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Baby Development: When Will Baby Be Rolling Over

Katlyn Joy |31, August 2014


For some reason, we are always anxious to see baby zipping along those developmental milestones. Sometimes we can push too much or too soon, so it's important to know the signs of readiness in your infant before expecting more than you should.

When Do Babies Usually Roll Over?

While between 4 and 7 months is the average age for baby to turn over, each baby has his own timetable. Don't compare your baby to the apparent prodigy up the street. If baby is not remotely interested in trying to roll over at 6 months, it's fine to discuss it with your pediatrician at the next appointment.

Is Baby Ready to Roll Over?

Baby needs to have enough neck strength for this motion, and you can see that readiness in baby when she lifts her head and shows control of it while on her tummy. Baby will consistently reach for things outside his reach. Baby will ultimately begin trying to get that momentum going, and you'll see those efforts starting usually during tummy time sessions.

How Babies Usually Roll Over

Often babies will begin by rocking back and forth, turning and twisting to get around a blanket or in the crib, or some other unique combination of skills. Babies in this age range are much more interactive with their environments and seemingly want to push, pull, touch and chew on everything in sight.

How to Help Baby Roll Over

It's perfectly OK to let baby take the lead and wait for the big moment to simply unfold. But if you are impatient, here are some ways to lend a helpful hand.

One of the best ways is to have regular, daily tummy time. Place baby on a secure surface, and help her press up with her arms and lift her head. Make this a fun activity by having plenty of fun toys with texture, color and sound to engage the infant. When baby reaches or swipes at the object, move it just out of reach and to one side of baby.

Sit just out of baby's reach with a favorite board or cloth book and encourage baby to get to you. Give plenty of positive encouragement, such as clapping, cheering, and words of praise along with loads of smiles and kisses. Babies love this type of positive reinforcement.

If baby is attempting to roll over, and repeatedly gets stuck, let him get the idea, and the thrill of the movement by gently pushing him on over. Or you could pull up one side of the blanket, carefully of course, and help achieve the goal.

Remember baby needs to learn how to roll from back to front as well as from front to back. Give baby plenty of chances to practice this skill.

Keeping Baby Safe

It's a common tale that a baby rolls over for the first time and surprises, and scares the wits out of the parents. Why? Because the parents thought baby was not so mobile and had the infant on a sofa, bed or other surface the baby could actually roll off of. Never leave baby on such surfaces, because no matter how sure you are baby isn't able to do it, trust baby can do more than you think. Don't take chances!

When Baby isn't Rolling Over

If your child hasn't begun rolling at 6 or 7 months, talk to your doctor. Be especially wary for other signs of developmental lags such as:

Signs of stiff, tight muscles

  • Head is still unsteady while sitting
  • Baby still needs propped up completely in sitting position
  • Reaches only with one hand
  • Doesn't cuddle or show affection
  • Doesn't roll in either direction
  • Doesn't respond to sounds
  • Doesn't have enough muscle tone or strength, or seems floppy like a rag doll
  • Has trouble getting objects to the mouth

While every baby has a schedule all his own, a general lag behind on skills, or an inability to respond socially like most babies this age, may indicate a problem. The sooner you bring your concerns to your doctor, the sooner your child can be evaluated and helped.

Early intervention can make a tremendous difference for children who need extra help, but it can't start if you don't know there's an issue.

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