Hi, dear worried-parent,
Every baby grows and achieves milestones at different rates. Some babies may roll over quickly than others, and some babies completely skip rolling over and instead start sitting or even crawling. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that most babies, by the age of 7 months, master the skill of rolling over. But, if your baby at 6 or 7 months doesn’t seem to roll over and hasn’t achieved other milestones like sitting, scooting, or locomoting in some way, then consult the pediatrician. Also, keep in mind that if your baby was born premature (before 37 weeks), she’s likely to reach all her milestones later than most babies.
Rolling over is one of the first milestones where the baby starts becoming more independent and mobile. Rolling over her body is a big physical feat for your little one. She needs good head control and muscle strength in her neck and arm muscles.
It can sometimes come as a surprise for both the parents and the baby when she rolls over for the first time.
So, never leave your baby unsupervised on a changing table or even on a raised platform, for that matter, because you never know when your baby suddenly decides she wants to roll on her side.
So, when do babies roll over?
All babies are different, and so are their development rates. For example, while some babies quickly reach all their milestones, some take their own sweet time reaching there. But, both these types of babies and their developmental rates are considered normal.
Babies can start rolling over from tummy to back as early as 3 – 4 months of age. Most babies need strong neck and arm muscles which they’ll have by the age of 6 or 7 months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that by 7 months of age, most babies start rolling over from back to tummy and have mastered the skill.
Your baby may even surprise you by rolling over from back to tummy first and then from tummy to back.
Some babies are known to skip the entire phase of rolling over and head straight towards sitting, crawling, or scooting to get to some places.
What should I do if my baby hasn’t rolled over at 6 months?
You’ve been giving your baby a lot of tummy time, and yet your little one doesn’t seem to roll over on her own. Well, as much as this can frustrate you, try to bear in mind to give your little one her time and space to get stronger and roll over on her own.
If your baby doesn’t know how to roll over, try to encourage her by doing more tummy time, or plop her on her side and let her play with toys.
A parent’s or caregiver’s interaction with babies is essential for their mental and physical development.
Some babies even roll over very early on, and most of these babies rolled over ‘accidentally,’ meaning they didn’t mean to roll over, but it just happened. For instance, your 3-month-old baby rolled over while crying because she was frustrated during her tummy time.
Try not to compare your baby with other babies of the same age because babies have different rates of achieving their milestones.
While my son rolled over from back to tummy at 6 months, my nephew started crawling at 6 months of age. But does this mean that my son was a little slow or has a developmental issue? No.
Both babies achieved their milestones within the normal range. So, similarly, some might reach their milestone at the beginning of the ‘range,’ and some babies might achieve their milestones when they’re at the end of that ‘range.’
Some babies are also a little late to rolling if they’re on the heavier side. Moms on forums have put forward their concerns about their overweight babies not rolling over at 6 months of age, and the pediatrician has confirmed that it can take time for babies on the heavier side to roll over their tummy.
Also, remember that if your baby is born prematurely (before 37 weeks), she’s likely to roll a little later than most babies. For instance, a baby born 2 months early might start rolling 2 months later than a typical full-term baby.
It becomes a matter of concern when your little one at the age of 6 or 7 months doesn’t seem to even try to roll over and hasn’t started sitting with support, scooting, or crawling; then you should consult the pediatrician.
Another concern is when your baby has missed several other milestones while growing up and has stopped babbling or reaching for her toys.
As long as your baby makes movements to go in different directions either to reach you or grab a toy, know that she’s developing.
But, if you have any concerns about your little one’s development, do reach out to the pediatrician.
Ways to encourage your baby to roll over
1. Tummy time
Tummy time is critical to developing their neck and arm muscles. This will help them gain good head control and help them push themselves up, roll over, crawl, and sit.
You should start giving tummy time to your baby right in the hospital room after she’s born. There are many ways to give your little one tummy time, but if she doesn’t like or keeps crying every time you give her tummy time, then stop, and try again later or plop a rolled-up towel under her arms and place a toy within her reach.
You can also give her tummy time by placing her on your forearm with her head and neck supported.
2. Avoid placing her in baby equipment for prolonged time
Although baby equipment like bouncy chairs, baby swings, car seats, and strollers are blessings in disguise for busy parents and caregivers, and it’s also a great way to calm down a fussy baby.
Still, they shouldn’t spend the majority of time confined to little spaces because this will become a huge hindrance to them from practicing their motor skills.
Place them on a mat on the floor and keep her favorite toys a little out of her reach so that she tries to move her arms and body to try and reach that toy.
3. Let your baby play on his side
Place toys, mirrors, books, or anything, that excites your baby on her side, and place her on her side facing the toys.
As she grows comfortable in that position, keep the toys out of her reach, and you’ll slowly see your little one’s top leg crossing over to the floor and viola.
4. Stop swaddling
At the newborn stage, swaddling is a great way to make them fall asleep and sleep for a prolonged time, but by the age of 3 or 4 months of age, they’re likely to sleep without a swaddle. So, they can move their arms and legs freely and try to reach for their toys.
Other ways to encourage is, physically guide them and teach them how it feels like to move on their side and then roll over.
Keep in mind that rolling over is a very new sensation for them, and so they might even cry at the first attempt, but after a few tries, they might start enjoying it when they see you cheering them and clapping your hands.
Signs they’re ready to roll over
As your newborn grows, you might see signs like:
- Lifting their heads up and shoulders more during tummy time
- Kicking their legs and moving in a circular motion when they’re on their back
- Trying to roll on their side
- Using their legs to lift their leg up, or rolling their hips from side to side
What activities should I do with my 6-month-old baby?
You can do activities like reading a flip-flap book, playing peek-a-boo, making bubbles, tummy time, singing and clapping a song, playing with them with their toys.
How many times should I feed my 6-month-old baby?
Start with one meal for a couple of weeks and then build it up to 2 and 3 meals a day as your baby grows. But remember that breast milk or formula milk is the primary source of nutrition for your little one till they’re 1-year-old.
What milestones should a 6-month-old baby achieve?
She might start to try crawling, passing toys from one hand to another, rolling over, bounces when she’s in a standing position, rocks back and forth on all fours, and may start to scoot backward.
Most babies start rolling over by 7 months of age, but if your baby hasn’t rolled over yet, then keep in mind reasons like overweight, premature birth, delay in other milestones.
Your baby will probably roll over on her own very shortly, but if you’re still worried about her delay in achieving many of her milestones, then consult the pediatrician and clear your doubts.