Tips & Tricks To Help Your Baby Roll Over
If you’re like most parents, you may be torn between wanting to help your baby hit new milestones and wanting time to slow down. Each time your baby does something new, that exciting, proud, joyful feeling is often followed by the stark reminder that the newborn and infant phases go by oh-so-quickly.
Nevertheless, you want to facilitate your baby’s growth and abilities to explore their new world. By giving your baby a helping hand in hitting those milestones, like rolling over, you’re helping set the foundation for many more milestones to come. Keep reading to learn all about how to help your baby learn to roll over on their own, safely.
Do babies learn to roll naturally?
Babies are fully capable of learning to roll naturally, without any assistance. As they get comfortable with life in the fourth trimester, they quickly learn that this new world has space for unconstricted stretches and movement.
Although these moves are still pretty spastic and uncontrolled, each arm flail and lift of their little head is working to build their core strength. As their core strength develops, your little one will begin learning to roll by swinging their legs over and rocking back and forth.
Once they have built a level of strength that gives momentum, your baby can learn that they can roll over. The majority of babies will roll belly to back around 3 to 4 months old, and back to belly around 5 months. These movements build the foundation for more advanced movements like crawling and eventually walking.
Should I encourage my baby to roll over?
Once your little one shows signs of readiness, you can definitely encourage the proper techniques to help them be rolling pros. While they can hit this milestone independently, helping your baby get this rolling thing down can help with their cognitive development - especially if you’re feeling like your baby might be reaching this milestone later than other babies. It is important to keep in mind that all babies develop at their own pace, and if you do have any concerns, it’s best to discuss them with your child’s pediatrician.
It may also be a good idea to encourage your baby to roll over if you discover you have a tummy sleeper on your hands. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your baby be placed on their back for sleep for their first year.
Sometimes though, babies roll over to their stomachs while they're sleeping. Stomach sleep is a known factor in SIDS deaths and can pose risks for suffocation and rebreathing. This is why it is recommended to stop traditional swaddling as soon as your baby shows signs of being ready to roll. If your baby is ready to roll but isn’t quite ready to give up the comfort of being swaddled, try our gently Weighted Transition Swaddle. Unlike a traditional swaddle, when wearing the Transition Swaddle, your baby can move their arms freely and roll over, allowing for a safe and secure transition to dreamland.
How can I help my baby learn to roll?
That might leave you wondering exactly how you can help your baby learn to roll. Well, there are a few methods that experts recommend.
- Tummy time: We know, we know. You’ve heard the phrase “tummy time” only about a million times since your baby’s birth. Well, it’s talked about (seemingly 10 times at every appointment) for good reason. This is your little athlete's very first workout regimen. This skill will help to build those head, back, neck, core, and arm muscles that they need for rolling. Tummy time is also an excellent opportunity to get on the floor and play with your baby. If your baby hates tummy time, you’re not alone. You can put some sensory toys or a water-filled playmat on the floor to make tummy time more enjoyable. Even having your baby lay on your chest can count as tummy time, just encourage them to use those muscles to look up towards your face by talking, singing, or making silly faces.
- Use those toys: Especially if your baby has a favorite toy, placing that strategically out of their reach can be just the motivation they need to get moving.
- Physically help them roll: This being a whole new world for your little one, they may just need some help understanding the actual motions of rolling. All these newly built muscles - they might not know what to do with them! By taking their arms and legs, gently, and slowly rolling them over, they’ll often grasp the motions much quicker.
When should I start practicing my baby to roll over?
Many babies will only start consistently rolling over at around 6 months of age, but you can start showing them the ropes of their first mode of mobility at around 3 months of age.
How do I teach my baby to flip from tummy to back?
While it might be most common for babies to roll tummy to back first, thanks to all that tummy time, what’s interesting is: that may be changing.
This is because of the 1992 “back is best” safe sleep guidelines from the AAP. Now that we’re collectively putting babies on their backs to sleep, it makes sense that they would develop the ability to roll from that position just as soon, or, in some cases sooner.
Whichever way your little one rolls over first, teaching them to do it on their own really boils down to one thing: weight shifting. Take those toys we mentioned earlier. When your baby is on their tummy, you can teach them to flip to their back by placing toys further than an arm’s length away and when one arm lifts up to reach for it, help them shift their weight - let gravity do the rest.
Remember, repetition is key!