What To Do If Your Baby Is Rolling Over In Their Crib
We know how much you anticipate every milestone your little one accomplishes. Rolling over in their crib is no different.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know to keep your baby safe while they master this new skill!
- When To Expect Rolling Over To Begin
- Why Do Babies Roll Over In Their Cribs?
- Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Roll
- What To Do When Your Baby Rolls Over In Their Crib
- When Rolling Over Causes Your Baby To Wake
- How To Help Your Baby Roll Over
- What If Your Baby Gets Stuck On Their Tummy?
- When To Speak To A Doctor
- Additional Things To Remember
- Key Takeaways
When To Expect Rolling Over To Begin
We encourage you to keep in mind that all babies are different. This means the moment when they roll over in their crib for the first time may not be when you expect it!
Generally, infants will begin to roll over in their cribs between four and six months old. They may roll onto their side, their tummy (the most common), or back and forth. Whatever they do, it’s an accomplishment you should be proud of!
Rolling over in their crib is one of the first steps toward eventually crawling and walking, so it’s important that they build enough upper body strength and muscle to propel themselves off the ground.
So if you see your little one roll from their back to their belly, resist the urge to flip them over! You can safely assume that if they roll themselves from their back to their tummy, it’ll be a breeze to turn back the other way around.
The quintessential “rollover” that parents generally wait for refers to a baby rolling from their tummy to their back (but there is no rule that says it can’t happen the other way around first!).
Rolling from their back to their side generally comes after, and most babies learn how to roll from their back to their belly around seven months of age.
Why Do Babies Roll Over In Their Cribs?
As much as you may want the newborn phase to last forever, another exciting phase is around the corner. As your little one starts to have control over how their body moves, they will start to move more. What better area to practice moving around other than their crib?
No doubt your baby will want to take advantage of any chance they have to rehearse their newest skills. And it’s simpler than you think. Like adults, babies will move around during naps and sleepytime to get comfortable
As your baby gains the power to move their body, they may start rolling around and even wake up if they are in an uncomfortable position.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Roll
Here are some clues that will let you know your baby is ready to roll:
- Baby is reaching for toys when they are on their tummy
- Baby is lifting their head while they are lying down
- Baby is showing signs that their neck muscles are getting stronger
After seeing these signs, you may notice your little one rolling over in their crib in no time. So let’s talk about what to do when this happens.
What To Do When Your Baby Rolls Over In Their Crib
When the moment finally comes and you notice your little one belly-down in their crib, what should you do?
A flipped-over baby in the middle of the night is nothing to be inherently afraid of. It is perfectly normal for your baby to squirm while they're cozy and sleeping as they try to adjust to a more comfortable position.
Although there are some precautions to keep in mind, there’s no need to worry the first time you notice your child lying on their tummy inside their crib.
Stop Swaddling Your Baby Before Bed
While swaddling does a great job of keeping your baby feeling safe and secure, once they begin to roll over, it’s best to opt out of bundling up your bundle of joy!
Keeping their arms strapped to their sides can restrict your baby’s movement during sleep. If they need to push themselves away from the mattress, they won’t be able to in a swaddle. We don’t want them to get stuck!
Additionally, all of the pulling and tugging your baby may do to try to flip can loosen a blanket or swaddle, resulting in a potential suffocation hazard.
While it’s OK for your baby to roll when they are not swaddled, you should take additional steps to ensure their safety, such as:
- Keeping their sleeping space free of pillows, blankets, or any other objects
- Making sure the crib sheet is tight and flat
- Laying your baby on their back to go to sleep
If your baby relies on the comfort that comes from feeling “encased” in a swaddle, try a sleep sack with arm holes instead. This way they’ll feel secure and bundled while still being able to move their arms freely while they sleep.
Keep A Clutter-Free Sleep Space
Those pictures of baby nurseries chock-full of blankets, accent pillows, and stuffed animals are adorable in photographs, but not when it comes to a proper bedtime!
As we mentioned briefly above, it’s important to keep a clutter-free area in your baby’s crib — this means the super-squishy stuffed elephant your baby loves should stay outside of the crib for their safety.
Making sure that your infant’s sleep space is open and unobstructed helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). By removing all extras from your baby’s crib, you significantly avoid the chances of something obstructing your child’s airways while they sleep.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure their sleeping materials are fitted, clean, and breathable for when they flip over face-first into their mattress.
Our organic, breathable Cotton Sheets are the perfect option for a cozy, warm, and chemical-free crib sheet that will help your baby sleep and breathe easily throughout the night!
Foam wedges and baby sleep positioners may be OK to help your little one learn to roll over while supervised, but they are dangerous when left in an unattended baby's crib for many reasons.
