Your gorgeous little bubba has gotten good head and neck control, and has been strengthening the muscles in his or her upper body. You sense they’re not far away from rolling, but it’s not quite happened yet.
The first time a baby rolls over is often a surprise to parents – its one of those things you just don’t expect at the time, then it just happens! Sometimes you’ve even looked away for a quick moment, then looked back, only to find baby all rolled over like a stealth little ninja! You’ve missed it!
Rolling over is a very exciting time for parents, as its baby’s first step towards independent movement.
So, When Do Babies Roll Over?
Some babies roll over as early as three months of age! However if your baby takes much longer than this, it’s completely normal. It is more likely that your baby will roll over between 4-7 months of age. At the end of the day, you can’t tell when the person next to you started walking, so don’t panic if your baby doesn’t even look like rolling yet.
Tips To Help Your Baby Roll Over
Good head, neck and upper body strength is required for a baby to roll over. Tummy time is great for a baby’s upper body strength, however some babies don’t like tummy time! Be sure to read our tummy time article to help encourage your baby to enjoy more tummy time.
Something very important to be wary of is safety – you can’t predict when baby will roll for the first time, so make sure you change/dress them on a secure surface and use safety straps where you can. If you have a hand on your baby at all times it can help you sense your baby’s movement too. But they have no sense of their surroundings, so whenever you put baby down somewhere, its a good idea to assume that your baby may roll over, and assess the surroundings to make sure they are safe.
If you’d like to help encourage your baby to roll over, a favourite toy can be a good incentive! In a safe space, lay out a rug or mat on a firm, flat surface. If you make it too soft and padded, baby will find it harder to move. With baby on his or her back, place a toy at eye level and try and pique their interest. You can gently help them roll to the side to give them a helping hand.
Should You Encourage Your Baby To Roll Over?
The first time mother can’t wait for her bub to roll. Ask the second or third time mother and she’ll say, ‘Not yet!’ It can be pretty exciting to see one of the first big milestones for your baby, but it you’re own personal decision if you want to encourage your baby to roll or not – its going to happen eventually. Use your intuition when deciding if and when you’d like to encourage your baby to roll – good head and neck control as well as upper body strength are important factors to consider.
When your baby finally gets there and rolls over, give her an encouraging cheer and clap – after all, she’s probably pretty chuffed at herself (even if shocked at first!), so a bit of loving encouragement lets her know she’s done a positive thing.
When Should Parents Worry About Their Baby Not Rolling Over?
Believe it or not, some babies actually skip rolling altogether! Remember – babies will develop at their own rate, and no matter if your baby rolls over at 3 months or 6 months. The vast majority of babies end up rolling eventually – then crawling, then walking! Premature babies are more likely to experience a delay in milestones, which is normal.
If you are concerned about the development of your baby, please visit your maternal health nurse or GP. However, these developmental milestones are usually checked on during your visits to the health nurse.
What About Rolling Over and Safe Sleeping?
When you have a newly rolling baby, may worry about your baby rolling over in the middle of the night and SIDS risk.
Its important to keep following the safe sleeping guidelines which you can find here. The majority of SIDS cases occur under 6 months of age, so your baby may not yet be rolling or only just started to roll. While tummy sleeping is one risk factor, so are other factors, such as smoking and unsafe sleeping practices — for example, falling asleep with baby on a couch or unsafe bedding. For more information on SIDS risks, click here.
According to the Sids and Kids website, babies who sleep on their back tend to roll onto their tummy later than side sleeping infants. They also state that the delay in rolling is normal and does not affect the baby’s later development.
Here are their sleeping tips for babies who have started rolling over:
- Give baby extra tummy time to play when awake and supervised as this helps baby to develop stronger neck and upper body muscles which in turn enables them to roll back over. It is best to start giving baby supervised tummy time from birth
- Consider using an infant sleeping bag as these can delay rolling over
- If you use blankets rather than a sleeping bag, make sure that the baby’s feet are touching the bottom of the cot to prevent baby wriggling under the blankets and tuck the blankets in securely.
- Make sure that baby is on a firm and well fitting mattress that is flat (not tilted or elevated).
- Make sure that baby’s face and head remains uncovered (avoid lambs wool, duvets, pillows, cot bumpers and soft toys)
Sids and Kids assure parents that you need not wake your baby and turn them over if they do move from their back. It's important to put them to bed on their back, but it is not necessary to keep returning them to the back position. That would also drive you a little crazy.
When Do Babies Roll Over – A Poll!
See the results of the BellyBelly Forum poll: At What Age Did Your Baby Roll Over?