I love it when readers answer their own questions. Nancy writes:
"File this under "don't brag about how your baby sleeps 11-12 hour per night" as it will come back to haunt you! We sleep trained our 6 month old son with excellent results about 6 weeks ago and have had mostly amazing sleep-filled nights ever since (with the exception of a couple of teething incidents). Last night at 1 am, he decided to roll over for the first time in his crib. As he found himself on his belly, he immediately started screaming. My husband flipped him over and was able to quickly get him back to sleep only to have him do the same thing again about an hour later. This waking was much more involved and required about two hours of rocking, feeding, shushing to get him back to sleep. He has very strong legs but his arms haven't quite caught up yet, and rolling over has been a pipe dream of his for the last month or so. Any ideas about how to help him get through this? Is the prescription just lots of tummy time so he can master this milestone during the day?"
You've got it. He's more wakeful in general because he's working on the rolling over, and the only way around rolling over is through it.
There's no way to force a kid to get through physical milestones (hearing stories about someone "teaching" their kid to walk always makes me laugh), but the more a child can work on the skills the sooner s/he'll get good at them. So tummy time is exactly the prescription to end your nighttime wakeups.
Once he can roll over easily on his own, he'll stop waking himself up by rolling, and he'll also stop being up and cranky and needing to be soothed so much, because that part of his brain will be able to relax again.
You'll probably have to sleep train him all over again after this is over (the dirty little secret of sleep training), but depending on how old he is when he gets through this, you might be in the middle of the 8-9-month sleep regression. Which is one of the worst times to try to change your child's sleep, and will make you really frustrated. So I'm hoping he comes through it more quickly and you can get on a more even keel first, but if you end up with this movement leap transitioning into the developmental stuff of 8-9 months, just know that it won't last forever, and he will sleep all night again eventually.
Oh, and here's a good point to mention that although we're all told to make sure our kids sleep on their backs, once they can roll onto their stomachs we can let them keep sleeping that way (if they will).
Comments on rolling? Milestones? The upcoming weekend? Which of the new toys are still in favor and which ones have already been ignored?