Baby Rolling Over and Waking Himself Up

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

5 month old rolling over, freaking out & screaming

Feb 2007

Our 5 mo old has figured out how to rollover pretty well from back to front and not so well from front to back. At night, she rolls over in her sleep onto her tummy, then freaks out because she hates this position. She either doesn't have enough room or is too tired to roll herself back over. She then screams and cries until someone comes and flips her over. This has been going on for weeks now and can range from either 1 disruption a night to up to 3 disruptions (almost like every 2 1/2 hrs). This is worse than when she was a newborn! My husband and I are getting very sleep deprived. I keep hoping and waiting that this is something she will grow out of (which I know she will eventually) but it just seems to be getting worse (the episodes are coming more frequent). I'm sure other people out there have experienced this. What did you do? Is there anything I can do other than wait it out? very sleepy mom

Have you tried one of those bolsters? My daughter also rolled at night, though she didn't seem to mind the new position. A bolster worked for awhile, so maybe give it a try, though our daughter was eventually strong enough to roll anyway.

Related, I was very worried about my daughter being on her tummy at night due to SIDS. But our pediatrian said not to worry to much about it. A baby that strong is probably going to be okay on their tummy. Maybe that will create a stir on the list! But it was my experience. Mamma L

let her cry it out. i know it sounds terrible, but you and your baby are getting into a sleep deficit that isn't good for anyone. they sleep on their tummies, trust me. both my kids are tummy sleepers (21 months and 2 months). i actually didn't even try #2 on her back because they sleep so long on their tummies that i have a super happy restful baby all the time which is easy for me! anon
Turn off your monitor. Alternate wearing earplugs. Your child will figure out how to sleep on her stomach (your doctor will tell you that SIDS issues are greatly reduced at this point) and soon enough figure out how to flip back if it really bugs her. This too shall pass. jan

7-mo-old rolls over, wakes up during night

November 2004

My 7 month old rolls over from her back onto her belly and wakes up about three or more times a night. My husband has been turning her over onto her back and putting the pacifier in her mouth. She usually goes back to sleep but sometimes she is wide awake by the time he gets to her and takes a while to fall back asleep with many passy plug ins. (Ugh, I love/hate the passifier!) We are both extremely sleep deprived (We also have a two year old who was an aweful sleeper until recently) and I think it's time to let her work it out for herself. Meaning it is time to use some degree of letting her cry until she figures out how to sleep on her belly or roll back over. All feedback welcome! sharon

Well, I'd caution you to really, really inform yourself before just ignoring your baby crying. There are various child-development specialists who believe that simply ignoring a child (particularly an infant) when they cry can be traumatizing, because they cry as the only way to express a need (for comfort, food, whatever) and if they receive no response, they may learn that (at least in certain circumstances) not only they can they not count on getting their needs met, but they can't even count on a response. So, while, ultimately it will ''work'' in that the child will learn to stop crying, they will also turn inward, becoming fearful and insecure, and develop deep trust issues. On the other hand, there are those who say that it is important for children to learn a certain amount of self-soothing, which they cannot learn if the parents are ''on'' them every time they express distress. Instead, they become dependent upon outside affirmation and comfort, and so clingy and ''emotionally fused'' later in life. But I got the sense that this was something to try when one's child is a little older. And, there too, it didn't mean not responding, you still make it known to your child that you're ''there,'' you just don't necessarily rush to comfort them. So, not meaning to criticize people who choose the ''let-them-cry-it-out'' method, but I think it's important to really gather as much expert, professional opinion as you can on the subject, so you can make an informed decision. I know there's a lot of books on this issue, which others will recommend which should be helpful. I haven't read them, I've been consulting with a child specialist/therapist (on other issues, actually), so that's why I don't have titles to refer you to.
have you tried just putting her to sleep on her tummy? not officially recommended, I know but Sears lists a whole slew of good reasons why infants tend to sleep better and longer on their fronts and I know it was the case for my own. my husband didn't like it but I think once they can lift and move their heads, the risk of SIDS because of position goes way down assuming there aren't any other risk factors.

