Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Other

My 5-month-old is rolling over at night in a grobag. Is this dangerous?

I have a 5-month-old girl (Felicity) who has just learnt to roll over from front to back, but not from back to front. She wears a grobag to sleep and I’m worried that she may roll over in the middle of the night and stifle herself by not being able to roll back. Is this common? How do you continuously monitor this behaviour?

This is a common problem in babies of Felicity’s age, normally because they roll over onto their fronts and are unable to get back, usually waking themselves up in the process. As she is able to roll from her front to her back by day she should be able to do it in her sleeping bag at night time. Babies can become very active by this age during the night which is why a very lightweight sleeping bag 0.5tog is recommended for babies under 6 months. Then it is possible to tuck them in with a cotton sheet. In winter a cellular cotton blanket can be added, still allowing no risk of overheating.
I think Felicity is probably sleeping in a higher tog bag with no covers. If this is extra long you could tuck the end of the bag under the mattress at the cot end to see if this can prevent her from rolling on to her front. Some babies may become annoyed by this as they do move around a lot at night.
In the daytime encourage Felicity to practice her rolling skills. As she becomes more competent at rolling both ways she will be able to manage herself at night. If babies roll and find themselves stuck they will wake and cry, thus alerting you to what has happened. If you have a monitor in your room or Felicity sleeps in the next room you will be able to hear her if she needs help because she is uncomfortable.
Once babies are able to roll easily each way, it is best to let them decide on their own sleeping position. Many prefer to sleep on their fronts but have the ability to move if they are uncomfortable. It would seem that Felicity is very near to that stage already.