bed barrier
- Do not swaddle baby at all
- Do not smoke, do drugs, consume alcohol, or take certain prescription drugs
- Make sure your bed is large enough for co-sleeping – everyone needs to be comfortable and safe
- Make sure bed is firm enough for safe co-sleeping (and isn’t a waterbed)
- Use only one pillow per adult and none for the baby
- Make sure baby’s temperature is not too warm (it increases the risk of SIDS)
- Don’t use blankets on your bed
- Wear snug pajamas and nursing tops and avoid clothes with loose strings
- Make sure bed sheets are tight and secure
- Evaluate your weight – if you’re too heavy baby can roll toward you and not be able to roll back
- Evaluate how heavy of a sleeper you are
- Don’t let older siblings sleep next to the infant
- Use an alternative to a “true” family bed like putting a crib mattress (the Newton Mattress is perfect!) on the floor next to the bed for the baby to sleep on before you go to bed or put baby to sleep on a blanket on the floor.
You can also make any possible falls less severe by lowering your bed frame or removing the box spring and putting your bed mattress directly on the floor. You can also use thick, but non-bulky blankets as a padding on the floor.
You may want to always go to bed or sit with your child as they sleep to better watch and protect them.
Get Your Baby the Safest Crib Mattress
I’ve mentioned them a few times in this article, as they sent me a mattress to test out a review, that the Newton crib mattress is pretty awesome for safe sleep! I’m pretty impressed by its features and so is baby girl, and for good reason.
The Newton Crib Mattress is created with safe sleep in mind as it is completely breathable. This mattress is all about keeping your baby safer, and I highly recommend it! It’s also the internet’s highest-rated crib mattress. Sleep easy, knowing your baby sleeps safely. Check it out here or keep reading to learn more! You can use promo code FAGANS50 you can get $50 off a minimum order of $249.00 (limit one per customer).
But here’s the awesome details about it.
The Newton Crib Mattress is:
- completely breathable
- glue and adhesive-free
- Free of biocides and toxic fire retardants
- free of off-gassing
- Greenguard’s Gold Standard Certified
- 100% recyclable
- 100% washable
- temperature regulating
- made in the USA
- 2-stage mattress for babies and toddlers
- lightweight at only 11lbs
- the internet’s highest-rated crib mattress
Their patented Wovenaire core is 90% air by volume and the rest is made of the highest quality (and safe) food-grade polymer. The removable and washable cover has two layers quilted together to create soft pillows of air. The innovative design allows air to flow freely for optimal breathability and temperature regulation. I know because even I stuck my face into the mattress and breathed in through it (taking the #breathe2believe challenge for myself).
Plus, the whole thing is surprisingly firm, yet comfortable! And there’s no need to flip the mattress over from one side to the other based on the age of your child.
It’s seriously awesome! The Newton Baby crib mattress was designed with a baby’s health, safety, and comfort in mind and it shows!
We’ve mostly owned cheaper crib mattresses with our twins and other children and they do not hold up well over time (we’ve tossed several now) and are not breathable and have terrible springs in them.
I can tell that this mattress will last through not only the baby phase but also the toddler stage very well and could be passed on to another kid (should we have any more). I wish we would have had this from the beginning!
You can order a Newton crib mattress online on their website. Shipping and returns are free and they give you 100 nights to decide if it is the right crib mattress for you and your baby!
PLUS if you use promo code FAGANS50 you can get $50 off a minimum order of $249.00 (limit one per customer).
Definitely check it out as it can help give you peace of mind for your baby’s first year all the times baby rolls over in sleep!
Now, stop worrying and enjoying your child’s newest milestone.
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