Rolling and your Baby's Sleep
Rolling is a very exciting and expected milestone for your baby!
Rolling typically emerges around 4-6 months, which is a super exciting time for sleep in general because of all of the other fantastic neurological changes that are finally happening to make things like sleeping through the night and predictable naps a realistic thing!
Learn more about how to maximize on your baby’s exciting new sleep developments during the four month sleep transition.
For SO MANY PARENTS, rolling is also terrifying.
You have worked so hard to practice safe sleep habits and now it looks like your baby is just smashing their little face into their mattress over and over and over again, or maybe they’re rolling to their belly but then having a hard time rolling back. If you are scared, you are not alone.
Thankfully, you don’t really have to be scared at all. Rather, I encourage you to be excited about this milestone and follow these four tips:
Continue to practice safe sleep with your baby sleeping in a consistent safe sleep space. This means an empty crib or packnplay with a properly fitted sheet. A baby who is rolling needs more space than a bassinet can provide.
Ensure their sleepwear allows their arms to be free! The last thing we want to do for a baby who is learning new motor skills is to restrict their mobility in any way within their safe sleep space. Time to pack away the swaddles and dress your baby in a sleep sack or wearable blanket. There are so many sleep sack options, and my best advice is for it to be temperature appropriate to avoid overheating and fitted well to minimize tangles. Otherwise, my favorite is the most affordable option :)
Offer plenty of daytime rolling practice. Make sure to offer extra floor time for your baby so they can really master this new skill. It’s going to be a long transition if they are only practicing with minimal floor time. You can even act as their rolling coach and facilitate rolling practice by holding an exciting toy just overhead. Mostly though, just give them a safe space to experiment with their body and practice so they are better able to roll successfully at night.
Stay calm. Practicing safe sleep also means placing your baby down to sleep on their back for the first 12 months. Once they are able to roll onto their side or stomach, it is absolutely safe to allow them to stay and put the monitor down. Many babies are most comfortable sleeping on their bellies and it is finally safe to allow them to stay in this position if they get there all by themselves. If your baby is struggling after they roll on their belly? It’s OK to give them a chance to figure out how to roll back. It’s also OK to give them an assist. There is going to be a period where they are still learning, and lending a hand is totally fine. Just make sure to keep offering plenty of daytime floor time so they are able to work on mastering the skill so they won’d be needing that assist for too long.
Learning to roll is an exciting milestone, but it takes time to practice in order to master any new skill. Continue to practice safe sleep, dress your baby with arms free, offer plenty of daytime rolling practice, and know that your baby is safe to sleep on their stomachs once they are able to get there independently. Once the skill of rolling in both directions is mastered, sleep should improve too! This is why you should be excited!
If you’re interested in learning more about setting your baby up with a healthy sleep foundation, read about the top 5 healthy sleep habits for babies, toddler, and preschoolers.
And if you’d rather work with me one on one to create a comprehensive sleep plan for your individual baby with daily support along the way, schedule a free 15 minute discovery call to get started.