How To Stop Baby From Rolling Over In Their Sleep


Watching your little one grow up before your eyes and develop new skills is exciting for any parent. The first major milestone for babies would be learning to roll over which is still exciting and cute, unless your baby is doing it in his/her sleep. This on the other hand, is exhausting and frustrating because if your baby is rolling over during their sleep, that means that you have to be nearby, vigilant on 24 hour watch while your baby sleeps to monitor whenever baby rolls over.

If you are constantly readjusting baby’s sleeping position into one where he or she is laying on their back again, this can be a problem for both of you. So how do you stop baby from rolling over in sleep? The safest option when putting your baby to sleep is to ensure he/she is sleeping on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation.

Why is Your Baby Rolling Over in Her Sleep?

Once your baby can lift their head, she will start to push up on her arms and arch her back to lift her chest. This will strengthen her upper body so that she can stay steady and upright while sitting. Additionally, she may rock on her stomach, while kicking her legs, and “swim” with her little arms.

These abilities which appear when your baby is around 5 months old, are necessary for rolling over and crawling later. By this time, she will probably be able to roll over both ways, although take note that babies vary in age when they are able to accomplish this.

When you baby is strong enough to raise their chest, you can start to help her practice sitting up. You can either hold her up, or support her little back with pillows or the corner of a couch while she learns to balance herself. She will soon learn the “tripod” position, which is leaning forward as she extends her arms to balance her upper body.

You can place bright and interesting toys in front of her so she has something to focus on as she gains her balance. Note that it will be some time before she can maneuver herself into a sitting position without any assistance.

Stop Baby Rolling Over During Sleep

The baby usually rolls over in his/her sleep because he can. Parents will find that as their babies are growing, they do not really know when the right time to practice their skills is, this includes sleep time.

When your baby learns to roll, there is a high possibility that he/she will be more interested in doing that instead of sleeping at night. This means he will not fall asleep immediately or he will end up staying awake at night for longer.

In most cases, you may also find that the rolling wakes the baby up if he does it during sleep. This can translate into frequent mid-nap and nighttime waking.

There are a few ways in which you may prevent rolling over during sleep or at least delay it as longs as you can so that by the time this stage hits, you do not have to worry so much.

Swaddling the Baby

Swaddle your baby for as longs as possible and continue to do so until he/she starts rolling in his swaddle blanket. This is an effective measure for preventing the baby from rolling when asleep in the crib. Make sure his swaddle blanket fits properly and is snug because this will make it even harder for the baby to roll.

A Sleep Suit

The sleep suit is an excellent option for babies who cannot be swaddled i.e. those who bust out of his swaddle blanket or those who roll in his swaddle blanket. It is also beneficial for ensuring babies remain positioned on their backs so it might not be helpful if your baby has been a tummy sleeper and is now flipping onto his back. You can keep the baby in a sleep suit until she is rolling both ways efficiently after which you can transition to the sleep sack.

A really good quality sleep suit that I used for my son was the 100% Cotton Halo Sleep Sack. It’s almost more like a little jacket you put on your baby before bed except it wraps them up like a burrito and gives you the option of tucking arms IN or leaving them out. The difference between a sleep suit and a swaddle is that a sleep suit zips up and fastens close and a swaddle needs to be wrapped around baby snugly to work.

Anti-Roll Baby Protection Pillow

They make some pretty nifty things for babies. If you have a baby issue, there is most likely a product out there to solve that problem. With that said, there is this Baby Sleep Positioner with Pillow, meant to prevent your baby from rolling over on their stomach at all. 

Warning, this could really frustrate and anger your little one who may just want to practice their new rolling skills. With this in place, they literally cannot budge! My son would screech when I put him in one of these pillows. He wanted to MOVE. He wanted to ROLL and ROLL and basically ROLL away lol

RANDER 2 in 1 Infant Sleeping Anti-rollover Baby Pillow (F) Is another “roll prevention” pillow that looks sorta like a horse shoe. You place your baby right in the middle of it and its supposed to keep them in place.

So how do you manage things if your baby starts rolling over during sleep?

The first thing to do is make sure your baby’s new rolling mobility is not generating a hazardous sleep situation. If you are still swaddling your baby for sleep, you will want to stop doing it when he/she can roll over because a swaddled baby is not supposed to sleep face-down. Additionally, all this rolling will loosen his swaddle blanket blankets and this can pose a huge suffocation risk. Go for a sleep sack as opposed to swaddling.

Make sure the baby’s sleep surface is even and free of any toys, stuffed animals, pillows, or loose blankets. Since your baby can roll, the entire sleeping area will have to be baby proofed as it is considered fair game.

