Baby Rolling Over In Sleep And Waking Up Crying

“Why is my baby rolling over in sleep and waking up crying?” This is one of the common questions of most parents as their infants figure out how to roll over.

This usually happens at around 4 to 6 months of age. Although watching your baby develop new skills is very exciting, many of us feel frustrated when our babies roll during sleep and cry. This may happen throughout the night and may go on for weeks. Does it mean that she’s not getting enough sleep? How do we cope with the rolling phase?


Baby Rolling Over In Sleep: Why Does It Happen?

Your baby rolls over during sleep because she has figured out how to. As your baby grows, she will be absorbed in practicing her skills. For example, when your baby learns how to stand, she will be more interested in standing instead of falling asleep.

The same goes for rolling, even during bedtime. She may insist on sleeping on her tummy, which is very common among babies. This can be scary at first so you have probably spent many sleepless nights watching your little one. The act of rolling wakes her up and this can be frustrating as it happens over and over. This also means lots of mid-nap waking and restless nights. Many parents ask, is rolling during sleep dangerous?

While most parents know how to place their babies down for sleep, many get troubled about what to do once the baby changes position during sleep. According to the facts given by the SIDS campaign:

“Parents and caregivers should continue to place babies on their backs to sleep throughout the first year of life.” It was also added that, “Once infants are more developmentally advanced, they often roll over on their own. There is no evidence that they need to be repositioned.”

How To Handle Your Baby Rolling Over

How To Handle Your Baby Rolling Over

If your child is in her first year, the recommended practice to prevent SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome is to put your baby to sleep on her back. It can be difficult to know what to do once your baby starts rolling, gets stuck and cries.

When placing your baby to sleep, do not put her on her stomach or side. It is important to put your baby to sleep on her back for the first twelve months. When she rolls over during the night, put her on her back to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you are worried that she may turn over again, you can try to extend her one arm. This will make her a bit less likely to roll over in sleep.

If your baby rolls over, wait for 10 to 15 minutes before deciding if any intervention is needed. Once your baby becomes very upset, flip him back to the usual position. This allows your child to learn to sleep in a new position and roll back herself.

2. Practice Tummy Time

Baby starts to cry after rolling over when she is stuck on her stomach and she cannot roll back. Some babies may feel frustrated when they are not able to roll and that frustration may lead to sleeping problems.

Tummy time is a great way to monitor your baby’s ability to roll over and let her practice that phase. Many parents lay their babies on their stomachs and watch. This time will be used by the babies to learn how to lift their heads, push up with their arms, and things that can help them on how to flip over.

Tummy time also allows baby to learn how to get herself out of tummy position when she needs to. Using a toy or other interesting soft items to entice infant to roll over can accelerate her learning process. If your child is strong enough to roll over in sleep, there is no need to worry.

3. Create A Pleasant Environment To Sleep

You will also want to ensure your baby’s sleep surface is free of any pillows, stuffed animals, loose blankets and toys. Once your baby starts to roll over in sleep, every inch of the flat surface should be baby-proofed. Anything else that could cover the baby’s nose and mouth should be removed from the crib before she goes to sleep. Avoid using sheet that is too small or too big for the mattress as this may disrupt the sleep of your baby.

Do not overdress your child or overheat the room. It is also important not to let anyone smoke near your baby. Also, stop using a sleep positioner if you have one. In 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to parents to refrain from using sleep positioners after the suffocation of 12 infants.

4. Consult Your Baby’s Doctor

It is best to talk to your baby’s doctor about her development. Consider asking some questions about rolling over such as:

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    Should I worry about my baby rolling in sleep?
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    Is my baby strong enough to roll over at night safely?
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    How can I prevent sudden infant death syndrome?
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    When will my child be able to roll over during daytime?

If your baby is still in her first year, professionals will advise laying your baby on her back. When you find your little one rolling over in sleep, you can put her to sleep on her back slowly.


Generally, there is no need to worry if your baby rolls from her back to her stomach while asleep. This means that she is strong enough to hold her head and she can roll back to her back position. Babies first learn how to roll on their stomach and eventually know how to roll on their backs as well. They will be able to stay in different positions in time.

For the first six months, make sure that you place your baby on her back. It is also best to put her in the parents’ bedroom. If you think that your baby is not getting enough sleep, see your doctor immediately.

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My name is Crystal Waston. I am a mother of three wonderful children. I started MakeYourBabyLaugh! to help parents who are struggling to raise their children. I hope that my experiences in child-rearing can inspire and help parents overcome their parenting struggles.

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