When Do Babies Roll Over?
When you have a new baby, it's like the entire world is new, too. Every bird and butterfly that passes is a fascinating new experience, and so is learning to move. As babies begin opening up to the world, they also start to realize they have some control over it.
By the time they've discovered their own fingers and toes, they're ready to start pushing their own limits and learning to move all on their own. Crawling is still a long way off, so when do babies roll over?
The Average Age Babies Roll Over Is...
Four months. The four-month mark is the average age when most babies make that first flip from back to front. An average is just that, however: an average. Some babies learn to roll over earlier than that, while others take a few weeks longer.
The age at which your baby is ready to roll isn't an indicator of their future athletic ability or intelligence, so don't overthink it. Just consider it a milestone to celebrate, whenever it happens.
It's your baby's first major step to moving independently, so a few (dozen) cheers of encouragement are warranted.
How Do Babies Learn to Roll Over?
When a baby hits three months, their brains start sending out signals: It's go time. There's a reason they call the first few months after birth "the fourth trimester." Just nursing requires a lot of energy in the beginning, along with developing a sleep schedule and adapting to life outside the womb. Newborns have way too much to sort out without worrying about learning to move.
By three months, they've settled in and developed enough to start shifting priorities. They've got the hang of survival. Now, it's time to start interacting with the world.
In addition to the goofy smiles that appear around this time, expect to see babies stretching, exploring their hands and fingers and reaching for nearby objects. This early exploration is a precursor to the big flip.
If Babies Roll Over in Their Sleep, Is It Safe?
The good news: Once a baby is able to roll over on their own, it's totally OK for them to end up rolling onto their side or belly. Always put them down on their back, but don't stress if they don't stay that way.
The bad news: When baby learns to roll over, it's time to kiss swaddling goodbye. Swaddling restricts their arms, which can prevent them from repositioning themselves if they end up in a position that makes it hard to breathe. This isn't an issue before they're mobile. Once they are, swaddling is no longer safe. If they love the sense of security of being swaddled, consider using a sleeveless sleep sack instead.
Don't forget to check your baby's crib for safety hazards once they start rolling over. Pillows, blankets and stuffed animals should never be kept in bed with them until they're a minimum of 12 months old. Going up to 24 months is even safer.
My Baby Still Hasn't Rolled Over. Should I Be Worried?
Babies typically roll from back to tummy around four months old, and from tummy to back by six months old. Often, they start out only being able to roll in one direction, but the other side will catch up in no time.
For the most part, rolling over a few weeks later is nothing to worry about. What may be a sign that something is amiss is if they get to six or seven months old without trying to move independently at all. If they're still not rolling over, sitting up, scooting on their bottom or crawling by this age, mention it to your healthcare provider.
If your baby was rolling over and suddenly stopped, that's also worth a doctor's visit. Keep in mind that these milestone ages don't apply to babies born pre-term. It's completely normal for babies born before 37 weeks to take longer to hit milestones like rolling over and crawling, so be patient.
Tips for Encouraging Baby to Get Moving
Tummy time is the key to kicking off independent movement. During tummy time, in which babies are placed on their tummies while supervised, babies instinctively begin lifting their heads and using their arms to push themselves up and get a better view. This helps baby develop the neck, back and arm strength required for rolling over.
To start out, babies can practice tummy time for just a few minutes at a time, or laying over mom or dad's lap. Over time, increase the amount of tummy time until you work your way up to 15-20 minute stretches.
Then, place them on their back and move a toy just out of reach. You can help them rock from side to side to give them the feel of rolling over. Before you know it, they'll be trying it all on their own.
Check out the video below for more tips on helping your little one hit this next exciting milestone.