When do Babies Learn to Roll Over?
We know how it feels like to be a new mom. We've all been there and the many worries and excitements you have for your baby are more than normal. Actually, it's more like an obligation, right? Anyway, there are so many things to watch out for once we give birth to our baby. One of the baby milestones to watch out for was their eyesight. Then, our baby starts to carry their head by looking from left to right. Then, our baby learns to recognize who is the mommy, who is the daddy and who is a total stranger—then cry! And in this new chapter of our baby's life, we are going to talk about babies rolling over early or late or just right as expected.
Your baby's first year is the year you are so excited about. It is the year of firsts! First laugh, first reach, first roll, first crawl and so many endless lists of firsts that your camera and scrapbook won't be able to cover at all. So, to new parents who still don't know about the basics of your baby rolling over, we're going to talk everything about it here.
When do babies start to roll over?
On average, babies start to roll over about 5 to 6 months of age. There are reports of babies rolled over at 3 weeks. Well, there is a big possibility that it can happen to other babies but it doesn't apply to all. Babies start developing strength on their neck muscles, their arms and their backs first before rolling over. And when do babies begin to hold their head up? Babies hold their head up at 3 weeks or 3 months at most and that's a sign that his/ her neck muscles are getting stronger.
Babies eventually learn how to roll over, and letting them do it at their own pace is just the right direction to go. Don't be over too sensitive about it when your friend's babies learned how to roll earlier than your little one. Don't also feel bad when your 6-month-old still hasn't learned how to roll over. Give your baby some time. Do all babies learn how to roll over? Yes! So be patient, mommy! Your baby will get there soon enough.
Which way do babies learn to roll over first?
You may have heard about two steps in rolling over: the belly-to-back rolling and the back-to-belly rolling. Babies start rolling from belly-to-back first. It is much easier for our babies to do that because our babies' arms can push them to roll over to one side. This is a key start actually. You may notice that your tot can do this once you let him/ her stay on the belly. You can start doing that by the time your baby can lift his/ her head up.
The back-to-belly rolling comes a bit later than that. This is when the 5 to the 6-month time frame is usually expected. Babies—by that time—develop stronger control of their arms and legs and muscles to propel them to roll over from their back to their belly. After this stage, give it a week or two and your little one is rolling like a ball around the crib.
There are some babies who seem to roll only from right to left. Don't worry. Your little one will eventually learn how to roll in both directions. It's just that your tot finds it easier to roll over to this certain side. It's nothing to worry about really because babies differ from each other and getting your tot to roll over from one side to another doesn't have a due date.
How to help your baby to roll over?
Helping your child achieve one of his/ her physical milestones is not that difficult. You can actually encourage your little one to roll over. But there are many ways of doing it directly and indirectly.
• Healthy pregnancy routine
A healthy nutrition during pregnancy plays a huge role in your baby's health when he/she is born. Your baby's bones start to develop all throughout the entire pregnancy especially the second trimester, your Ob-Gyn gives your different supplements depending on the growth and development of your baby.
• Stronger bones, earlier rolling
Remember when you just got out of the hospital and you were given some calcium supplements? Well, if you are breastfeeding, those supplements will also fulfill the needs of your baby's muscle growth. You both need plenty of calcium. It is for you to recover from the trauma of giving birth. It will be an advantage for your baby to develop stronger bones.
Breastfeeding your little one is one indirect way of helping them build muscle control making a baby rolling from back to tummy at 3 months. As you take a high calcium diet, it also passes on to your little tot. So, having calcium rich food and not just being dependent on supplements will help your baby a lot.
Calcium in our milk is actually lower than formula milk. That's because our breastmilk calcium is much easier to digest and absorb than formula milk. Formula milk has more calcium—and also iron—because less of it is absorbed by your baby's body. This helps build strength so your baby rolls at 5 months as expected.
• Pillow roll
Once your baby starts to lift their head up, you can help them exercise that milestone by putting them on a low rise pillow on their tummy. Your baby learns to lift his/ her head and starts to move it from left to right to find a more comfortable position. Doing this about 5 minutes at a time will help encourage your baby to start pushing with their arms against the pillow or move their neck and shoulders to one side.
Awake time is playtime and by 4 months, you can have your baby do a lot of tummy time. Once your baby can lift himself/ herself up with both hands against the pillow, you can remove the pillow. Just let your tot have his/her tummy time and eventually, he/she will start pushing and turning. Belly-to-back is done and accomplished!
