Your baby is on a roll and this new skill is interfering with sleep. So often, developmental milestones are followed by sleep challenges. But this one doesn’t have to keep you up all night! Let’s look at this milestone and arm you with some ways to minimize sleep interruptions.
Typically, babies will learn how to roll one way first (from back to front, or from front to back), and then learn the other way several weeks later. So for babies who get stuck on their tummies, this can be quite upsetting (others are quite happy snuggling in for a tummy sleep).
Here’s what my clients frequently ask, and how I help them through the rolling phase.
How. Long. Will. This. Last?!
It’s likely going to be short-lived. I’ve found that on average, babies learn how to roll the second way (from front to back, or from back to front) within approximately three weeks.
Sleep training has been going really well, and now she’s rolling during the night and crying. Should I go in to help?
You’ve put your baby down on her back, and now she’s on her front and is not happy about it. My golden rule is this: if your baby is in distress, intervene. Go in and gently help her roll back. You may need to do this a few times before she settles again. If it feels like you’re taking a step backwards with sleep, don’t worry. Remember, this is a temporary phase.
Is there anything I can use to help keep my baby in place?
I’ve had many clients swear by positioning aids (think a wedge or DockATot). Sometimes an aid is all a baby needs to get her through this three-week gap. If you’re deciding if and what to use, keep in mind that different health authorities around the world have different stances on this types of aids. You’ll want to check with yours and make a decision that you feel at ease with. One of my team members recently used a DockATot for her third baby and estimates it got her an extra 100 hours of sleep during her baby’s first six months!
What else can we do to help?
Give your baby plenty of opportunities to practice rolling! Dress him in non-restrictive clothing and get down on the floor. Experiment with guiding him through a few rolls. Often a gentle hand supporting him in rolling his non-preferred way will help him feel safe.
If you need sleep support for your little one, visit our Sleep page.