baby on tummy looking at camera

Rolling is a fun and exciting milestone for any baby; however, many parents are concerned about it impacting their little one’s sleep patterns, but an even bigger concern is, the safety of their baby when they roll onto their tummy and can’t roll back.

This is a common concern many families have, but you may be interested to know that it’s a normal stage in your baby’s development. If they roll from their back to their tummy, you do not need to roll them back again. The most critical thing is that your baby ALWAYS be placed on their back at the start of every sleep period to reduce the risk of SIDS and that the crib is flat, clear of any lose objects, bumpers, toys, etc., especially when they begin to show signs of rolling. It is also no longer recommended that you swaddle a baby who is beginning to roll, nor should you use sleep positioners or wedges in their crib. Remember to keep those little arms out of the swaddle once your baby shows signs of rolling over so that she can push up if needed for safety. 

Since transitioning out of the swaddle is a tricky time for many babies, consider using a wearable blanket designed specifically for this transition. Our Swaddle Sleeves Sack is the best option for babies who are starting to roll. The gently-weighted sleeves help to dampen baby's startles when asleep while still allowing for full range of movement, as babies are still able to rub their face or suck their thumb if desired to be able to self-soothe. For babies who still like more of a "swaddle feeling," you also have the option to fold over the optional mitten cuffs that are attached to the end of the sleeves of our Swaddle Sleeves Sack

If your little one can roll onto their tummy on their own, they can safely sleep on their tummy for the entire duration of their nap and throughout the night. Again, I stress the importance of placing your baby on their back of each sleep period and if they roll to their tummy, it is safe to keep them in that position.  They have reached a new milestone (yay!) and now have more head control. You may find that your baby prefers sleeping on his tummy rather than on his back!

Below are a few tips that can help you manage this new and exciting milestone when it comes to your baby's sleep: 

  • Give your little one a lot of time to practice the skill of rolling throughout the day (during awake periods) as they will master the skill more quickly and are less likely to practice when they should be sleeping
  • When your little one rolls onto their tummy on their own and gets “stuck,” you do not need to flip them back. Try to offer some comfort such as your hand on their back, rubbing their back, etc. first to see if that will help them settle
  • If your little one is crying for long periods of time and nobody in the house is getting any sleep, it’s okay to flip them onto their back again. However, you want to try to practice getting them comfortable with this new skill as often as you can; otherwise, it can take longer them to get back on track
  • Products such as the Swaddle Sleeves Footie or the Swaddle Sleeves Sack can help immensely as they are great transitional items from the swaddle and can help your baby (and you!) get some sleep during the tummy rolling phase and beyond

As your little one masters the skill of rolling, you may see their patterns of sleep fall of the rail for a few days, but they will soon get back on track! Stay consistent and patient and celebrate this new milestone, and don't forget to enjoy one (or many!) large cups of coffee to help you through this exciting milestone.

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Author: Anita Patel, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Founder of Hush Baby Hush, helps create healthy sleep habits for families all around the world with newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers. Anita provides personalized sleep consulting services for families who are seeking advice and support to overcome common sleep challenges.

 


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