Rolling over is one of the first milestones a baby achieves. It is great fun to see your little one do so from the time when he could do nothing on his own. It is a gradually learned skill which comes with time and practice in the baby. It tells us that the baby has acquired strength in his arms, neck, and back. However, rolling from front to back and back to front requires different muscles and skills.
Video: Baby Rolling Over – A Developmental Milestone
When Will Your Child Roll Over?
At what age do babies roll over? This is the most common question among parents. Unfortunately, we cannot specify any particular time or an age to it. Some babies may start rolling over at three to four months, and some may not even get it until they are close to seven months. However, babies between five months and seven months have improved flexibility, making them master the skill of rolling over in all directions i.e. from front to back, back to front and side to side, comfortably and with great ease.
Precautions You Need to Take
Seeing our little one rolling over from side to side gives us immense joy. However, we must be cautious and should take certain precautions during this period, so as to keep our baby safe from the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Parents should place the baby on a mat that has been placed on the floor while changing the diaper or dressing him, rather than placing the baby on a table or any raised place, since a baby could fall while rolling over.
- The floor where the baby is kept during this time should be clear of any object or toy that could choke him.
- A baby who has started to roll over should not be kept alone unattended for a long time.
- The mattress should be the exact size of the crib. There should be no space where your child’s head could get stuck or he may get smothered.
- Do not put an infant to sleep next to his sibling, especially when the sibling is just a few years older to him. In his sleep, your elder one may place his hand or leg in such a way that could suffocate your new born.
What if Your Baby Is Premature?
Premature babies often reach developmental milestones at the same time or a little later than full-term babies (having taken their corrected age into consideration). For example, a 6-month-old baby’s corrected age, who was born 2 months premature, would be 4 months. Therefore, if the baby develops or attains milestones akin to a 4-month-old, it is considered to be absolutely normal.
However, there may be preemies with health issues or disorders. They may also not grow in accordance with the developmental timeline.
How Will Your Baby Learn to Roll Over?
An infant learning to roll over can be a gradual process. Below are the developmental processes that lead a baby to the “rolling over” milestone.
- Babies can hardly raise their head.
2nd – 3rd Month
- Babies can turn from the back position to the side position.
- Some babies start rolling from tummy to back quite easily at this stage.
3rd – 4th Month
- Babies can hold their head up, since the neck muscles are strengthened. However, the head still bobs in forward and backward movement.
- They can raise their head and shoulders a bit, AKA the push-up position, which helps in strengthening the back.
4th – 5th Month
- Babies spend more time playing in the push-up position.
- They stretch to reach out for toys and other objects, which tones the body.
- Rolls from back to front.
- Head control also improves.
5th – 6th Month
- The head bobbing stops and babies can hold their heads up while sitting.
- Babies can hold their chest up and roll from belly to back position.
- In this time frame, some babies also start crawling.
Teaching Your Baby to Roll Over
Rolling over is a milestone which almost all babies learn on their own. However, parents can also help their babies in the learning process. Here are steps to do so:
- Tummy position helps babies to develop major motor skills. Through this position, babies learn to go into the push-up position which helps in strengthening their arms, body and neck muscles.
- Encourage babies to play on both the sides as well as in the back position.
You could encourage your baby to lift his right hand by brushing a toy or an article of his liking against his right hand, and taking it to the left side. Slowly, with your hand on his right hip, gently bend his hip and roll him towards the left. Repeat it on the other side.
Tips to Help Your Baby to Roll Over
On average, babies start to first roll over between 2 – 5 months. However, parents can help them in doing so and be a part of their growth process by the list of tips given below:
- Make your baby sit on his bottom, and roll him over on one side while positioning him to change his diaper or clothes. You can do the same exercise while bringing him up, and as many times he requires a change.
- Allow your baby to stay in baby equipment like a cradle, swing, baby chair etc. as less as possible. Place a mat on the floor and put him down.
- Place your baby in tummy time position as many times as possible, as it strengthens neck, arms, and body muscles.
- Being on his back position is as important as tummy time position. Keep him in this position either on the floor or even in your lap while you interact with him or play with him.
