When Do Babies Roll Over? Expert Answers To Your Questions
Watching your precious baby grow and reach developmental milestones is one of the greatest joys of parenthood. And seeing your little one flip from tummy-to-back or back-to-tummy is no exception!
But if you’re wondering exactly when babies roll over and when your little one will reach this milestone, the Newton Baby experts are here to answer your questions. In this article, we’ll tell you when most babies roll over, how to help yours make the big flip, and how to keep them safe when they do.
When Do Babies Roll Over?
As you cuddle your tiny newborn, it might be hard to imagine them rolling over and wiggling around the room, but they will be on the move sooner than you think. Your baby is rapidly developing the muscle strength and coordination they’ll need to roll over.
First, you’ll notice your baby lifting their head and doing mini push-ups while they’re on their tummy. From there, your little one will gain enough strength to turn themselves over from tummy to back.
The first tummy-to-back roll typically happens around four months old. Don’t be surprised if your baby is a bit alarmed the first few times they roll over! Their newfound movement might be just as surprising to them as it is to you.
Typically, babies roll belly-to-back before they master the back-to-belly movement, which requires more strength and coordination. Around six months old, babies generally begin to roll both ways.
Then, they’ll be able to roll over and over, and suddenly, you’ve got a baby on the move! Babies use this new skill as a form of entertainment as well as a way to reach for what they want and get where they want to go.
But don’t worry if your baby rolls over for the first time and then seems to lose interest. The skill (and motivation) to roll over may come and go before it becomes a staple in your little one’s life.
If your baby isn’t rolling over by seven months old, mention it to your pediatrician. Keep in mind that premature babies might roll over (and reach other milestones) later than full-term babies.
However, you know your little one best. Whenever you have concerns — whether about rolling over or other milestones — don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.
How To Help Your Baby Roll Over
Maybe your baby has just started rolling over but needs some motivation to keep it up, or maybe you’re eagerly awaiting that first flip and want to build up their strength and coordination.
Either way, there are a couple of things you can do to help your baby make the move: encourage tummy time and motivate them.
Encourage Tummy Time
Tummy time is the time your baby spends on their stomach while they’re awake. Lying in that position means that your little one has to look up, left, and right to check out what’s going on around them. Eventually, they’ll also use their arms to push up for a better view.
All of this movement builds strength in your little one's back, neck, and arms — the very strength they need to be able to roll over.
Start tummy time within the first week of your infant’s life. Just be sure to work up to it slowly. Put your baby face-down on a blanket on the floor or, if you prefer, lie down and put your baby on your chest.
Three to five minutes of tummy time will do the trick at first. However, avoid putting your baby on their tummy when they have a full belly or are sleepy (always put your little one on their back to sleep!).
Slowly work up to more tummy time as your baby gets used to it and gets older, eventually aiming for sessions of 20 minutes each.
If your baby seems uncomfortable as they’re getting used to tummy time, place a small rolled blanket under their chest with their arms out in front of them. And, of course, make sure they’re always supervised so that tummy time is a safe and comfortable experience.
Motivate Your Baby
Making tummy time interesting and fun is key in motivating your baby to work those muscles and, eventually, roll over. If your baby is doing tummy time on your chest, make eye contact and talk or sing to encourage them to look at your face.
Once your little one is interested in toys, give them tummy time on a mat or blanket and place toys nearby to encourage your baby to reach for them. Another option is to put a mirror on the floor in front of your baby for stimulation.
Additionally, if your little one has an older sibling, encourage their brother or sister to play with them during tummy time.
Lastly, try putting your little one on their side to play. Prop a blanket behind their back and a toy in front of them to motivate them to stay on their side and even potentially roll over to reach the toy.
No matter which method you choose, the goal is to give your baby extra encouragement to roll over, so be intentional about showing them something to reach for and a reason to turn over. And if they’re trying but just need a little extra help, you can gently lend a hand to show them how it’s done.
But remember — never force your baby to roll over if they’re not ready. And when your baby does roll over, reward and motivate them by celebrating their new accomplishment!
Keeping Your Baby Safe When They Begin To Roll Over
If your baby is ready to roll across the room or roll over when you’re changing their diaper, it’s time to do a few safety checks. Here are three ways to keep your rolling baby safe.
1) Be Prepared
Just because your baby hasn’t rolled over yet doesn’t mean they won’t do it when you least expect it! You never know when they’ll make that flip for the first time, so always keep a hand on your little one when they’re on the changing table or any other high surface.
2) Ensure Sleep Safety
Use A Breathable Mattress Or Mattress Pad
While you should always put your baby to sleep on their back, there is no need to go back into the nursery to turn them over if they flip onto their stomach in the middle of the night. Babies who can roll over will often change positions in their sleep, so all you need to do is make sure your little one is safe overnight.
The best way to ensure sleep safety is to use a firm, breathable mattress in your baby’s crib. If your baby rolls onto their stomach at night, a breathable mattress — like Newton’s Crib Mattress — will help reduce the risk of suffocation.
Expert tip: If you already have a crib mattress, consider using a breathable mattress pad — like Newton Baby’s — on top of it to add a layer of waterproof, hypoallergenic, and breathable protection.
Newton’s Crib Mattress allows for the best breathability because both the mattress and the mattress cover are breathable. It also helps regulate your baby's body temperature and reduces dust mites and allergens.
All of this allows your little one to sleep more safely and comfortably through the night.
The other way to make the crib as safe as possible for your baby is by removing anything that they could get caught in. Although plush toys and cuddly pillows are cute, it’s not safe for them to be in the bed with your little one.
Keep pillows, wedges, loose clothing, toys, and blankets out of your baby’s crib, and make sure the fitted sheet is tightly tucked in. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that you stop swaddling your baby when they seem ready to begin rolling over on their own.
3) Childproof Your Home
While your child won’t be lifting the toilet lid or crawling up the stairs quite yet, their ability to roll around does mean that you’ll need to make sure your home (or at least your floor) is childproofed.
Cover plugs with outlet protectors and put edge bumpers on sharp corners of furniture. Most of all, be sure that there are no small objects on the floor that your exploring baby could put in their mouth and choke on.
Finally, communicate these guidelines to older children so they understand the importance of making your home a safe place for everyone.
Although you can’t be sure when your little one will begin rolling over, you can go ahead and do your part. Give your baby plenty of tummy time, childproof your home, remove hazards from the crib, and invest in a breathable mattress to keep your baby safe all day and all night.
With the Newton Baby crib mattress and breathable mattress cover, you and your baby will be sleeping easy in no time!