Rolling over is a major milestone in your baby’s development, but how do you know when your baby is ready to roll over? Like all developmental milestones, there is an average time frame you can expect your baby to roll over, but don’t worry if your little one falls a bit outside the typical range as each baby develops at their own pace.
In this article, we will go over when you can expect your baby to roll over for the first time, ways to encourage them to roll over, and any situations that might require a professional opinion.
So if you’re the parent to a little tot that seems to be on the precipice of that first big move, continue reading to discover all you need to know about your baby and rolling over.
When Do Babies Roll Over?
It may seem like your baby is on the verge of rolling over for weeks just to be stuck in the same teeter-totter position, but have faith they will roll over when they’re ready!
The first stage of rolling over usually involves your little one rolling onto their side. You may put your baby down for a nap or to play on the floor only to return later and see them lying on their side.
Most babies will be able to roll from their tummy to their back by four months old. However, prior to achieving this big step, you may notice them frequently pushing up on their arms as they play on the floor; this movement is called baby push-ups.
The more difficult task is rolling from their back onto their stomach. This skill usually develops between four to six months. However, some babies take as long as eight months to master the skill. Also, if your baby is on the larger size, it may take them longer to roll over simply because they have extra weight to move!
What if my baby isn’t rolling over?
If your child seems to be developing typically and rolling over just hasn’t happened yet, there is probably no reason to be concerned before eight months.
However, if you notice any of the following, you should speak with your pediatrician about possible physical or cognitive delays.
- Your baby doesn’t push up on their arms while on the floor
- Your baby doesn’t rock side to side while on their back
- Your baby only uses one side of their body or strongly favors one side
- Your baby was able to roll over and has stopped rolling over
How Can I Encourage My Baby to Roll Over?
Tummy time is the ultimate baby exercise. Tummy time helps strengthen your baby’s core, neck, shoulder, and back muscles.
Tummy time should be done for roughly thirty minutes a day, but if your baby doesn’t like tummy time at first, and many don’t, you can break it into smaller chunks starting with two to three minutes at a time.
Alternatively, you can lie on your back on the couch or the floor and place your baby on your chest. They will arch their neck and back to try and see you.
Tummy time has additional benefits such as problem-solving skills, balance, visual acuity, and sensory perception.
Make Room to Stretch
Provide your baby with ample time to stretch and move about. Too much time in a car seat or baby swing can inhibit their gross motor development.
To encourage stretching, place a blanket or play mat on the floor and lie your baby on their back. Dangle or hold toys above them or place them to their side just out of reach to encourage them to reach and stretch in order to grab them.
Play on the Floor With Them
Get down on the floor and play with your baby. Being on their level will make playtime more fun, especially if it is tummy time and they have difficulty enjoying the sessions.
Talk to them, sing to them, discuss what you see and hear, talk about your day -it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you are engaged in playtime.
Use plenty of eye contact and smile; smiling stimulates brain development and makes your little one feel safe and secure.
Remove the Swaddle
Swaddling your baby the first few months while they sleep or as a method to soothe them is an excellent tactic. However, once your baby begins rolling onto their side, it is time to take the swaddle away.
When your baby is wrapped tightly in a swaddle, they can’t stretch or move about. When your little one wakes up from their nap or in the morning, allow them some time awake in their crib before you get them up.
Solo time in their crib is an excellent time for physical, cognitive, and linguistic exploration as they will often try to move about and babble to themselves.
Once your baby has mastered the skill of rolling front to back and back to front, crawling and movement are on the horizon! Remember that not all babies crawl in the traditional sense; some scootch, roll, wiggle, bear crawl, or army crawl to get where they need to go.
While crawling is considered an important physical milestone that helps your baby develop cognitively, don’t stress if they don’t seem inclined to crawl right away or move straight to walking.
However, before your baby begins crawling or walking, they will learn to sit up without tumbling over! The same muscles they engaged to roll themselves over will help support their weight as they learn to sit up.
Rolling over is a major step in your baby’s development and one you are probably excited to experience. Encourage your baby to roll over by playing with them, allowing for ample tummy time and lots of room to stretch and explore with their limbs!