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 few things you can do to help your baby make the move: encourage tummy time, motivate them, get on the floor with them, and simulate rolling over.
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.
Expert Tip: Help your baby build even more strength by limiting the amount of time they spend in baby equipment like swings and bouncers. These are fun every now and then, but your baby also needs plenty of experience and practice (on both their back and tummy) without them.
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.
Get On The Floor
Whether you are trying to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby or you want to be your little one’s biggest cheerleader when it comes to rolling over, try getting on the floor with them.
Your baby will benefit from this time spent with you, and they might even take a cue from you. It might feel silly, but why not show them the ropes and pique their interest by rolling over yourself?
To engage with your little one while on the floor, read, talk, sing, or even make silly faces.
Simulate Rolling Over
You can help your baby get the feel of rolling over by rolling them over yourself. For example, you could place your baby on their side (while supporting them) and then gently allow them to roll onto their back.
Or put a blanket or swaddle under your baby while they’re face-up on the floor. As they reach for a toy, gently lift the opposite side of the blanket so that it ever-so-slightly lifts your baby and helps them roll for the toy.
Another way to help them understand what it feels like is to simply help them make the roll by rocking their hips to one side.
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.
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.
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
Four ways to make sleep as safe as possible for your baby are by putting them to sleep on their back, using a breathable mattress, removing hazards from their crib, and transitioning out of the swaddle. You may also want to consider lowering the crib mattress.
Put Your Baby On Their Back
You may have heard the old recommendation that babies should be put to sleep on their tummies. This was the recommended sleep position years ago, but that changed in 1992 when the American Academy of Pediatrics began advising that babies sleep on their back.
This is the safest way to put your baby down to snooze.
That said, what’s not safe is using a positioner, wedge, or baby pillows to try to keep your sleeping baby on their back. These only serve as a risk for entrapment or suffocation.
Note: 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. That brings us to the next point.
Use A Breathable Mattress Or Mattress Pad
Knowing that your baby may roll over in the middle of the night, 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, a breathable mattress — like Newton’s Crib Mattress — will reduce the risk of suffocation.
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.
What makes this mattress so breathable? Our patented Wovenaire core is made of 90% air. And the other 10% is composed of the same material as yogurt cups.
This means that our crib mattress contains none of the foam, latex, springs, and glue that are common in other mattresses. Say hello to cleaner, hypoallergenic sleep!
Our Crib Mattress is even GREENGUARD Gold Certified and exceeds the highest industry emission safety standards to help improve indoor air quality.
One other thing about this mattress that will make your life easier: It’s 100% washable. That’s right! It’s the only crib mattress that’s washable from cover to core.
To wash the mattress core, simply remove the cover and wash the core in the shower with soap and cool water or rinse it off outside with a hose. Then, shake it off and let it air-dry. It’s that easy.
The zip-off cover is even easier to wash since it can be thrown in the washing machine on cold with a mild detergent. Afterward, tumble dry on low heat.
Everything we have mentioned here about our breathable, washable Crib Mattress allows your little one to sleep more safely and comfortably through the night.
Expert Tip: If you already have a crib mattress, consider using a breathable mattress pad — like our Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad — on top of it to add a layer of waterproof, hypoallergenic, and breathable protection.
It’s available in two sizes (crib and twin) to serve you well throughout the potty-training years, too.
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, crib bumpers, 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.
For a fitted sheet that’s organic, breathable, cozy, and cute to boot, look no further than our Organic Cotton Sheets. These 100% breathable sheets are made with supremely soft organic muslin cotton that’s certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards.
The all-around elastic guarantees a safe, snug fit for any crib mattress, and each set comes with the pattern of your choice and a white solid sheet.
Plus, we want to simplify your busy life as much as possible, so you can rest assured these sheets are machine-washable and can be tumble-dried on low.
If you’ve been swaddling your newborn, you’ll need to know that The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that you stop swaddling your baby when they seem ready to begin rolling over on their own.
If you’re still going strong with the swaddle, consider using our Organic Swaddle Blankets. They’re made of 100% breathable, GOTS certified organic muslin cotton to keep your baby at the perfect temperature and avoid overheating.
These versatile swaddle blankets can double as a breastfeeding cover, burp cloth, or tummy time mat, too.
But, if your baby is showing signs that it’s time to transition out of the swaddle, what’s a parent to do? There are a few different ways to go about making the switch.
A common method is to start by leaving one of your baby’s arms out of the swaddle for a few nights before taking the other arm out. A different approach is to leave your baby’s legs free while keeping their arms swaddled.
After a few days of either method, you can go totally swaddle-free and see how your baby handles it. Keep in mind that it may take your little one a couple of days to get used to things!
Another method is to alternate swaddling and not swaddling. For example, you could let your baby go without the swaddle for naps but wrap them up at nighttime.
Click here to read more about these methods as well as tips for helping your baby sleep without the swaddle.
Consider Lowering The Crib Mattress
The last sleep safety tip we’ll mention is to consider lowering the mattress. Since every baby grows and develops differently, we can’t tell you exactly when you’ll need to do this.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you adjust the height of the crib mattress before your baby can sit, lowering it “to the level where he cannot fall out either by leaning against the side or by pulling himself over it.”
Babies can typically sit while propped up sometime around four to seven months old. Then, around eight months, babies can usually sit by themselves.
Since babies roll around six months old, lowering the crib around this time is something to keep in mind as your baby gains more mobility and independence.
Ideally, your crib offers different mattress heights, and you’ll be able to easily lower the crib mattress when needed. Our Convertible Cribs provide three adjustable heights for your convenience as your baby grows.
What else does a Convertible Crib involve? Convertible cribs convert from a crib to a toddler bed to a full-size or day bed setting.
All of our Convertible Cribs are three-in-one, which means that this bed serves as a standard-sized crib (with adjustable mattress heights) and converts into a toddler bed with a toddler rail as well as without a rail.
The Soho Crib, Domino Crib, and Austin Crib are all crafted from soft, sustainable wood by skilled artisans in Italy. And, like all of our products, they are GREENGUARD Gold certified for safer, healthier, better sleep.
These cribs offer safety, durability, and timeless style for years of longevity.
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.
Just before your baby is crawling or walking, you’ll need to do a complete baby-proof of your home. This includes the nursery, kitchen, living room, garage, garden, laundry room, bathroom…you get the idea. The whole house! For tips on how to go about it, click here.
Finally, communicate these babyproofing guidelines to older children so they understand the importance of making your home a safe place for everyone.
Baby On The Move
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.