As you wait for your baby to make the first moves, read through this Momjunction post to understand all about baby rolling over. Written by Akruti, medically reviewed by Dr. Vamsi Krishna (MBBS, DCH) MomJunction is your friend, philosopher, and guide – all rolled into one. We are a place to stop for a while and hang out with likeminded people, a place to learn and to teach. Photo by Victoria Borodinova on pexels
Your baby’s first stage of mobility is rolling over. Rolling over is a significant milestone for her. It is an exciting moment for parents to see their baby take her first step of independent movement. This will lead to sitting up independently, walk, crawl and move around.
Rolling over her little body is a great feat for your little one. It needs enough strength from the neck, good control of the head and strong arm muscles since it would be the first time your tot takes the help of multiple muscles for the movement.
When Will Your Baby Roll Over?
Your baby’s initial rolling over takes place during tummy times. These are the times when she lies flat on her belly and uses her arms to lift her head and shoulders off the floor. This move helps her strengthen the muscles she requires to use around.
Once your baby attains the strength to lift the head, she will begin to roll over. She can overturn from lying on her back to lying on her tummy and vice versa. Babies start rolling over from belly to back and then pick up the back-to-belly action a month later. It is because the movements require more muscular strength and coordination.
Babies start their first roll over from belly to back around two to five months, back to side around four to five-and-a-half months and from back to belly around five-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half months.
Some newborns roll to their sides in their initial days. But by two to five months, they attain enough strength in their upper body and use their arms to propel themselves from their belly to the back. By seven months, they not only master belly-to-back rolling over but also reverse back-to-belly movement.
Simple Precautions You Need To Take:
Babies usually roll over without any notice. So, it is important that you should never neglect your child while on the bed or any high surface. It may take a fraction of a second for her to roll over resulting in a fall. Therefore, make her lie on the floor when she shows the signs of rolling over.
How Will Your Baby Learn Rolling Over?
At 1 Month:
- Can raise head for a moment.
- Turns head towards side while on the back.
At 2 Months:
- Can hold head up and begin to push up when lying on tummy.
- Makes smoother movements with arms and legs.
- The head can bob forward while sitting.
At 3 Months:
- Can bear little weight while standing on both the legs.
- Can control the head up while sitting, however, bobs forward.
- Can raise head and shoulders for 45 to 90 degrees while lying on the belly.
- Can carry weight on forearms.
At 4 Months:
- Can sit with support.
- Good head control.
- Can carry up to a certain weight when held upright on legs.
- Can raise head and chest up to 90 degrees.
- Rolls over from back to the side.
At 5 Months:
- Can hold the head up while sitting.
- Rolls over from belly to back.
At 6 Months:
- Can raise chest and a part of belly while lying on the stomach.
- Can lift head while in a sitting position.
- Rolls over from back to belly.
How To Teach Your Baby To Roll Over?
If your baby starts getting comfortable on the floor and seems anxious to get mobile, you can help her roll over. The below steps may help you teach her to move independently for the first time.
Place your baby on the floor while she is near tummy time. It makes your child comfortable as she uses her neck muscles to keep her head upright.
Place her on the blanket with her left side lying on the blanket’s left edge. Let her become comfortable in this position and make sure she will keep her head up for at least a few seconds. If she fails to do so, it signals that she is still not ready to roll.
Keep a toy just a little distance away from the baby’s reach. Try to shake and play with it before placing it on the floor. Now watch whether your baby tries to get it. She may keep her arms out, and the new position will cause discomfort for sure.
As your baby tries to reach the toy, lift the blanket’s edge so that her right side is lifted in the air. Do not lift it over an inch. If she is upset with the position, try to lower and comfort her. Make sure this becomes a pleasant experience for her.
Keep one hand on her tummy and try lifting the edge of the blanket. Steady her position with your hand and cradle her body. Lift the sheet till she can roll over her back. Ensure that she can reach the toy where she can perceive that rolling over made her move. Repeat the blanket activity every day until she becomes comfortable to roll over on her own.
Some babies do not enjoy their tummy time. If they make a fuss or cry, wait until they calm down before helping them roll over.
Tips That Help Your Baby Learn To Roll Over:
You should keep a track of the changes that will happen at each stage, before making your little one do those activities. Here are a few tips for your baby’s roll over:
- Give your newborn tummy time from the initial day as it helps in developing muscles essential to roll over. It also lets your baby move her arms and legs and can boost her neck strength.
- Your baby may not like to be on the tummy initially as it can be a strange position for her. When she is in the second month, you can try placing her for a minute or so. You can give her tummy time when you put her on your chest as it can be a great alternative until she gets adjusted.
- You can also get on the floor along with her and jiggle with her favorite toy. Trying to distract and making her reach out for the toy will make her enjoy being on her belly.
- At three months, when you place your baby on her tummy, she will lift her head and shoulders with the help of her arms. This small push up will give her the strength to roll on. It will amaze you as she flips from back to front and vice versa.