• Extended Arms and Crossed Legs
Once your tot has mastered the belly-to-back roll, it is about time your baby also learns how to roll from back-to-belly. One of the tricks we came to learn from experts—meaning other mommies from ParentsNeed HQ — is by letting your little one lay on one side but extend the other hand out. Let the legs stay together on one side. This encourages your little one to roll over towards the extended arm then your baby rolls over and the legs will follow.
We also have a similar trick but using that old total body pregnancy pillow you have stored around. Lay your baby on the pillow with either the left arm and left leg or right arm and right leg extended out and the other tucked under your baby. Your little one will start rolling over to the side of the extended limbs.
A simpler way of helping your baby roll over is just by letting them lie on their backs and hold their hands and gently pull to a sitting position. This is actually a good way of strengthening the core muscles of your little one.
REMEMBER: Don't rush your baby. Let your little one master the art of lifting their head, and moving and shaking their arms and legs before you start doing dome tummy time and playtime exercises!
• Encourage tummy time
Most moms and experts swear by this one. It doesn't take much and need nothing, you only need to put your child in a safe environment and put them belly down. Tummy time is the mother of all baby rolling exercises. It targets the core muscles and also strengthens the limbs. When you encourage more tummy time—but not too long that your child will get tired and fussy over it—your child develops more bone and muscle control. They will start to realize that, 'hey, I can do this!' and begin to experiment on their own and your baby turns over.
Tummy time over any surface is okay but we suggest you use a firmer area like a cloth over the floor, a clean carpet, a play mat or any flat and firm surface; this will help your baby roll over faster. Putting your child on a soft bed during tummy time doesn't help. Your baby will have a hard time moving if they try to push themselves up and find themselves trapped with the utter softness of your cotton comforters. They will also have a hard time moving from left to right of the bed sinks underneath them.
That's actually one reason why most experts say that letting your baby sleep in a firmer foam is more bone and muscle development friendly than having them lay on extremely soft surfaces. Baby’s bones are delicate and soft and letting them lay on extremely cushiony materials proves to be more troublesome when it comes to advanced physical development.
What to watch out for?
When your baby starts to roll over, who knows which side or which way your baby rolls? When they get to go around the crib rolling here and there, then your need to make sure that his/ her rolling environment is very safe. Keeping your child's surroundings clean and free from falling objects nearby is a must. You have to make sure that the bumpers are secured—or better yet, tied to the crib.
Keep light blankets around your baby and remove anything that poses a choking hazard. It is better to lay your child on ground level over a play mat or in convertible cribs. Putting them on ground level or in an enclosed area prevents them from rolling off the bed or the crib.
We do recommend you to put your little tot on the ground over some play mats. They get more exercise that way. It also encourages them to start sitting up on their own and also to lift their body up and crawl. It is much more effective when you just let your child have as much freedom to do as they want and when they want—of course, it has to be childproofed.
What not to worry about?
One of the biggest worries we have as parents is when we notice that our baby seems to have come late in rolling over. Well, DON'T! It's not the end of the world when your baby is late in learning how to roll over. Just because it is expected for most babies to roll over at a certain age doesn't mean your baby should do it at that time too. Development differs from one baby to another and the stages don't really have a due date, so don't worry. You can encourage your baby to roll but don't make that common mistake of new parents where they easily get frustrated or anxious over everything.
At this stage, your baby has already overcome the SIDS peak stage. Congratulations! But don't also worry about your baby rolling over their tummy preventing them from breathing properly. Babies have strong instincts; their bodies can already tell which position allows them to breathe better and when they can't. Don't worry if your baby kicks the blanket off the way or is rolling all over the crib. Just make sure that no object nearby will fall over your little one. If you think that it is too cold for your baby to sleep properly, then let them use a wearable blanket.
What's the next step for baby?
What happens next after your baby starts to roll over? A lot! Seriously! Once your baby learns how to roll over, it’s only a matter of time before they start sitting up unsupported. Actually, some babies develop these two milestones altogether. But sitting up on their own comes after these two.
So after sitting up, you need to start baby proofing your home and get your child a freestanding baby gate. Your little one is ready to crawl and wreck fun and havoc around your home. These are just too exciting so have your cameras ready and start capturing your baby's first moments!