Rolling is a major developmental milestone that babies reach once they gain sufficient head control.
Usually, they start rolling from tummy to back – around the 2-5 months mark.
Slightly more advanced is rolling from back to tummy, which requires better coordination and strength. So, babies usually learn to do that a few weeks later – around 7 months.
Naturally, every baby is different, and each develops at a different pace. Therefore, the instinct to start turning over may come sooner or later than expected.
The important thing is to watch your baby for signs of readiness.
You can tell if your child is ready to roll when she can lift her head, keep it steady, and even reach for toys during tummy time.
Moreover, with your help and encouragement, she can achieve this milestone much quicker.
So, let me share with you some tried and tested tips that will help your baby roll.
How To Help My Baby To Roll?
There are a few things you can do to encourage your baby learn to roll. You can start by trying to get your baby acquainted with the sensation of rolling over by picking her up in face down position. If you haven’t already – introduce tummy time as early as possible, to allow your little one to develop muscles necessary for rolling. Also, don’t let your baby spend too much time in a bouncer and other baby equipment. These devices won’t encourage your child to practice motor skills. During play-time you should put your baby in different positions to engage her differnt muscles. And use your baby’s favourite toy as an incentive to encourage roll. And finally – try using a blanket or your hand to give her physical help and guidance to roll over.
1. Roll Her Over While Picking Her Up
This is a great way to introduce your baby to the sensation of rolling. And since you pick your baby up multiple times a day – it will quickly be able to incorporate this into your daily routine.
So, instead of picking up your baby from her back, roll her to her front before picking her up.
2. Tummy Time
I have already discussed the importance of tummy time and its benefits in my older post – Why does My Baby Hate Tummy Time.
The truth is, it can be a struggle for some babies to enjoy tummy time. It is most likely because they are not used to it, and their neck muscles aren’t strong enough to lift their heads.
After all – lying flat face down isn’t fun!
As your baby gains strength in her neck muscles, back muscles, shoulders and arms, you will notice her doing little push-ups.
That’s the starting position for her to flip from stomach to back.
So, keep putting your baby on her stomach and don’t give up!
If you need some ideas on how to encourage your baby to lie on her stomach, read this – How Can I Encourage Tummy Time?
** As a side note, please don’t underestimate your baby potential to flip over unnoticed, especially during tummy time!
Therefore, you should always practice tummy time and rolling over from the floor.
Certainly not from an elevated surface from where she can fall, like a bed (I know – it’s very tempting).
3. Practice, Practice, Practice!
First and foremost – you should give your little one plenty of opportunities to practice rolling over.
So, to do that, make sure you spend lots of time with your baby on a flat surface, such as a playmat, baby gym or simply on the floor.
You could either lay your baby on her back, side or her tummy. Thus, move around as much as she wants, and explore the surroundings from all perspectives.
In addition, by placing your baby in different positions, she can engage multiple muscle groups and gain better control over her body.
Furthermore, be mindful of how much time your little one spends on baby equipment, namely bouncers, slings, car seats. Basically, any equipment that restricts your baby movement.
Ideally, you should limit the time spent on these things until your baby is a confident roller.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the baby using it. The thing is, it keeps the baby from practicing her motor skills. And surely, it won’t help your baby to initiate rolling!
So, just keep that in mind.
4. Use incentives to encourage rolling from tummy position
When your baby is lying comfortably on her stomach, prepare her favourite toys, mirror, dummy, or noisy rattle. Anything that may attract your baby’s attention and motivate her to look at the toy and track it.
So, put the toy in front of her, within her view but just beyond her reach. The idea is that baby would want to grab it. As she tries to get it, move the toy to the side you want the baby to turn.
Once she rotates her head, the body should follow naturally, aided by gravity.
If your baby tries to reach for the toy, her center of gravity will shift from one hip to the other, making it easier to turn.
5. Practice Rolling Over From Side-Lying Position
If you are not successful in getting your baby to roll from the tummy, you may want to try the side-lying position.
As the baby only needs to flip 90 degrees from her side rather than full 180 degrees, you may find it easier to get her to roll.
Make sure your baby exercises all her muscles by rolling on both sides.
A rolled muslin cloth or blanket can be used to prop her back and prevent her from turning to her back.
Again, use visual motivators, such as a toy for your baby to trace. Then, slowly move it away in the direction you want her to roll.
Also, from the side position, you can encourage your baby to flip back on her back – using the trick with a toy. Therefore, she learns to roll both ways – forward and backward.
6. Give Her Bottom A Little Push
Sometimes, your little one may need a little “helping hand “to support her with rolling over.
When she appears to be trying to flip over but just can’t quite make it, you can give her a little push.
So, when she lies on her side and tries to reach for a toy – you can gently lay your hands on her hip and gently shift her weight to the other hip to help her to roll over.
Just make sure her hands are not getting caught under the torso, so she doesn’t land on her face.
Try to gradually reduce this assistance to see if he can roll without your help.
7. Flip Her Over Using Blanket
Another great way to give your little roller a boost is by using a blanket instead of your hands.
So, place your baby in the middle of her blanket.
Any position works with this method – back, front or side.
When she stretches to reach her toy, lift the blanket gently so that her body starts rolling motion.
Keep lifting the blanket until your baby manages to roll over.
Check out the below video that demonstrates most of the above tips.
Help Your Baby Roll Over Now: 4 Tips to Teach Baby to Roll Over
Final Few Lines
The bottom line is – you can’t force your child to turn over.
She will simply do it whenever she is ready.
However, you can definitely work with your baby and help her master the art of rolling by following the tips and activities I described above.
If your child still didn’t figure out how to roll over by 6 months, you should discuss the matter with your GP on the next appointment.
It may just be that she is taking her time, or perhaps she will skip rolling and move to other skills, like sitting and crawling…
And finally – don’t forget to give her plenty of praise to acknowledge her efforts and accomplishments! Keep clapping, smiling, and encouraging her to keep her motivated and enthusiastic as she masters new skills.