New parents eagerly anticipate their child’s milestones, and rolling is usually the first one that is achieved. Rolling can take place anywhere from three months to seven months, so don’t worry too much if other babies the same age are rolling but your baby isn’t. The spectrum of what is normal when it comes to major milestones is quite broad, so sit tight, it will happen, and then you’ll wonder why you were so impatient.
Many parents worry when their baby has learnt to roll in their sleep, and hasn’t yet mastered rolling back. When a baby gets stuck in an uncomfortable position they will usually wake up and cry out.
The major worry for parents is the risk of SIDs and the extra night wakings. Here are some tips to help you manage both of these concerns.
How To Manage Baby’s Night Time Rolling
- Continue to follow SIDs Safe Sleeping Guidelines, you can read them here.
- It is essential to discontinue wrapping as soon as baby starts showing signs that they can begin to roll, usually between 4-6 months. If you wrap your baby, consider baby’s stage of development. Leave arms free once the startle reflex disappears around 3 months.
- Remember that there are other risk factors for SIDs, tummy sleeping is just one of them, and the older they get the less the risk.
- According to SIDs and Kids, babies who sleep on their backs tend to roll on their tummies later than side-sleeping infants, so continue putting your baby to sleep on their back.
- Using a baby sleeping bag can help delay rolling on to their tummy at night. If you are not already using one of these, it’s worth trying as it may discourage night time rolling.
- If you use blankets, make sure they are tucked in tightly to the bottom of the cot.
- Ensure your baby’s feet touch the bottom of the cot when you put them to bed to ensure they can’t wriggle under blankets while sleeping.
- Make sure they are sleeping on a firm, well-fitting mattress and that there is no risk to their face being covered by bedding, pillows or soft toys.
- There is no need to get up and roll your baby on to their back if they roll over in the night. It is only if they are uncomfortable and cry out, that you need to go to them. The risk of sudden infant death in babies over six months is extremely low.
- Continue providing opportunities for ‘tummy time’ as this will keep strengthening their neck and shoulder muscles so they can move on to the next milestone of rolling back.
- Do not use any devices designed to keep baby in a particular sleep position.
As difficult as it is to manage the interrupted nights, they should only be short term while your baby gets stronger and learns to roll back. It can take about a month to learn to roll back, so while it is tough going at the time, rest assured, soon enough your baby will add to their rolling skill-set and these interruptions will cease.