What to Do When Baby Rolls Over in Sleep and Wakes Up Crying

As new parents, nightly disruptions are a reality, but few challenges can be as disrupting as when your baby rolls over in their sleep and wakes up crying. This common yet challenging situation can lead to sleepless nights, not just for your baby, but for everyone in the home. Understanding why your baby wakes up crying and creating a conducive sleep environment can help both you and your little one get more restful nights.

Understanding Why Babies Wake Up Crying

During the first year of life, babies undergo significant physical and cognitive development. Learning to roll over is a critical milestone that typically occurs between 3 and 6 months of age. As babies develop this new skill, they might start using it during their sleep. Often, once they've rolled onto their stomachs or sides, they might not be able to roll back, leading to frustration and tears.

There are several reasons why a baby might wake up crying after rolling over including discomfort, surprise, or the inability to return to a familiar position. Additionally, this developmental milestone may disrupt their usual sleep patterns, leading to an increase in night wakings.

Creating a Sleep-Conducive Environment

One key element in helping your baby sleep better is creating an environment that promotes comfortable and uninterrupted sleep. Here are several effective strategies:

  • Ensure Safe Sleep Practices: Always place your baby on their back to sleep, and ensure the crib is free of loose bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals to minimize the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  • Develop a Bedtime Routine: Establishing a calming bedtime routine can signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. This can include a bath, a gentle massage, or some quiet time with a book.
  • Consider a Sleep Training Method: If your baby is over 6 months old, you may consider gentle sleep training methods such as 'controlled comforting' or 'camping out' to help them learn to settle themselves back to sleep.
  • Use a Blackout Curtain: Light can be a significant disruptor of sleep. Using blackout curtains to eliminate light can help your baby maintain a natural sleep cycle.

A product like the Sleepout Home Blackout Curtains can be particularly useful. These curtains are designed to create a dark, calm environment, reducing the chances of your baby waking up due to changes in lighting, particularly during the early morning hours when the sun might otherwise enter their room.

The Roll Over Phase: How to Support Your Baby

While rolling over is an exciting milestone, it can disrupt sleep. Here are some strategies to help your baby during this phase:

  • Give Them Plenty of Tummy Time During the Day: Tummy time is essential for your baby to strengthen the muscles they need to roll over efficiently. The more practice they have, the less likely they’ll be frustrated during the night.
  • Make Sure They’re Comfortable: Sometimes babies wake up because they're either too hot or too cold. Ensure your baby’s clothing and blanket (if they use one) are appropriate for the room’s temperature.
  • Be Patient and Consistent: As your baby learns to roll back on their own, maintain a consistent response at night. Patting them back to sleep or even using sleep sounds can be soothing.

When to Consult a Professional

If your baby seems particularly distressed or is not achieving sleep milestones as expected, it might be time to consult a pediatrician or a sleep consultant. They can offer guidance tailored to your baby’s specific needs.

Understanding Sleep Regressions

Sleep regressions can also occur at various stages in a baby's development. These are periods when a baby's sleep patterns shift, they wake up more during the night, or have difficulty going to sleep. Being aware of these can help you manage your expectations and remain patient as your baby grows.

In conclusion, while the phase where a baby rolls over and wakes up crying can be challenging, it's a temporary phase. With the right strategies and tools, you can help your baby (and yourself) get better sleep. Incorporating tools like the Sleepout Home Blackout Curtains will not only help in creating an ideal sleep environment but also contribute to establishing healthy sleep habits that benefit the entire family.

Mother installing Sleepout blackout curtains

Remember, each baby is unique and they develop at their own pace. Understanding your baby’s needs and responding to them effectively can make a big difference in how they (and you) sleep during these formative months.

Baby sleeping peacefully

With the right approach and some patience, you'll soon see your little one mastering this new skill and enjoying peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.

Back to blog

Experience 100% Blackout Fabric