Baby will do many exciting things for the first time in the weeks and months ahead. Parents anticipate these firsts; the first smile, first word, and first step are among the moments that stick closely to our hearts to cherish forever. Baby rolling over is another milestone parents look forward to.
Rolling over helps your baby strengthen the muscles in the neck, back, and arms. It’s the start of a baby learning new ways to move the body and limbs. Safety is important at this stage. Baby can easily fall off a changing table or other place that’s high off the ground when she starts to roll over to his belly. It's an exciting new trick she’ll perform over and over again.
When Do Babies Roll Over?
Some babies roll to their sides within a few days of being born. Most will successfully roll over to their sides within their first month of life. Then, the baby will transition to rolling from belly to back until eventually, he can roll all the way over.
Rolling From Tummy to Back: This milestone happens at about four months of age. This is enough time for the baby to develop enough upper body strength and arm muscle to lift herself up and over from a belly-down position. Baby usually does not intend to roll over; it’s quite the surprise. Once baby rolls from tummy to back, however, expect constant performances!
Rolling All the Way Over: By six months old, most babies can reverse the tummy-to-back roll and can roll the other way back to their stomachs.
Tips to Help Baby Roll Over
Parents can help baby learn how to roll over by making sure the little one gets plenty of belly time. When baby spends time on the tummy, it strengthened the muscles needed to push hard enough to roll over. The more time baby spends on the tummy, the more time he has to learn the art of rolling over.
Although baby should not sleep on the stomach due to the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS,) tummy time should start at about one week of age. Lay baby across your lap for a few minutes at a time during waking periods.
Once baby reaches the two-to-three-month old age range, tummy time on an activity mat is ideal. The shapes and colors entertain the infant while doubling up benefits as it strengthens the muscles.
What to do if Baby Rolls Over While Sleeping
You may find that baby rolls over in his sleep once he’s mastered this trick. Although you should always place him to sleep on his back, if he does roll over, rolling over to the tummy is not a big concern once he reaches the four-month milestone. When a baby is old enough to put himself in this position, he also can sense when he is in danger and has enough strength and mobility to roll back over, lessening the risk of SIDS or other dangers that compromise breathing.
The high-risk stage for SIDS is between two and four months of age. Once baby passes the six-month mark, he’s past the high-risk stage and can safely roll over to his tummy to sleep.
Try laying baby down in the crib on her back with her arms extended to reduce the risk of rolling over during sleep. With the arms extended in front of the chest, her tummy will tuck the arm underneath her, making sleep in the position uncomfortable.
What if My Baby Doesn’t Roll Over at This Age?
All babies are unique and hit developmental milestones at their own pace. It may take some babies longer than others to get the hang of rolling over and usually takes much longer before baby figures out how to roll back to the stomach from the back.
More Important Baby Milestones
Once a baby masters the art of rolling over, expect many more exciting firsts in the weeks and months ahead. Soon the baby will be sitting up with a little help, then independently. Crawling is another exciting milestone for parents and babies. Once a baby begins to crawl, it is time to invest in baby gates, power outlet covers and other safety items if you’ve not already.
Standing up is yet another important milestone coming up in a baby’s life. Baby will hold onto items, such as furniture, and pull herself up to a standing position. Expect wobbly legs when the baby stands. Baby eventually begins to move her legs and before you know it, she is walking!
Should I Be Concerned if My Baby Doesn't Roll Over at This Age?
As long as the baby is given plenty of tummy time, praise, and encouragement, he’ll eventually make the roll to never stop again! If there are concerns about your baby’s developmental progress, talk to the pediatrician who can provide you with assurance or determine if an underlying problem is of concern.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/tatyana_tomsickova.