Is Your Newborn Rolling On Their Side While Sleeping? Here Is What You Need To Know

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Is Your Newborn Rolling On Their Side While Sleeping?

Many parents worry, but it’s important to know why and what it means for your baby’s safety and for your peace of mind.

Newborns are known for their unpredictable sleep positions. As babies grow, they try different sleep positions, like rolling onto their sides. Although it may seem worrisome at first, this is usually a normal part of your baby’s growth.

It’s important to know the risks of side sleeping for newborns. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on their backs. Back sleeping reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

In this article, we’ll talk about why some babies roll onto their sides when sleeping. We’ll also discuss the possible risks and how you can keep your baby safe while they sleep. So if you want to know more about your little one’s sleep habits and how to keep them safe, keep reading.

Is It The Newborn Curl?

Did you ever notice that when you place your newborn on their back, they often curl up on their side like a fetus? This phenomenon is often referred to as the “newborn curl.”

Here’s why: In the last months of pregnancy, a baby’s muscles strengthen. Newborn babies curl up into a flexed posture. It’s involuntary and it’s a sign that they are healthy and ready for birth. Full-term newborns bend their arms, pull their legs up, and curl their hands into fists. Sometimes, when you lay them down on a flat surface, their muscles cause them to curl onto their side.

This reflexive curl is nothing to worry about and it usually disappears within a few weeks. Still, lay your baby down on their back and return them to their back if you wake in the night and find them curled.

Got a Preemie?

I remember when my baby Julian was in the NICU, he would lie so straight. He didn’t curl. He was like this when he came home too. He started to curl onto his side many weeks after coming home. Julian, like other premature babies, grew and reached milestones at his own speed.

If, all of a sudden, your preemie is in the newborn curl position when you wake up at night, roll them onto their back. Don’t worry too much about it. Newborn preemies eventually curl up too, but it goes away after a few weeks.

Is your two- to three-month-old newborn rolling to their side?

You left the curling reflex months ago. Now your strong little tummy-timer is a side sleeper. They went from back sleeping to rolling up on their side.

Most newborns curl up right away after birth. Then a few weeks later they stop. They can’t roll onto their sides after a month.

When newborn babies turn their heads to the left, their left arm extends to prevent rolling over. When they turn their heads to the right, their right arm extends to prevent rolling over. This is a reflex that newborns have to prevent rolling over. Most babies start rolling over once they lose this reflex.

As your baby grows stronger, you might notice other signs that they’re getting ready to roll over. This is especially true during playtime on the floor. Here are some signs that your baby is getting ready to start rolling from their back to their belly.

  1. Shifting from the back to the side.

  2. Grabbing and holding both feet.

  3. Tucking their chin while being pulled up into a sitting position.

  4. Reaching across their tummy or the central “midline” of their body.

 The importance of safe sleep for newborns

When it comes to newborns, ensuring their safety during sleep is of utmost importance. As parents, we want to provide a secure and comfortable sleep environment for our little ones. Understanding the best sleep positions for newborns is crucial.

The AAP suggests that parents put babies down for sleep on their backs until they are one year old. This position significantly reduces the risk of SIDS. As babies grow, they may start sleeping in different positions, like on their side.

When is it safe for baby to sleep on their side or tummy?

The AAP says it’s safe for babies to sleep in different positions once they can roll both ways. This means that babies will have good head and neck control. They will be mobile enough. This means they will be able to move from back to front and from front to back on their own. Most newborn babies can’t do this.

Understanding why newborns roll on their sides while sleeping

It’s not uncommon for newborns to roll onto their sides while sleeping. As babies grow and move more, they might change positions while they sleep. Rolling onto their side can provide a sense of comfort and security for some babies.

Newborns may roll on their side because they seek extra support. Some babies prefer sleeping on their sides due to reflux or digestive issues. Rolling onto their side can reduce pressure on their stomach and provide relief.

Newborns may roll onto their side because this is how they move in the womb. In the womb, babies are often curled up in a fetal position. This would mean that side sleeping is more familiar and comforting to them.

Risks associated with newborns rolling on their side while sleeping

While it’s normal for newborns to roll onto their side while sleeping, it’s important to know the risks. The AAP strongly advises against side sleeping for infants. Sleeping on their side can increase the risk of SIDS. This is especially true if they accidentally roll onto their stomach.

Newborn babies may have difficulty maintaining a side position throughout the night. They could easily shift onto their stomach. Their stomach is a high-risk sleep position. Stomach sleeping can restrict airflow and increase the likelihood of suffocation.