When trying to stop babies from rolling over during sleep, most parents usually feel the need to flip their babies back onto their backs if they roll onto their stomachs. After all, back sleeping is considered much safer than tummy sleeping. Nevertheless, several medical experts recommend letting the baby sleep on her stomach if she rolls over as it is safer.

You have to consider that now if your baby knows how to roll onto their stomach, they are safe to sleep that way. However, you should definitely talk to your healthcare provider first to get the go-ahead before letting your baby sleep on his tummy after rolling over during sleep.


What To Do Once The Rolling Phase Hits

  • If the baby has only started rolling and it is disrupting her sleep occasionally, put him down in his usual position (tummy-tummy sleeper, back-back sleeper) and leave the room. If your baby rolls over and becomes upset, ensure you wait for 10 to 15 minutes minimum before deciding whether you need to intervene. If after waiting the first time the baby becomes too upset, go to her, flip her, and walk out of the room. This gives her the chance to learn how to sleep in this new position or/and roll back herself. You can do this for as longs as you can or proceed to this next step.
  • If your baby has been rolling for some time and is able to roll back and the sleep disruption is frequent and regular, he may be doing it for fun or for attention. Put the baby to bed in his new position i.e. back for tummy sleepers or tummy for back sleepers. If he becomes upset, use any sleep coaching method you prefer to make sure he falls asleep in this new position. This also goes for night wakings occurring after midnight. If the baby is still struggling to sleep after midnight, use the first plan as above to take the novelty out of rolling and teach the baby how to sleep in this new position. You will find that it will no matter how the baby sleeps after three days because she will be used to both positions.
  • One of the most direct approaches among the three is the ‘one-free flip’ approach. For this method, you put your baby down in her usual sleeping position and leave the room. If the baby rolls over, you will only flip them back once and after that, it is up to the baby to fall asleep in her new position or roll back. This method is ideal for use with babies who you are sure can roll both ways consistently. Such babies seem to forget magically once they are in the crib.

You also need to practice rolling both ways with the baby during the day as much as possible. You should also practice right before bedtime so it is still fresh when he steps into the crib. Start the rolling plan before bedtime because the baby’s will to sleep is much higher during the night and they are less capable of fighting you because they are overwhelmed with sleep. When bedtime is no longer a problem, naps will also cease to become an issue.

I hope this answered your question, “How do I stop baby from rolling over in sleep” Please let me know how you are dealing with your little one now rolling around. Are you thrilled that your baby has reached a new milestone or are you worried about your baby’s safety?

As an experienced mom of three I know first-hand just how difficult it can be when they start to roll over in their sleep. It happened with all three of my little babies and it was not a fun experience. I wish I had been able to read this article back then! It would have helped me out so much.

When a milestone such as rolling over becomes dangerous, it can be both joyful & worrisome because you can’t take your eyes off your baby for a moment, ESPECIALLY when they are on the bed! I would advise having a play yard, or put your baby in their crib or a space that is blocked off by baby-appropriate gates, in the instance where you need to use the restroom, etc.

This is wonderful advice for new parents (and even those who think they are experienced). New items come out all the time. I used to just use pillows to keep my little ones from rolling around. Lmao I’ve never even heard of a sleep suit so you are definitely ahead of the curve on this one.
Thank you for a very informative article.

Aww thank you! That makes me feel good knowing that I am being helpful to families 🙂 The Sleep Suit is a nifty garment , sort of like the Snuggie ( do you remember that? ) from those late night infomercials? anyay, its meant to keep baby warm and still because otherwise blankets are dangerous for baby as we all know why. Try to think of it like a little Maggie Star space suit 😉

Great info. I remember when my children were that young. My youngest used to roll onto his stomach in his crib early on but It never ended up being much of an issue because he instinctively new to to put his head to the side instead of being face down somehow. Those products look great for parents with the average newborn and very young baby.

Yes you are right, when most babies learn how to roll over, they are OKAY to stay that way. I think the biggest concern with parents is that their baby will suffocate if they roll on their stomachs themselves but at that point they are able to move around enough to be able to breathe.

Love this article! This is such an important subject to discuss and research. Babies rolling over at night can keep so many new parents up all night. My son rolled off the bed one time and I never forgave myself! ( he is 14 years old now lol ) but I would put lots of pillows and try to create a “Fort” to make sure it was safe. I could have really used one of these anti rolling pillows back then!

Oh no! Poor baby 🙁 If your son is 14 now he probably doesn’t remember that lol but I TOTALLY understand what it is like being a mom and being so in love with your babies that you can never forgive yourself even if they get a paper cut and its your fault lol. Babies who have just learned how to roll can roll themselves off the bed as soon as we turn our head. These anti roll pillows are EVERYTHING. They take the anxiety off when you want to put baby down on you bed and go pee real quick.


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