When Do Babies Start Rolling Over And How To Teach Them?

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Watching your baby go through different developmental phases is one of the most exciting and emotional parts of parenthood. These little milestones, such as when babies start to roll over, are the biggest achievements.

Rolling over requires a lot of muscle strength. There has to be good coordination in the upper body, and hence as your baby gets to this stage, it indicates they are growing up. There are different signs that indicate a baby might start to roll. Even though each baby is different and may master the skill at a different age, you can help them achieve it through simple exercises.

Besides, knowing the signs can help you take the necessary precautions for them to be safe while doing so. In this post, we tell you everything about rolling over in babies.

When Will Your Baby Roll Over?

Your baby’s initial rolling over takes place during tummy times. These are the times when the baby lies flat on the belly and uses arms to lift their head and shoulders off the floor. This move helps them strengthen the muscles in their head, neck, and upper body.

Once your baby attains the strength to lift the head, they will begin to roll over. Babies can overturn from lying on their back to lying on their tummy and vice versa (1). 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.

But by two to five months, babies 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. By seven months, they not only master belly-to-back rolling over but also reverse back-to-belly movement (2).

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 them to roll over resulting in a fall. Therefore, make their lie on the floor when they show the signs of rolling over.

Quick tip
Always use a safe baby sleeping bag to limit rolling. Place the baby on a flat, firm mattress, and avoid tilted or elevated surfaces (13).

How Will Your Baby Learn Rolling Over?

The physical development of a newborn starts with the head and then progresses to other body parts (2) (3).

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:

  • 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 them roll over. The below steps may help you teach theirto move independently for the first time.

Step 1:

Place your baby on the floor while they are near tummy time. It makes your child comfortable as they use their neck muscles to keep their head upright.

Step 2:

Place them on the blanket with their left side-lying on the blanket’s left edge. Let them become comfortable in this position and make sure they will keep their head up for at least a few seconds. If they fail to do so, it signals that they are still not ready to roll.

Step 3:

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. They may keep their arms out, and the new position will cause discomfort for sure.

Step 4:

As your baby tries to reach the toy, lift the blanket’s edge so that their right side is lifted in the air. Do not lift them over an inch. If they are upset with the position, try to lower and comfort them. Make sure this becomes a pleasant experience.

Step 5:

Keep one hand on their tummy and try lifting the edge of the blanket. Steady their position with your hand and cradle their body. Lift them untill they can roll over their back. Ensure that they can reach the toy where they can perceive that rolling over made their move. Repeat the blanket activity every day until they become comfortable to roll over on their 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 (4).

Tips That Help Your Baby Learn To Roll Over

Few tips for your baby’s roll over

Image: iStock

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 (1) (2) (5) (6):

  • 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. When the baby is in the second month, you can try placing for a minute or so. You can give tummy time when you put your baby on your chest as it can be a great alternative until getting adjusted.
  • You can also get on the floor along with their and jiggle with some favorite toy. At three months, when you place your baby on his tummy, he will lift their head and shoulders with arms. help. This small push-up will give them the strength to roll on. It will amaze you as they flip from back to front and vice versa.
  • At three months, when you place your baby on their tummy, they will lift their head and shoulders with the help of their arms. This small push up will give their the strength to roll on. It will amaze you as they flips from back to front and vice versa.
  • You should encourage your little one to do push ups by holding a toy above their head level. It will automatically tempt them to raise by straightening their arms.
  • At around five to seven months, your little one can lift their head, push up their arms, and arch backward to lift their chest off the floor.
  • You should encourage them to do all these acts as they strengthen their muscles, and they will learn to roll over both the directions.
  • When you are placing your baby down, roll them to one side and encourage them to get back by herself. Try the same when lifting your baby.
  • Give them a toy, mirror or any safe object while they is lying on a side. If they is not able to remain in that position, give their some support.
  • Make your little one twist both their upper and lower body by twisting their legs and arms.
  • Keep your little one in carriers so that they remains in a frog-like position rather than a straddling position.
  • Carry their in a tucked-in position if you take them 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 their from practicing motor skills. Let their 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 their 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 the baby to flex their knees, trunk and hip muscles.
  • Do not allow your baby to remain in the same position for long. Try to change the position every 15 minutes. It exposes them 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 (7).

How To Encourage Your Baby To Roll Over?

You can play with your little one to encourage them to roll over.

  • Jiggle their favorite toy so that they tries to move towards it.
  • Use a toy that your baby likes the most.
  • Lie close to them to roll on to get to you.
  • If they reach for the toy or to you, cheer them up by making them smile. She may then get more enthusiastic to flip their body.
  • Encourage them to roll on both the sides. It helps to develop balancing muscles.
Point to consider
While the baby is on their back, try moving the hips. They learn about how to weight shift, a crucial component of rolling. They may learn to carry out the motion with this encouragement (14).

Baby Rolling Over And Safe Sleeping

When your baby starts to roll over while sleeping, try to put them on their back.

Image: iStock

You need not worry if your baby is rolling over while sleeping. It means they are strong to hold their head and can roll onto their back. They usually start rolling on their tummy, followed by back, and eventually in all four positions.

During the first year, you should make them lie only on their back so as to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). When you notice your baby rolling over during sleep, try to place them on their back (2). The SIDS risk for your baby decreases after four months. Once your baby completes one year, there is almost zero risk (8).

What Can You Do If Your Baby Rolls Over During Sleep?

1. Baby Just Started Rolling:

When your baby rolls, keep their back to the usual sleeping position. If they is upset, wait for about 15 minutes. If they are still worried, give them a chance to learn about the new position and roll their back after a while.

2. Baby Rolling For A While:

If you notice them roll over, try rolling their back to the usual sleeping position. If you see them upset, soothe them until they fall asleep. If they rolls over before midnight, let theirsleep in the new position or roll back into the usual position.

3. Rolling During Daytime:

During daytime, allow your baby to roll

Image: iStock

During daytime, allow your baby to roll. Place them on their belly and leave up to 15 minutes. It helps to strengthen their back. You can try rolling their from back to belly and again back. Repeat it during the bedtime. It will help their remember to roll back to the usual sleeping position if they is irritated with the new position.

Tips for Safe Sleep Practices In Baby

Here’s some tips (9) (10):

  • 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.
  • 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 the room’s temperature at 20 to 22 degrees C (11).

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 (1).

  • 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?

Rolling over is an essential developmental milestone

Image: iStock

Every baby is different from the other. Some develop skills quickly while some may take time. It is the same with rolling over (12).

  • 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, the milestones achievements may be delayed.

When babies start to roll over, it is the first stage in their development of postural control. Once your baby is about two to five months old, their first rolling over occurs during tummy time. This developmental milestone is essential since it assists babies in strengthening the head muscles, neck, and upper body. Different newborns, however, may master this ability at different ages. You may also help your baby turn over by giving them tummy time and using a toy, but ensure your baby’s safety first.


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