It’s crucial to ensure that their newborns are always placed on their backs to sleep. Creating a safe sleep environment is essential in reducing the risk of SIDS.

How to prevent newborns from rolling on their side while sleeping

Your baby may try to roll onto their side while sleeping, but you can lower the risk. Here are some strategies to keep in mind:

1. Swaddling your baby can make them feel safe and limit their movements while they sleep. When swaddling babies, wrap their arms and leave room for their hips to grow.

2. Firm mattress: Ensure that your baby’s mattress is firm and flat. To keep your baby safe, don’t use soft bedding, pillows, or crib bumpers. These things can cause suffocation. A firm mattress provides a stable surface. If your child starts to move sideways, they won’t get stuck in soft bedding and risk re-breathing.

3. Back is best: Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Newborns are safest when sleeping in this position, which lowers the risk of SIDS. If your baby rolls onto their side while sleeping, move them onto their back.

4. Fip When Needed: Please don’t feel as if you have to lie awake all night. (As if that’s not happening already). Get sleep when you can, and if you wake and see your child on their side, move them to their back. If your baby does flip to belly, chances are, they’ll let you know! They’ll wake and cry because they’ll need you to come flip them back over. It’s not necessary to lie awake in the night watching and waiting for your child to shift positions.

The Snoo is the only FDA-approved solution that keeps babies from rolling

You’ve probably heard of the SNOO, a bassinet designed by a pediatrician for babies. SNOO offers a safe sleeping solution for babies. This is not like the unsafe infant sleep positioners that the FDA recalled or the AAP warned against. SNOO is the only FDA-approved baby sleep system that keeps babies on their backs. SNOO provides a safe sleeping surface that is flat and firm. The bassinet has a special SNOO Sack with looped “wings” that keep babies safe.

SNOO is special because it provides constant swaddling, shushing, and swinging to help sleep. These are three of the five S’s that help calm babies and improve their sleep. SNOO helps babies calm down and sleep by responding to their distress with sound and motion. It acts like an “off switch” for crying and an “on switch” for sleep.

What Ensures SNOO’s Safety?

SNOO is the only FDA De Novo-classified medical device for babies’ safe back sleeping positions. It aligns with the main recommendation of U.S. pediatricians and public health authorities, like the AAP and CDC.

SNOO never positions infants on their side or stomach, mitigating the risk of SIDS, in contrast to these dangerous sleep positions.

To make SNOO safer, there is a lock that needs to be engaged before it starts moving. This prevents any accidental operation.

SNOO uniquely safeguards against risky rolling, ensuring your baby’s secure sleep.

The SNOO bassinet has lots of room and mesh sides for better airflow.

The SNOO Sacks that come with the SNOO are made of breathable, organic cotton. They are vented to reduce overheating.

Safe sleep practices for newborns

To keep your baby safe while they sleep, make sure they don’t roll onto their side. Also, follow other safe sleep practices. These practices will help reduce the risk of SIDS and provide a secure sleep environment for your baby:

1. Make sure your baby sleeps in a crib or bassinet with a well-fitting mattress. To keep your newborn safe, don’t sleep in the same bed. It can cause suffocation or injury.

2. To keep your baby close, the AAP suggests sharing a room for at least six months. Keeping your baby’s crib or bassinet in your room lets you watch closely and easily reach them at night.

3. Make sure the area where your baby sleeps is tidy: Take away any loose bedding, stuffed animals, or pillows. These items can pose suffocation hazards and increase the risk of SIDS. A clean and clutter-free sleep environment is essential for your baby’s safety.

4. To prevent your baby from overheating, dress them in suitable sleepwear. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS. Choose light and airy fabrics for pajamas and keep the room cool. (Recommended temperature for sleeping is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit).

By practicing safe sleep habits, you can create a secure and cozy environment for your baby. This helps prevent SIDS and promotes healthy sleep.

Creating a safe sleep environment for your newborn

When it comes to creating a safe sleep environment for your newborn, there are a few key factors to consider. To make sure your baby sleeps well, consider these factors for a safe sleep space. Here’s what you need to know:

1. When choosing a crib or bassinet, make sure it meets safety standards. Check for standards set by organizations like the CPSC and JPMA. Ensure that the mattress fits tight. Make sure there are no gaps or spaces where your newborn’s head could become trapped.

2. To position the crib or bassinet, place it in a safe spot, away from cords, curtains, or blinds. Make sure it’s not near windows or any drafts or direct or indirect sunlight. To reduce the chance of accidents or discomfort, take care in positioning the sleep area.

