When Do Babies Start Rolling Over? Your Complete Guide
Your baby is probably growing so quickly that you can hardly believe your eyes. With the extra baby weight, alertness, and cuddles increasing every day, you might be wondering: when do babies start rolling over?
Our experts have the answer. Read on to understand when your baby will begin rolling over, why they do it, and what other milestones should be following soon after!
When Do Babies Start Rolling Over?
Some newborn babies may roll over onto their sides while they sleep at night (which is safe as long as they roll back and forth on their own and are in a secure place!). But over the next several days, they will probably lose this ability.
From there, it takes at least four months for your baby to gain enough upper body strength and muscle in order to turn themselves onto their belly or back. Your little one will likely start by rolling from belly to back. Gravity and momentum are on their side at this point!
If you notice your baby trying to roll from their back to their belly, don’t help them! Rolling from back to belly successfully means your baby has lots of strength. You can assume if they can roll themselves onto their stomach, they are able to do the reverse.
Like most milestones, each baby is unique. So their “ah-ha!” moment may take more or less time than the average baby.
Typically, you can expect your little one to roll from their tummy to their back between 3 and 5 months old. Back-to-side rolls will happen a little later, between 4 and 5 ½ months. And, finally, back-to-tummy rolls will probably come last, between 5 ½ and 7 months.
As we mentioned, if your baby rolls from their back to their tummy before other milestones, you can assume they are strong enough to do it all!
How Do Babies Learn To Roll Over?
This is where all that tummy time comes in handy. Tummy time is essentially baby weight training. It forces your little one to begin building neck and upper body strength.
While your infant is on their stomach, you may notice them trying to lift their head off the ground. They will graduate to holding their head steady and looking around. This is great progress!
Lifting their head while on their tummy should be followed by little rocks back and forth. This is your baby’s way of testing the waters –– figuring out how to take the plunge.
Little baby push-ups against the ground are the final preliminary step. Once they can clear their chest from the ground, they should be very close to rolling all the way over.
Some babies take longer than others. If your little one hits their 6-month mark and still seems uninterested in turning over, let your doctor know and they can tell you how to proceed.
How To Help Your Baby Roll Over
There are a few different ways to encourage muscle growth in your baby and, consequently, rolling over!
Limit Time In Baby Equipment
Try to limit the amount of time your baby spends in swings, bouncers, or play mobiles. Your baby needs experience and practice in order to build strength. Baby equipment, though fun, prevents them from flexing those muscles!
Encourage Tummy Time
Tummy time is key. This is where your baby builds their motor skills.
Tummy time should begin as soon as they are brought home as newborns, for at least 15 minutes a day. Their little body needs plenty of time to build the muscles they’ll need for the great 180.
Practice Supported Rolling
Help your baby learn to roll over by simulating the feeling of them rolling through their side.
The best time to do this is during diaper changes — lower your baby onto their side while supporting their neck, then let them “roll” down onto their back with your support!
Be sure to give them a little extra love with all those frequent diaper changes, too. Our Diaper Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe is fragrance-free and perfect for even the most sensitive skin! Additionally, our Diaper Rash Cream 1 2 3 is a 3-in-1 product that prevents diaper rash and relieves and recovers your baby's delicate skin at every diaper change.
Use A Toy
While your baby is on their tummy, use a favorite toy of theirs to entice them to reach out. As they try to grab the toy, pull it slightly above their head.
Your baby will be motivated to roll in the direction where you moved the toy.
Get On Their Level
Your baby will be more engaged if you get down on your stomach or back with them from time to time. Two is a party, after all!
Offer Plenty Of Praise
Your baby may be young, but they are still emotionally intelligent. Give lots of kisses and cheers so they know they are doing a good job!
Don’t worry about marking off all of these activities every day (minus tummy time, which should be done every day at multiple intervals). Your baby will develop in their own time. But every now and then, it’s nice to give them that extra nudge in the right direction!
Is It OK For Babies To Roll Over While Sleeping?
The short answer is probably!
Most parents are concerned about babies rolling over due to the chance of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
As long as your baby’s sleep area is clear and there is nothing they could potentially roll into, they should be OK. Rolling over is a natural part of a baby’s growth, so it’s a good sign that your little one is able to roll themselves over in their sleep!
Just keep in mind that, per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies under one year old should never have loose bedding, toys, or soft materials in their sleep area.
You should also always ensure that in the first year of their life, all caretakers are placing your baby on their back whenever they go to sleep. This includes naps and longer sleep sessions. Infants who begin sleeping on their backs have the lowest risk for SIDS.
If your baby is new to rolling, keep an eye on them to make sure they do not wake up and upset themselves in the middle of the night. If they seem settled, then they should be safe to continue sleeping in their rolled-over position.
If you ever have any concerns about how rolling over might impact your baby’s sleep patterns or health, we recommend checking with your pediatrician. They know you and your little one best and can give you the most appropriate advice.
What Comes Next?
With those new, strong neck muscles and a sense of balance, it won’t be long before your little one graduates from rolling over. Soon (with a little push in the right direction!) they will be sitting up, eventually unassisted.
After sitting up, you will have a budding crawler on your hands. Your baby will begin exploring all the parts of your house (make sure to babyproof your home!). Babies typically start to explore crawling around 6 months of age.
Once they seem to crawl faster than you’ve seen any grown man run, they will toddle and teeter their way into walking between 9 and 18 months old (with, unfortunately, lots of head-knocking along the way).
If your little one seems to be falling a little behind the average, this does not necessarily mean you have to worry. Every baby is unique and will reach milestones like rolling over, sitting up, walking, and talking on their own time!
But if you’re concerned about your baby’s development, it’s always best to contact your doctor and tell them what you have observed. They can reassure you about your baby’s progress.
Expert tip: With your little one getting rough and tough as they grow stronger, their skin might need a little extra TLC, too. Our Hydra Bebe Body Lotion is the perfect product to keep your baby’s skin silky smooth and deeply hydrated –– no dry skin for your little daredevil!
What To Remember
Rolling over is the first major milestone in your baby’s motor development. It is an exciting (and sometimes scary) time for you and your child!
Keep these things in mind as your baby begins their adventure from back to tummy and back again:
- Most babies won’t begin rolling over until at least 4 months of age
- Tummy time is the most important daily activity to help your baby build strength
- If you notice your baby roll over in their crib at night, don’t panic! This means they are strong enough to roll themselves back and forth and can likely sense trouble while they are asleep
- To reduce the risk of SIDS, continue to put your baby to sleep on their back for at least the first year of their life. If they roll out of that position on their own, it is OK
We all know growing up can be hard work (almost as much as parenting), so cherish this first big achievement with your baby. Because soon, they will be crawling and walking and getting into who-knows-what!