Baby Moves Around in Crib While Sleeping – 3 Recommendations

baby moves around crib sleeping

Hello, new mommy! What has you worrying today? Does your baby keep moving around in his sleep? You must be anxious, and we understand. Being a first-time parent is overwhelming. You may benefit from learning more about your baby’s sleep patterns. Seeing your baby’s movements in the crib shouldn’t be a cause of concern. Take my advice: there’s no need to panic!

As long as you are following the following recommendations, your baby is likely fine:

  • Place baby on his/her back on top of a mattress and fitted sheet to sleep in the crib. Avoid using a waterbed, plastic mattress, stuffed toys, or pillows because there’s a high risk of suffocation
  • Make sure that the latches of the crib’s guard rails are tightly secured. 
  • Never harness or tie your baby to his/her crib. Some parents may be tempted to do this to ensure that their baby is sleeping securely, however, it is inappropriate and can be fatal. 

Babies learn to roll over at around four months of age. This is a celebratory moment, but what happens next? Your baby moves around in the crib while sleeping and may wake himself up in the most uncomfortable positions. This not only disturbs your night’s sleep but makes your baby cranky, too.

While merely rolling over is a developmental milestone, you have to ensure your baby is sleeping safely. Fortunately, here you can find a list of things you can do to eliminate any chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and enable your baby to sleep longer and more comfortably.

Is it OK For Baby to Move Around in Crib?

Yes, indeed. Babies are restless sleepers and spend their nights constantly tossing and turning in their sleep. Your baby wakes up after every half hour and your dream of having a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep comes crashing down. Babies, especially newborn babies, need feeding and changing constantly due to their tiny bodies. You should be prepared that your child is not going to fall asleep magically for hours.

As the baby develops muscle tone, they move quite a lot, which is nothing to feel alarmed about as long as you create a safe sleeping space for the baby. Like adults, babies need to sleep in a comfortable position. Due to this, they seldom lie steady in one position.

In case your baby has a rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder, you need to consult your pediatrician ASAP as movements can become violent and may hurt the baby. Though this happens rarely, if you are unable to minimize your baby’s sleep movements, let the doctor do something about it.

REM is only considered a disorder if your baby’s condition is severe. Otherwise, it only characterizes the light sleep patterns of a growing baby.

Is REM a serious issue?

REM is considered an important part of the sleep cycle for babies as it’s when they experience the greatest amount of neurological development. Babies spend most of their time learning new things. Without REM, they cannot process everything. It allows the baby’s memory to work and makes your child able to identify you from others.

In terms of neurological development, it helps your baby build connections and allows his brain to develop properly. Other mental skills also take root from rapid eye movement. 

At times, REM changes into REM behavior disorder (RBD). This is usually found in children with mental disorders. Rather than being a cause, it is a symptom of a persistent neurological issue.

Why Do Babies Move Around in Crib?

There isn’t one reason why babies move around in their cribs. Multiple factors are involved, particularly the age of the baby, that determine whether a baby will move or not. Some common reasons behind this are:


Children, especially babies, are curious beings. After staying inside their mother’s womb for nine months, they are overwhelmed with their new surroundings. The bright, colorful, and cheerful environment makes the baby alert, and they try to make out their environment. Even in their sleep, they want to move around to ensure where they are.

Night Terrors

If babies are not moving out of curiosity, they are probably suffering from night terrors. You need to make sure no nightmares are making your baby miserable during sleep. Babies also have all kinds of dreams like adults but are unable to understand how they operate. This leads to their restlessness and, consequently, movements in sleep.

Sleep Disorders

Even though it’s a rare situation, it may still be a cause of a reduction in your baby’s sleep quality. You can easily determine if your baby is having a sleep disorder because it is accompanied by other symptoms such as tiredness during the day, trouble sleeping, and even snoring.

Before you panic, first judge your baby’s performance in these indicators.

What Do You Do When Baby Moves in Crib?

You, being the kind of sensitive parent that you are, want to help your child so that he moves around less and sleeps peacefully. But bear in mind that your baby doesn’t always need your help. If he is rolling over, it shows that he is developing; if he is trying to roll over and move, that is great news as the baby is trying to learn things for the very first time.

You have to be supportive after you have taken all the safety measures. If those measures don’t satisfy you, you can try these hacks. They have worked on young babies before and can improve your baby’s sleep quality.

