Before your baby starts walking or even crawling, she’ll need to master one adorable trick: rolling. The first roll usually comes as a surprise to baby – and mom and dad – but it’s an important milestone because it’s her first big movement. It gives her a taste of independence because now she can change her position and her view without help from mom and dad.
Rolling over is also the first step to sitting, crawling and eventually waking. Curious about what this milestone means for your baby? Here are 10 things you need to know.
Table of Contents
- 1. Babies Start Rolling As Early As 3 Months
- 2. Rolling Develops Baby’s Physical Strength
- 3. The First Roll Can Be Scary
- 4. Once Baby Rolls, He’ll Get into Everything
- 5. Use Toys to Entice Rolling
- 6. See Your Pediatrician If Baby Isn’t Rolling at 7 Months
- 7. Never Leave Baby Unattended
- 8. Encourage Rolling with a Live Demonstration
- 9. Tummy Time is the Key to Reaching this Milestone
- 10. It’s Okay If Your Baby Rolls in the Crib
- Red Flags to Watch For
- She’s Rolling – Now What?
1. Babies Start Rolling As Early As 3 Months
When do babies roll over? That’s one of the first questions parents ask when talking about this important achievement. While every baby is unique and will start rolling when they’re ready, most will master the skill by 6 or 7 months.
Some babies start rolling over as early as 3-4 months.
2. Rolling Develops Baby’s Physical Strength
As an adult, rolling over is effortless – you don’t think twice about it. But for your baby, rolling is a major physical feat. His arm and neck muscles need to be strong enough for the move, and he needs excellent head control.
Tummy time is a great way to boost your baby’s strength and get him ready for rolling. When he spends time on his belly, he’ll need to use his arms to push himself up, and he’ll need to hold his head up to look around. These mini push-ups help baby develop his arm, neck, shoulder and core muscles.
3. The First Roll Can Be Scary
Baby’s first roll usually comes as a surprise, and because the movement is so big and sudden, it can be scary. Don’t be surprised if he sheds a few tears afterwards. Don’t worry – he’ll soon discover that his new trick is fun and he’ll enjoy rolling over.
Once he’s mastered the rolling skill, your little gymnast may find amusement in just rolling back and forth. Some babies will use rolling as a fun way to get from one place in the house to another.
4. Once Baby Rolls, He’ll Get into Everything
Don’t be surprised if your baby starts getting into everything once he learns how to roll. From crumbs on the floor to the dog’s food bowl and plugs in the wall, he’s going to be curious about every little thing around him.
Once he’s mastered the art of rolling, be sure to go over your childproof checklist again to keep baby safe.
5. Use Toys to Entice Rolling
Some babies aren’t interested in rolling, but you can encourage him to give it a try by placing his favorite toys just out of reach to the left or right of him during his tummy time sessions.
If toys won’t do the trick, try laying down on the floor next to him to encourage him to roll over to you.
6. See Your Pediatrician If Baby Isn’t Rolling at 7 Months
If your baby isn’t showing any interest in rolling by 7 months and isn’t trying to scoot or sit, talk to your pediatrician about it.
Before you start panicking, it’s important to remember that babies reach these milestones at their own pace. Most babies today are learning how to roll much later because they spend so much time on their backs (one of the best ways to prevent SIDS).
7. Never Leave Baby Unattended
Now that your baby has mastered the roll, play time will be a lot more interesting. He’ll roll from side to side to get a new perspective and entertain himself.
But all that newfound independence and the ability to move on his own means that you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on him at all times. It becomes especially important to watch him when he’s on the bed, the changing table or any high surface. All it takes is one second for baby to roll right off the edge.
Even before he’s reached this milestone, it’s a good idea to keep a very close eye on his movements when he’s on high surfaces. You never know when he’ll make his first roll – and you certainly don’t want it to be off the changing table.
8. Encourage Rolling with a Live Demonstration
Rolling can be fun for your baby, but he may be reluctant to take the plunge at first. A great way to encourage him and reassure him that it’s perfectly safe is to give a live demonstration. Get down on the floor with your baby and show off your rolling skills. He may giggle at your funny movements and try to mimic them himself.
9. Tummy Time is the Key to Reaching this Milestone
Babies learn how to roll naturally, but they need to develop strength and head control before they can successfully complete this move. Tummy time is the key to reaching this milestone. Make sure your baby has lots of floor time on his belly. He’ll use his arms, legs, core muscles, shoulders and neck muscles to prop himself up and eventually, roll over.
If he’s not too keen on tummy time, try making the sessions short (1-2 minutes), and surround him with attractive toys to entice him to stay on his belly.
10. It’s Okay If Your Baby Rolls in the Crib
Once babies learn how to crawl, parents are concerned about safety when their little ones are sleeping. Now that your baby can move from side to side, you may find her in different positions or different areas of the crib when you check on her.
If your baby has mastered the art of rolling, experts say rolling in the crib at night is no cause for concern. However, it is still recommended that you put your baby to sleep on her back. At this point, your baby has developed the strength to move on her own, which means she can sense and avoid trouble when she’s sleeping. She’s far less likely to get trapped in a position that compromises her breathing.
It’s also important to remember that once your baby turns 6 months of age, she’s moved past the SIDS high-risk stage (2-4 months).
Red Flags to Watch For
Parents are naturally concerned when their babies don’t reach certain milestones within the average timeframe, but it’s important to remember that babies move at their own pace and will reach these milestones when they’re ready.
With that said, there are certain red flags that all parents should be on the lookout for if their baby hasn’t starting rolling over by 7 months:
- Poor head control (head flops back when she’s sitting up)
- Stiff with tight muscles
- Has no interest in cuddling
- Shows no affection to the people who care for her
- Light sensitivity
- Can only reach with one hand
- Her limbs are floppy
- Can’t sit up without help from others
- Has trouble getting objects to her mouth
- Doesn’t laugh or make squealing noises
These may be signs of an underlying medical issue. It’s important to see your pediatrician if your baby shows no interest in rolling and exhibits any of the symptoms above.
She’s Rolling – Now What?
Rolling is baby’s first big movement. Soon, she’ll be sitting up on her own, crawling and standing on her own two feet. Before you know it, she’ll be walking on her own – and causing plenty of adorable trouble.