not sure why you don't like pacifiers but seems like if this soothes and get you all some sleep - what's the harm? can she put it in her own mouth if its available to her at night? anon

5-mo old has mastered rolling to his tummy, can't reverse

October 2002

My five-month-old has mastered rolling from his back to his stomach but hasn't yet learned the reverse. This isn't much of a problem when he's awake; however, during naptime and at night, he rolls onto his tummy in his sleep and wakes himself up. I thought he might actually prefer sleeping on his stomach once he could get there on his own, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Has anyone else dealt with this? Do I simply have to wait until he learns to roll onto his back? Someone suggested putting rolled up blankets on either side of him, but I'm nervous about having them in the crib -- and I have a feeling my little steamroller would just roll right over them anyway! Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks. Carrie

I was the poster of the original ''5 month old hates tummy time - rolls over'' from July that the editor referred to in your posting. My now 9 month old was driving me NUTS with the rolling onto his tummy, and so I figured he had 3 options: 1. He was going to have to stop rolling onto his tummy; 2. He was going to have to figure out how to roll back; or 3. He was going to have to deal with the tummy thing and learn to love it! Unfortunately, these options required that I pretty much leave him there to howl and scream until he picked one (and my pediatrician agreed). So we started letting him stay on his tummy and only flipped him back when he was too far gone to be able to comfort himself. However, at 6 months on the nose, he started sitting up on his own, and once he was able to sit up, he hated lying down, so he didn't get much rolling practice. So the rolling became less of an issue during the day, and more of an issue at bedtime or naptime. This meant that I did a lot of schlepping in and out of his room to flip him in his sleep, or from just waking up, or from just going down We tried the anti-flipping body wedges and they lie on top of, but he hated that even more for some reason, but there didn't seem to be anything I could do about it except let him lie there and scream. Eventually things got better and he seems to have picked all three options because it hasn't really been an issue the last month or so. I hope this is helpful, feel free to contact me directly if you want to chat. Jill
You need one of these:

It's a product by ''The First Years'', called an ''air flow sleep positioner''. The rolls on either side are plastic cages covered with cloth -- they're not squishy enough for your baby's face to squash into them even if the baby succeeds in rolling onto them, so they're very safe. I had the exact same problem as you with my son, and this product (coincidentally given to me by a friend a few days before my son started to roll over) solved it! -- A mom whose son now sleeps through the night

We had the same problem when our son was that age! He'd turn onto his belly & get stuck. I'd go in to his room, turn him over and he'd be back on his tummy before I could climb back in bed. It really disrupted everyone's sleep. After a week or so of that drill, we bought a sleep wedge at Rockridge Kids and basically forced him to sleep on his side for a while (until he was good at rolling back and forth). I found it helpful to give him extra doses of tummy time during the day to practice the fine art of rolling over. Good luck! Jen
I read your posting and wanted to share our very similar experience with our daughter. When she was about 5 months old she learned to roll from her back to her tummy. She seemed to want to be on her tummy all the time which was fine, until she was sleeping. Then she would roll onto her tummy, wake up, and start crying. We would try to roll her back but it didn't work. It was quite frustrating because she had become such a good sleeper on her back and now everything was in upheaval and her sleep was constantly being disrupted. We just decided to be patient and hope that she would work it out...and she did. Now that she is almost 6 months old she is comfortable sleeping on her tummy and no longer wakes up crying when she rolls over. We asked her pediatrician if it was okay to sleep on her tummy because of the SIDS issue. The doctor said yes, that by now she had shown herself to be strong enough to handle it. Hang in there, I am sure your son will work it out too. Suzanne
We had a hard time when my son first started rolling over in bed and then when he stood up - someone told me they have to learn how to get themselves to sleep all over again. Ultimately I had to leave him in the crib and let him (cry and) figure out how to go to sleep. Now he sleeps on his stomach for most of his naps. Of course this is in a situation where we were letting him get himself to sleep (and we've been lucky that this isn't too hard for him most of the time), and he rolled over before going to sleep, not in the middle of his nap. Alma