Turn them on their side

Babies are restless when they want a more comfortable position. You can assist them and help them roll over or turn on their side. This will give reassurance to the baby that his mommy is around, and he won’t cry out loud or panic.

If your baby is less than a year old, you should make him sleep on his back. This reduces the chances of suffocation.

Rocking or swaddling

If the baby wakes up due to his own moving, you can rock him for a few moments until he feels comforted. You can also use a swaddle blanket and swaddle him. If the baby is in a cradle, it is more convenient as you just need to give it a sway.

Your baby will instantly go back to slumber. Just don’t let your baby become used to swaddling, or he will let you have no peace. Babies take mental note of their locations. If they recognize only your womb, they will refuse to get into their cribs before they are deep into dreamland.

Gentle massage

If your baby just started crawling, he must be going wild, running around, exploring everything. While babies seem hyperactive, they do get tired, and their bodies may ache. Massage is suggested for a baby to make his body relax, which will lead to better sleep.

If the baby’s body is hurting, he is sure to toss around in the crib and wake up after every few minutes.

Pre-sleep rolling practice

Rolling over is a significant step for your baby’s growth. While you are glad to see him rolling when he is awake, it gets pretty annoying when he does it in his sleep. You can only let your baby roll over on his own when he has had significant practice rolling over.

Once the baby can roll from back to front, they can also roll back to their back without suffocating themselves.

Use a sleep sack

A sleep sack is God’s gift to a mother. It is a sack-like, zippered body cover. You can put your baby inside it. It will remarkably reduce the baby’s movements as the baby’s feet will be contained. Usually, a baby moves his feet; therefore, it works efficiently and keeps the baby’s feet from moving at all.

Removing extra stuff from the crib

Babies are often irritated if their crib is overstuffed. Empty the crib of all items, especially where the baby’s head is. Ensure no extra toys or clothes are in the crib. Anything that may cause distress to the baby should be removed so that he can sleep peacefully.

If nothing works on your baby and he keeps moving in his sleep, be it daytime naps or nighttime sleep time, the best you can do is create a safe sleeping space for him

Is Tossing And Turning in Sleep Normal For a Baby?

baby moves around in crib while sleeping

It is absolutely normal for a baby to toss in his sleep. On average, a four-month-old baby rolls a dozen times during sleep. Babies are learning new things, and they seldom want to stop and rest.

Therefore, tossing and turning indicate their energy and their restlessness. If they are engaged in the right way during the day, they will sleep more peacefully and stop moving in their sleep at night.

Why Is My Baby Tossing And Turning in His Sleep?

As mentioned earlier, babies have very active sleep cycles. You never know when they will wake up and when they will keep you up. But the baby may be tossing and turning due to some serious condition.

Some of these conditions are as follows. Eliminating them can result in an all-night sleep for you and your baby.


Sleep movements may be the result of pain. Newborn babies often suffer from tummy pain and gas. While burping helps a baby digest, you can never tell when your baby is being bothered by tummy pains.

Swaddling helps with digestion. Moreover, you can apply castor oil or any other oil and massage the baby’s tummy to improve his digestion and eliminate pain.


Growing babies move around a lot. They appear hyperactive all the time, but naturally, they get tired. The tiredness leads them to sleep, however, body aches may keep them tossing and turning.

To eliminate this, moms should gently massage their babies with baby oil. It not only reduces stress but also makes the baby relaxed and sleepy.


A newborn baby has a stomach the size of his fist. They can’t eat huge amounts all at once, so they need to be fed every few hours. This means that even if you take your baby to bed on a full stomach, he is bound to create some disturbance when he feels hunger pangs. He simply can’t help it.

This results in tossing and turning well before a baby wakes up to shriek in your eardrums. Remember, crying is the last thing a baby does when he is hungry. Before that, you can judge his hunger from his movements.

The Bottom Line

Now you are aware that babies constantly move around while sleeping, and it is totally normal! You can take measures to ensure your baby is sleeping peacefully and extra movements do not occur in the crib. Sleep disorders could be a cause of your baby’s movements, but this is extremely rare. Even then, they are treatable.

Stop fussing over this matter! Just take a nice, long bath and get the well-deserved sleep you need, snuggled close to your baby.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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