Milestone: Rolling Over

Around 4 months of age your baby will start to roll from their back to their belly. As rolling over is your baby’s first move towards becoming mobile, it is a very exciting milestone. You will likely catch those first rolls on video and dutifully ooh and ahh love this big physical leap! (I mean, can you even believe how fast they’re growing?) Then one night you will check you monitor and gasp! Your baby who has always sleep soundly (and safely) on their back is now on their belly!

We all know the safest place for a baby to sleep is on their back, but what should you do when they start to roll onto their belly during sleep?

If you find your baby sleeping on their belly and they can not roll both back-to-belly and belly-to-back, you will want to flip them over, according the latest AAP Safe Sleep Guidelines. To do this without creating any bad habits or a fun game your baby enjoys playing, quietly enter their room and flip them onto their back in a very business-like fashion. That is, with no eye contact and without kisses, talking, or snuggles. You’ll want to keep your interaction limited for two reasons:

  1. We do not want to stimulate your little one, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep.

  2. We do not want to give them a reason to continue to roll over - it’s not a very fun game if there isn’t a prize!

To help this phase past quickly, you will want to offer plenty of supervised tummy time during wake periods as well as practice rolling from belly to back.

Once your little one is comfortably rolling in both directions, you will want to stop flipping them over, should you find them sleeping on their belly. Your baby may have a tough time adjusting to this sleep position, but you will still will want to refrain from interfering. Over the course of two-three nights one of three things will happen:

  1. They will learn to sleep comfortably on their stomach.

  2. They will learn to roll back over.

  3. They will learn not to roll over in the first place!


For safety be sure to transition our of a swaddle at the first signs of rolling readiness. Like with rolling, the transition out of the swaddle may cause a slight disruption in your child’s sleep. In a matter of a few days, this too will pass. If you have an early roller or your child still has their startle reflex, consider a transitional sleep sack that is safe for rolling, such as the Zippadee-Zip. WRB does not consider Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit or the Nested Bean safe as a swaddle transition.

Well Rested Baby is a team of Family Sleep Institute certified sleep consultants that helps families like yours identify, address, and correct their children’s sleep issues. WRB works with moms and dad’s to create customized sleep plans that reflect a family’s comfort level and philosophies. When paired with WRB’s 360-approach, the entire family is set up for sleep success. WRB offers a variety of support packages.ContactWRB today to schedule a consultation or learn more about how we can help you and yours get the sleep you need and deserve.

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