Baby Keeps Rolling To Tummy And Crying

From their first gummy smile to their tentative steps, babies achieve numerous milestones in their first year. Among these, learning to roll over is a significant achievement. This developmental leap not only signals physical progress but also marks a new independence. However, as your baby navigates this milestone, you may encounter challenges, particularly when they start rolling onto their tummy during sleep, leading to tears and disrupted rest. Today, we’ll explore strategies to manage this common issue and help your little one—and you—get a good night’s sleep.

Baby Keeps Rolling To Tummy And Crying

Baby Keeps Rolling To Tummy And Crying

When babies begin to show signs of rolling over, it’s an exciting time. They’re mastering new movements and exploring their abilities. However, when this skill disrupts their sleep, it can be frustrating. It’s important to understand that crying after rolling over in their sleep is normal, especially as babies adjust to their new sleeping positions. You may find through this process that your infant prefers to sleep on their side or prefers to sleep on their tummy. Although the sudden change can startle them, causing discomfort or uncertainty, leading to tears, once they figure out how to roll, if they can turn their head, being a tummy sleeper may provide some of the best sleep they have ever gotten (and in turn…you have gotten since they were born, or maybe, since before you were pregnant). 

When Do Babies Roll Over?

Babies typically start rolling over around four to six months, often coined as the 4-Month Sleep Regression. This varies among infants, with some mastering it earlier and others taking a little longer. As they become more proficient, they may even roll over in their sleep, shifting from their back to their tummy or vice versa. 

While this demonstrates progress in their motor skills, it can pose challenges when it comes to safe sleeping practices. It can also be terrifying to watch your infant on the monitor practice these skills when you are not confident in their ability to roll. When your baby starts to roll in the middle of the night, you probably have a lot of thoughts “rolling” through your own mind. Use the tips below to ease your mind and your heart. 

Baby Keeps Rolling To Tummy And Crying

What To Do When Baby Rolls Over and Cries

Tip #1: Consider Their Sleeping Environment

Creating a safe sleeping environment is crucial. Whether you decide to keep your infant in your room or make the transition to their own room, consider the room environment regardless of the situation. Ensure the crib is free of loose bedding, pillows, or soft toys that could pose a suffocation risk. Use a firm mattress with a fitted sheet. Make sure the room is dark, quiet (with white noise), and at an appropriate temperature for sleep. 

Tip #2: Encourage Tummy Time During the Day

To help your baby get used to being on their tummy, incorporate regular tummy time during waking hours. Start with short sessions several times a day, gradually increasing the duration as they grow more comfortable. This helps strengthen their muscles and familiarizes them with the position. Make tummy time fun and engaging with black and white books, social interaction, and fun games to work on skills like object permanence. 

Tip #3: Stop Swaddling When They Start Rolling

If you’ve been swaddling your baby and they started rolling, it’s time to transition to alternative sleepwear once they start showing signs of rolling over. Swaddling can restrict their movement and increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) once they’re able to roll onto their tummy. It can be really overwhelming to consider removing them from a swaddle, especially if they have slept great in one and fall asleep great in one. Refer to our blog, “How to Transition Out Of the Swaddle,” to help answer all of your questions. 

Tip #4: Offer Comfort and Reassurance

When your baby wakes up upset after rolling onto their tummy, you must remember that this is a skill they are learning, both during the day and at night. Avoid immediately picking them up if they’re not fully awake, as this could further disrupt their sleep. If you are comfortable implementing a sleep training method, now would be a great time to incorporate structured sleep training, with support. 

Understanding Baby's Sleep Patterns

Understanding Baby’s Sleep Patterns

It’s important to recognize that babies go through sleep regressions at various stages of development (refer to our “When Do Babies Go Through Sleep Regressions Blog” for more information). By understanding your baby’s milestones and their impact on sleep, you can navigate these changes with confidence. Remember, each baby is unique, and it’s normal for adjustments to take time. With patience and a nurturing approach, you can support your little one as they grow and learn to sleep comfortably in their new positions.

In conclusion, while the phase of babies rolling to their tummy and crying presents challenges, it’s also a testament to their growth and development. By creating a safe sleep environment, encouraging tummy time, and offering comfort when needed, you can help your baby—and yourself—navigate this exciting yet sometimes turbulent time with ease.

If these tips and tricks have helped, but you find yourself needing more guidance, we are here to help. The 4-6 month age is the perfect time to work with one of our pediatric sleep consultants on building a customized sleep foundation that is reliable and flexible. Set up a FREE 15 minute consultation call to see if the Sleep Shore family is a good fit for you and your infant.

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Is your struggling with sleep and you aren’t sure what to do? If your child is unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up at a normal time, it may be time to consider sleep training. Sleep Shore offers personalized solutions for each unique sleeping situation to get your little one on track- whether they’re a newborninfant, or toddler. Sleep training offers babies and children with the skills to fall asleep on their own so they can wake up feeling more well-rested- and in turn, you’ll feel more energized, too!

See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“My only regret is not hiring Molly sooner! We were recommended by a close friend to reach out to Molly after months of sleepless nights with our baby. Finally around eight months we gave in and it was the best thing we could’ve done. Now our daughter is going on 17 months and while every night isn’t perfect, it’s close to it. She’s finally sleeping through the night and falls asleep within minutes of being put down.

Because of working with Molly, our baby is able to get herself to sleep, even on her toughest nights – I think that’s been my favorite part of our whole experience. The fact that she can be fussy going to bed at times, but has learned to calm herself down and get to sleep – even when sleeping in foreign environments. Keeping a bed time routine (doesn’t have to be fancy!), staying consistent, and making sure she gets in all her calories throughout the day have all been important factors too – all of which we learned from Molly. We cannot say enough good things. If you’re on the fence, just do it, your rested self will thank you – as will your rested baby!”

Mom of an 8 month old

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