- Along with tummy time position and back position, placing him in sideways position is also a must. It may require you to place your hand on his back so that he stays in that position. You could place some of his favourite toys on that side to keep him engaged.
- Make him spend an equal amount of time on all the four positions – his tummy, back, left side, and right side.
- Encourage your baby to play on and cross the midline by simple exercises like touching his left leg with his right hand and vice versa, and reaching for toys while in tummy time position.
- Exercise your little one’s upper body and lower body by twisting his arms and legs.
- Carry your baby in a tucked-in, face-down or sideways position around the house, or you could also dance with him, keeping him in either of these positions. However, remember to stop after every 30 seconds for a 10-second break, so that his nervous system gets time to adjust to the movement.
Carry your baby in a carrier which keeps his legs in frog-like position, rather than in a carrier in which his legs are kept apart as in straddle position.
Tricks to Encourage Your Baby to Roll Over
- The best way to initiate a baby to roll over is to place his favourite toy a little away from him.
- Another way in which a baby can be encouraged to roll over is to lie down near him, talk to him, and call him near you.
- If in case he tries to roll over but can go only half way, give him a boost by holding his thigh and rolling him over.
- After he has achieved his feat, praise him by clapping, smiling, or you using baby talk.
Does Rolling Over Mean Your Baby Can Walk?
Your baby is able to roll over means his neck muscles have become strong enough to hold his head up. After that happens, your baby will start crawling, which will be followed by your baby being able to stand up on his two feet. Once he reaches this milestone, he will start walking too with someone’s help in the beginning and then slowly, all by himself.
Do Babies Roll Over From Back to Front Or Front to Back?
Most babies start rolling from their stomach to their back, because that is easy to do. However, some babies start rolling from their back to their stomach very early. This is somewhat rare, but absolutely normal, and in fact a good sign. Rolling from back to stomach requires much more strength and therefore, if your baby does so, it may be so that he may have the ability to roll from his stomach to his back, too.
What to Do If Baby Rolls Over While Sleeping
A baby rolling in his cot while sleeping is a common worry among many parents. Here is a list of things to do in order to keep your baby safe:
- Initiate a lot of tummy time during the day, so that he gets a lot of practice to roll over onto his back all by himself when you are not around.
- Always put your baby to sleep on his back. This is the safest position for a baby to sleep.
- Do not keep any toy or pillow on the bed/crib where you put him to sleep. These may suffocate him when he turns over.
- Always tuck the sides of your baby’s bedding tight so that when he rolls over, the bedding may not come out and suffocate your baby.
Tips for Safe Sleeping
A lot of care must be taken while putting your little one to bed in order to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Below is a list of things you could do:
- Until the time he is one year of age, put him to sleep on his back.
- For the first one year, keep your baby’s bed/crib near your bed so that you can check on him at night.
- Do not share your bed with your baby, even if you share your room with him.
- Never put your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, chair, or anywhere from where he may fall.
- Do not keep any type of toy, loose bedding or object that could suffocate your baby.
What to Do After Your Baby Starts Rolling Over
After your baby starts rolling, make sure to always place a mat or a blanket on the floor and keep him there. Keeping him on a table or on some raised platform may result in a fall. While putting him to sleep, make him sleep on his back, and on a bed with tight bedding. Also, be particular to remove all toys, pillows, or objects that might suffocate him.
What to Do If Your Baby Is 7 Months Old and Still Not Rolling Over
Baby rolling over at 3 months is the correct age. The primary concern for parents has been baby rolling over in sleep or baby rolling over at night as that increases the risk of SIDS. Apart from this, the other major concern of parents is regarding babies not being able to roll over even at 7 months. However, if your infant was born premature, he may do it a little later. If that too isn’t the case with your baby, and he still has not started rolling over or developed some other skills like sitting or crawling, then you should consider consulting a paediatrician.
Rolling over is one of the first milestones to watch out for in your little one. It is one of the major motor skills that a baby acquires. It can happen only if the baby has developed the muscles that are required to perform the skill. As much as seeing your little one roll over on all sides will bring a smile in your face, it will also raise certain concerns like his safety, for which parents need to always be on high alert.
Also Read: Baby Development Milestone – Head Control
This post was last modified on November 4, 2020 2:22 pm