WFMW: no-roll babies

Here’s one of those ideas that I tend to assume everyone already knows, but I didn’t think of it until my 5th child, so maybe you didn’t think of it yet either.  If it’s too obvious, feel free to leave a mocking comment.  I can take it.

My babies sleep in their own bed next to mine, but if they wake during the night or in the wee hours of the morning they usually end up next to me for the next few hours.  This can be a problem because I don’t sleep well if I’m constantly worrying about the baby rolling off the bed or under me.

Here’s my easy solution: Fold a towel or baby blanket in half and place under the baby.  If it’s rectangular, place it so that the longer sides extend to the sides of the baby.  Now roll the sides under, toward the baby.  This should make a mat with raised sides.  It’s important to roll the sides under rather than over so that the baby can’t unroll them with little flailing arms and legs.

You can also buy a mat like this for changing tables, but why pay for something you can do so easily yourself?  Making it myself works for me.

A couple of caveats:

  • This only works with very young babies who can’t roll or scoot on purpose.  The idea is to keep them from doing it on accident.
  • This doesn’t make it safe to leave a baby unattended on an unsafe surface.  I do use this idea on the counter when I’m getting the baby ready for a bath in the sink, but I still don’t leave her alone.


  1. I used to do this in a little different way with three recieving blankets… two rolled at the sides and one on top to prevent slippage… I rather my babies sleep on their backs untill they can roll back on their own as well so this works even while in a crib alone… With daughter she was 6-7 months old when I stopped doing this in her crib. Also works great if baby is a side sleeper too… Now my daughter is two and has a big girl bed so no problems with a bed rail lol… Baby 2 coming in February too so I can’t wait!!! Great advice to moms who don’t know what to do with a rolly polly baby 😀

  2. I tagged Kittykait!

  3. That is an awesome idea! I will definitely try that with next baby (Lord willing). Thanks for sharing it! ….I’ll watch for pictures.


  4. Sara L. says:

    My mother did something like that with me also, except it was when I was in my own crib. My older sister and brother had both slept on their stomach, but when I was born they said that was bad. My mom didn’t want me on my back because of spit-up dangers so she put me on my right side. She used that same blanket trick so I wouldn’t roll over!

  5. I’m one of those very visual people, too, so I’m having a hard time imagining it, too. For our first full-time co-sleeper, I had one of those mesh toddler railings on my side of the bed so she wouldn’t fall out. With our last three, we had a toddler bed with two mattresses in it next to ours so the baby wouldn’t be falling out. Worked great, and then it wasn’t too hard to transition them to sleeping alone when it was time! 🙂

  6. Susan,
    I was thinking of doing that very thing. I’ll try to update with a photo asap so check back in soon.

  7. Please take a picture of this as I am one of those people who are annoyingly visual. I am really interested in this as baby is always in our bed and I could use this trick. Thanks, Susan

  8. What a great idea!

    And nothing is ever obvious to me, so no mocking here!!

    Leanne in Longview

  9. We have an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Crib next to the bed. The baby’s never slept in it, but it did keep her from rolling out of bed! 🙂

  10. Another way you can do this is to use a LONG towel and fold it longways until it’s about 10″x really long. Lay one end on your part of the bed at about waist level, with the lengthy part hanging off of the bed. Lay the baby on “her” part of your bed, with head and shoulders above the top edge of the towel. Now bring the rest of the towel over baby and lay the end on your part of the bed so that the beginning and end of the towel will both be underneath you (once you lie down) and the middle of the towel has made a loop under, around and over baby. Since you are laying on both ends and the middle of the towel is around baby, she’ll be fairly secure. Again, you can’t leave her like this alone, you’re the anchor! Also, you should practice this during daylight, awake, alert time. That way, when it’s dark and you’re tired, you know how to get it right. 😀

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