In addition to allowing babies an opportunity to escape during the night, baby sleep positioners can contribute to sleep-related infant deaths by posing a suffocation risk.
Also, positioners don't effectively prevent your baby from rolling in place. Instead, you should follow the AAP safe sleep practices and always keep the crib clear.
Swap The Cradle For A Crib
Although your baby may be rocking and rolling throughout the night as they toss and turn, we don’t want their bed to do the same thing.
Cradles can be wonderful additions to your baby’s sleep routine in their early life, especially if your little one is soothed by those gentle, swinging motions. However, when it comes to rolling over, cradles can be a touch more unstable than a traditional crib or bassinet.
Cribs are sturdy and can accommodate your wriggling, growing baby. They’ll offer enough support and comfort to ensure your little one doesn’t tip their bed over with their mighty tummy rolls!
When purchasing a crib, always opt for a sturdy, smooth structure. And when purchasing a crib mattress? Look no further than our Newton Baby Crib Mattress!
Our crib mattress is 100% breathable, 100% washable, and 100% safe for your baby no matter what milestone they’re on. It’s made with your little one in mind and will last well into their toddler years, giving them the quality rest they need for their growing brains and bodies.
You’ll rest easy, too!
Always Put Your Baby To Sleep On Their Back
We hinted at this earlier, but the National Institute of Health always recommends that babies be placed in their cribs on their backs. This substantially decreases the risk of SIDS, especially in the first year of life.
You may be wondering, “What if I find my baby asleep on their stomach in the middle of the night? Should I turn them back over?”
The answer is no. As long as your baby was placed in their crib on their back, it’s all right if they roll over in the middle of the night. They are likely able to flip themselves back over if they want to, as it’s easier to travel from their belly to their back.
Disturbing a peaceful sleep will just rouse them, which everyone knows breaks the number one rule about babies: Don’t wake them up if you don’t have to!
When Rolling Over Causes Your Baby To Wake
Not all babies are content when they roll over onto their stomach, and it can be tough soothing your little one back to sleep.
It's common for sleep to become disrupted when your baby reaches a new milestone. Practicing their new abilities at night can cause them to wake themselves up.
If your baby is starting to wake up more frequently, see if you can make their sleeping environment calmer to help them feel more comfortable as they fall back to sleep.
For example, you can try using blackout blinds or a white noise machine to reduce any chances of overstimulation and assist your baby in staying asleep without disturbances.
You could also try our Sleep Sack For Babies, which is perfect for new rollers who have grown out of the swaddle. With super-soft and breathable organic cotton, this sleep sack can help keep nighttime wakeups to a minimum.
How To Help Your Baby Roll Over
To help your little one build the mighty muscles they’ll need to roll over in their crib (and everywhere else!), here are some tips for how you can encourage your baby to start their 180-degree adventure!
Implement Extra Tummy Time
Tummy time is super important in helping your little one prepare to roll over! It builds the strength in their neck and core that they’ll need to make the move, and it gives them the opportunity to practice weight shifting, which is needed to roll.
Be sure to give your infant plenty of safe and supervised tummy time so they can gradually become a happy baby rolling over in their crib!
Simulate Rolling Motions
We know you pick up and put down your little one hundreds of times a day. But it can also be a great method for showing them how to roll over!
Every time you lay them down, try dropping their shoulder to the ground first and “rolling” their body onto the ground. This will help them get used to the sensation of rolling over. Lower them down while you continue to support their head and neck.
Diaper-changing sessions are the perfect opportunity for this!
Minimize Baby Equipment
Helping your child build the strength they’ll need to roll over is essential to achieving this milestone.
While artificial movement equipment — like bouncers and baby swings — are definitely entertaining and can be super helpful for busy parents, it’s important to emphasize body movement, too.
This way, they can build strength on their own!
Encourage Your Baby With Toys
This is where all those toys you received from friends and family come in handy. What a great opportunity for extra encouragement to help your baby enthusiastically roll over!
If your baby is at the age where they have a blanket or a specific toy that they love, you can use it to encourage them to roll in a certain direction.
For example, if you place a toy so that it's in your baby's eye line when they turn their head, you're helping to develop their neck muscles. They may even try rolling over to reach it!
Make sure your baby is supervised when using this technique, and remember not to leave any toys or loose blankets in their crib until they're at least a year old.
Use Sound To Get Your Baby To Turn Their Head
Where the head goes, the body will usually follow. Use toys or music to encourage your baby to turn their head.
If using a toy, start by having the toy in your baby’s field of vision, and then move it out in the direction you want them to roll.
