When will a baby start to roll over?

Shutterstock: Gabriela Insuratelu

One of the first movements that babies learn is how to roll over onto their stomach from their back. Rolling over requires the development of the muscles in their arms, neck, and back. Babies who have mastered this movement will soon be able to roll, scoot, and crawl all over your home.

How Soon Will Your Baby Roll Over?
Most babies learn to roll over roughly four months after they are born. This time can vary greatly; some babies learn to roll over after three months, while others can take up to six months to master the move.

Some parents report that their babies are rolling within days of being born. The ability to roll over is completely dependent on muscles in the baby’s arms and neck. It’s not impossible for an extremely active baby to be able to roll over quickly, especially if they moved around a lot while they were in the womb. If this happens to you, be excited for your little one, and get ready for an extremely vibrant toddler.

If your baby is taking a long time to roll over, don’t worry about it too much. Some babies go straight from sitting to crawling without ever entering a rolling phase. As long as they learn how to push themselves up and hold their head up straight, they should develop normally.

Teaching Your Baby to Roll Over
Tummy time is a great way to help your baby build muscle strength in their arms, back, and neck. While your baby is lying down on their stomach, they automatically activate these muscles and learn how to use them. You can begin practicing tummy time as soon as a week after your baby is born.

Start by rolling your baby onto their stomach for one or two minutes at a time. Try laying them down on your lap, where you can keep a close eye on them. If your baby starts getting frustrated, return them to a normal sitting or sleeping position.

Over the next few weeks, slowly increase the length of these sessions until your baby can lay on their stomach for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Try placing your baby on a play mat with an exciting toy nearby; this will encourage them to roll towards the toy and grab it.

You should never leave your baby laying on their stomach while unsupervised. Because your baby can’t roll over, they won’t be able to change their position if something goes wrong. If you become distracted, end the tummy time session until you can give it your full attention.

Don’t forget to get excited when your baby finally rolls over; little ones need plenty of praise and encouragement as they learn new developmental milestones.

Rolling Over in the Crib
Once your baby learns to roll over, they might start rolling over in their sleep. At this point, it’s probably not dangerous for your baby to sleep on their stomach; if they stop breathing, their body will naturally roll them over in response.

However, doctors still recommend that you return your baby to sleeping on their back whenever you check on them. This will help them develop healthy sleeping habits that will last for the rest of their life.