3. Instead of using loose blankets, you can try using a swaddler or transition swaddle. These provide warmth without the risk of suffocation or entanglement. Make sure that the swaddle or transition swaddle is the appropriate size for your baby.

4. Make sure to keep your baby’s sleep area clean. This will help remove dust and allergens that might affect their breathing. Clean all bedding, like sheets and mattress covers, that touch your baby’s sleep area. A clean sleep area helps you sleep well and reduces breathing issues.

To create a safe and cozy sleep space for your newborn, follow these guidelines. This will help them sleep well.

Signs that your newborn may be ready to transition out of swaddling

Swaddling is a common practice to help newborns feel secure and calm during sleep. As your baby grows, they may show signs of being ready to stop swaddling. Here are some signs to look out for:

1. Rolling: If your baby has started rolling over, it’s time to transition out of swaddling. Swaddling babies can make it hard for them to move their arms or change positions. This increases the risk of suffocation.

2. If your baby keeps trying to escape from the swaddle. If they seem upset when you try to swaddle them, it may mean they no longer find comfort in it.

3. As your baby starts moving more, they might want to move around more while sleeping. If your baby starts moving their arms or legs while swaddled, it could mean they’re ready for a new sleep setup.

4. Sleep disruptions: If your baby’s sleep patterns have suddenly changed. If they have increased wakefulness or difficulty settling, it could be a sign that they need to move more. It can be a sign that they want to put themselves to sleep and back to sleep in the night. Discomfort during sleep can disrupt their sleep cycle and affect their overall well-being.

If you see any of these signs, it’s time to stop swaddling your baby for safer sleep.

Transitioning your newborn out of swaddling for safer sleep

Transitioning your baby out of swaddling can be a slow process for their safety and comfort while sleeping. Here are some steps to help make the transition smoother:

1. Start with one arm. Leave one arm out of the swaddle while keeping the other arm swaddled. This allows your baby to get used to the sensation of having one arm free while still feeling snug and secure.

2. Both Arms Out. Once your baby is comfortable with one arm out, you can proceed to swaddle with both arms out. To keep warm and feel safe, use a sleep sack or wearable blanket that doesn’t limit your movement.

3. Transition Swaddle. If your baby still has the Moro reflex or “startle” reflex, this may be a helpful option. A transition swaddle allows for movement, yet it keeps the startle reflex in check. There may be a period when your baby needs to get used to this type of swaddle, but don’t give up. Let them wear it a lot, and keep trying. These can help provide comfort and soothe your baby during the transition period.

4. To help your baby adjust, be consistent with the new sleep arrangement and give them time. Be patient and understanding as they adjust to the change. It might take a few days or weeks for them to get used to the new routine.

Keep in mind, that each baby is unique, and the process of stopping swaddling can differ for each child. If you’re a parent, trust your instincts.

Common concerns and questions about newborn sleep positions

As a parent, you may have worries and wonder about how your newborn sleeps. Here are some common concerns addressed:

Q: What if my baby rolls onto their side or stomach during sleep?

If your baby rolls onto their side or stomach while sleeping, gently move them onto their back. It’s important to consistently place them on their back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Q: Is it safe to use sleep positioners or wedges to keep my baby on their back?

A: The use of sleep positioners or wedges is not recommended by the AAP. These products can pose suffocation hazards and increase the risk of SIDS. It’s best to rely on safe sleep practices and proper positioning to keep your baby on their back.

Q: Can I use rolled-up blankets or towels to prop my baby on their side?

A: No, using rolled-up blankets or towels to prop your baby on their side is not safe. It increases the risk of suffocation or accidental rolling onto their stomach. It’s important to follow the AAP’s guidelines and place your baby on their back to sleep.

Conclusion: Ensuring safe sleep for your newborn

It’s important to understand why newborns roll onto their side when they sleep. This can pose certain risks. This helps keep your baby safe. Newborns may sleep in different positions, but it’s important to prioritize safe sleep to prevent SIDS.

Always put your baby on their back to sleep. Make sure the sleeping area is safe. Watch for signs that your newborn is ready to stop swaddling.

Kim Rogers, M.A.

Kim Rogers, M.A.

Hi, I’m Kim Rogers, pediatric sleep consultant, parent coach, maternal mental health advocate, and child mental health advocate. I waited a long time to become a mom, and I’m so glad I took that leap. Looking back at the hard times alone, it’s worth it for the love we have. I started this website to share helpful information that was so hard to find when I needed it. I mainly focus on sleep, but other things as well. No judgement zone here. This is my attempt at creating a village for those who need it like I did.

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