- You should encourage your little one to do push ups by holding a toy above her head level. It will automatically tempt her to raise by straightening her arms. You may also place the toy a short distance away from her eye level.
- At around five to seven months, your little one can lift her head, push up her arms, and arch backward to lift her chest off the floor. She may also kick her legs ad swim using her arms. You should encourage her to do all these acts as they strengthen her muscles, and she will learn to roll over both the directions.
- When you are placing your baby down, roll her to one side and encourage her to get back by herself. Try the same when lifting your baby.
- Give her a toy, mirror or any safe object while she is lying on a side. If she is not able to remain in that position, give her some support.
- Make your little one twist both her upper and lower body by twisting her legs and arms.
- Keep your little one in carriers so that she remains in a frog-like position rather than a straddling position.
- Carry her in a tucked-in position if you take her for a walk. You can also dance with your baby close in your arms.
- Do not allow your baby to stay long on any baby equipment. It may include swings, play saucers or bouncer chairs. These will prevent her from practicing motor skills. Let her stay in open and indulge in different movements.
- Have enough tummy time every day since all the major motor skills arise from that position. It is good for babies to lie on tummy to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles for creating arch against gravity.
- Give your baby some time to rest on her back in a folded position. It provides a balance between extension that is arching and flexion that is in a tucked position. Lying on the back can happen while your baby is on your lap. It is important as it allows her to flex her knees, trunk and hip muscles.
- Do not allow your baby to remain in the same position for long. Try to change the position for every 15 minutes. It exposes her to all positions that involve in rolling.
- Encourage your baby to play in midline position for movement around the invisible line present in the center of the body. The ability to roll depends on your little one’s ability to cross that midline.
How To Encourage Your Baby To Roll Over?
You can play with your little one to encourage her to roll over.
- Jiggle her favorite toy so that she tries to move towards it.
- Use a toy that your baby likes the most.
- Lie close to her for her to roll on to get to you.
- If she reaches for the toy or to you, cheer her up by making her smile. She may then get more enthusiastic to flip her body.
- Encourage her to roll on both the sides. It helps to develop balancing muscles.
Baby Rolling Over And Safe Sleeping:
You need not worry if your baby is rolling over while sleeping. It means she is strong to hold her head and can roll onto her back. She usually starts rolling on her tummy, followed by back, and eventually in all four positions.
During the first year, you should make her lie only on her back so as to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). When you notice your baby rolling over during sleep, try to place her on her back. The SIDS risk for your baby decreases after four months. Once your baby completes one year, there is almost zero risk.
What Can You Do If Your Baby Rolls Over During Sleep?
1. Baby Just Started Rolling:
When your baby rolls, keep her back to the usual sleeping position. If she is upset, wait for about 15 minutes. If she is still worried, give her a chance to learn about the new position and roll her back after a while.
2. Baby Rolling For A While:
If you notice her roll over, try rolling her back to the usual sleeping position. If you see her upset, soothe her until she falls asleep. If she rolls over before midnight, let her sleep in the new position or roll back into the usual position.
3. Rolling During Daytime:
During daytime, allow your baby to roll. Place her on her belly and leave up to 15 minutes. It helps to strengthen her back. You can try rolling her from back to belly and again back. Repeat it during the bedtime. It will help her remember to roll back to the usual sleeping position if she is irritated with the new position.
Tips For Safe Sleep Practices In Baby:
- Until six months of age, make sure your baby sleeps on her back on a bed. It is the safest position to put her to sleep.
- Refrain from smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding as smoking can increase the risk of SIDS.
- Keep your baby’s bed clean without any extra pillows, blankets or stuffed toys as they may cause suffocation.
- Do not sleep along with your baby if you have taken drugs or alcohol.
- Do not cover your baby’s head; just tuck her with blanket past her shoulders.
- Maintain her room’s temperature at 16 to 20 degrees C.
What To Expect Next After Your Baby Rolls Over?
The muscles that are involved in your baby’s rolling over are the same that help your baby crawl and sit.
- Once your baby rolls over perfectly, her neck, legs, arms and back become stronger, and she will start sitting, first with your support, and later unassisted.
- She will then crawl, followed by standing and then walking on both the feet.
Your Baby Is 7 Months Old And Still Cannot Roll. Is It A Concern?
Every baby is different from the other. Some develop skills quickly while some may take time. It is the same with rolling over.
- Your baby might skip rolling over and progress to sitting and crawling. As long as she continues gaining new skills and gets around, she is making progress.
- But if your baby is not rolling over and has also not moved to other skills like sitting or crawling, you should check with her doctor.
- Also, if your baby is a preterm baby, she may reach these milestones later than normal.
Make the most of your baby’s first step in developing her postural control. Enjoy this milestone and help her as much as you can as it is the first stage of independence.