Hold Your Baby In Rounded Positions
To help them roll over, you can hold your little one in different positions.
Instead of holding them against your hip or shoulder, for example, try holding them in front of you with your arms hooked underneath the back of their knees and their back pressed against your chest.
You can also hold them on their side. Your arm would come across their chest, supporting their neck with the crux of your elbow, while your other arm supports their bottom.
These two positions help get their little body used to the positions they’re aiming for! They’ll experience what it’s like to gain momentum (in the crouched position) and roll over (on their side).
Lay Your Baby On A Wedge
Using a wedge helps your baby start in a partial roll. You can also use a blanket to give your baby a little assistance. But, again, remember to keep these items out of the crib.
Help Them Rock Side To Side
Another huge milestone for babies includes when they successfully hoist their chest off the floor for the first time. This means they are gaining enough strength to roll themselves from their belly to their back.
You may notice as your child pushes off the ground more and more that they might begin to naturally sway their body back and forth. This is great progress! They’re gearing up for the big rollover.
You can help them along by lightly encouraging the rocking motion with your hands. Don’t get too rough, as it may lead them to lose their balance.
But if your baby is pushing against the floor and staying still, you can gently move their hips back and forth to encourage them and expose them to the rolling sensation.
Offer Verbal Encouragement
Praising always goes a long way. Celebrate your baby when they make progress by clapping, cheering, and smiling.
What If Your Baby Gets Stuck On Their Tummy?
While you can help your little one work on their rolling skills, sometimes they get stuck in certain positions.
If your child rolls and gets stuck on their stomach while they are awake, the simple solution is to just flip them back onto their back.
It’s OK for infants to sleep on their stomach or side once they can flip themselves over to those positions themselves. So if your child can flip onto their stomach and seems to enjoy sleeping that way, you can let them continue sleeping in that position.
When To Speak To A Doctor
It’s important to schedule regular visits with a pediatrician and let them know when your baby’s sleep habits change. However, there is no need to run to the doctor’s office just because your baby is starting to roll over or wake up more often.
Signs you should talk to the doctor are when your baby:
- Seems distressed or uncomfortable upon waking
- Rolls over and has difficulty flipping back over
- Has trouble falling asleep after several weeks of healthy sleep habits
- Has not started to roll over by six months of age
- Is trying to roll over but doesn’t have good neck or head control
Additional Things To Remember
Keep Your Hand On Baby During Diaper Changes
Even if your baby isn’t rolling over yet, keep a hand on them to avoid any serious injury, whether using a diaper table or placing them on a bed or any other elevated surface.
You don’t want to risk an injury from their first time rolling over.
Keep An Eye On Continuous Rolling
Once your baby figures out how to roll, they may keep going. This is when you should make sure that the furniture is securely mounted to the wall. Items like dressers, coffee tables, and bookcases could be a hazard.
Outlets should be properly covered and cords kept out of reach. And make sure your lower cabinets are securely latched and staircases are blocked off. Little ones become more curious with their newfound skill, even as young as five or six months old.
Remember SIDS Prevention Tips
There are many ways you can lower the risk of SIDS. As you know, it is important to place your baby on their back to sleep, but there is no reason to fret if they roll onto their tummy.
Additionally, don’t overheat the room, overdress your baby, or smoke around your little one. If you follow these rules, the SIDS risks become much lower.
It can be frustrating when your baby wakes up because they have rolled over. But it’s important to remember that their rolly-polly phase is temporary, and they are gaining important skills.
It’s exciting to witness your little one conquering new milestones that will lead to more exploration and growth. As a reminder, here are some things to keep in mind throughout your little one’s journey:
- Stop swaddling when your baby starts to show signs of rolling over
- Your baby will probably be practicing their newfound skills at night
- Newton Baby Organic Swaddle Blankets can serve as the perfect tummy time mat for when they graduate out of swaddling
- Always keep a clear sleep space to lower the risk of SIDS
- Simulate rolling motions to get them used to the feeling of rolling
- Rock your baby side to side to help train their muscles and teach them the correct way to roll
- Consult with your doctor whenever sleep habits drastically change
Rolling Over In The Crib Is Safe And Normal
Under the proper safety measures — like using a Newton Baby Crib Mattress — it will be perfectly OK if your baby is rolling over in their crib at night. In fact, it’s a great sign of their developing strength and dexterity!
If you’re still waiting for your baby to roll over, there’s no need to rush it. All babies are different, and some may take a little longer before they’re fully comfortable making that great leap (or flip!).
Again, if you’re concerned about your baby’s development, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor to check all the bells and whistles.
Regardless, we know they’ll get there with time, patience, practice, and lots of hugs and kisses from you!