As parents, there’s not much that excites us more than watching our babies and young children achieve some sort of developmental milestone, whether that be walking or talking or finally moving out of our basement.
One of the earliest developmental milestones to occur, and probably one of the most exciting for parents to witness, is the act of rolling over. Watching that young genius roll from their belly to back and over again often has many parents planning for future Olympic Games to come.
A common question for new parents though is: when can they expect the rolling over to begin?
Baby rolling over for the first time (Photo credit: Flickr – ssstok)
The easy answer is that the average baby will begin to roll over somewhere between 4-7 months, but as we all know, every child is different and some babies will learn to roll fairly quickly after achieving head control and others will be quite content just squirming and slithering around like a worm and put off rolling until well after 7 months of age.
And that’s okay.
As long as your baby is happy exploring their surroundings and seems interested in that activity, it’s okay if they’re a little late in their achievement of the big roll. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that if your baby was born prematurely, some of these first year developmental milestones may be slightly delayed as a result and that’s a normal thing as well. It’s always worthwhile to speak with your physician or healthcare practitioner if you have any specific questions or concerns and you don’t need to be shy about that. There’s more on that to come, but first here’s a little more information about the rolling:
How the rolling startsIt won’t be long before your child is rolling down the hill singing about “Jack and Jill” like a professional, but first, it all starts with gaining control of the head and neck. This control usually develops over the first few months of age and a great exercise to help in the strengthening of the head and neck is good ole supervised “tummy-time”.
Babies on their tummies will naturally want to look up and around and see what’s happening to their favorite toy or parent and this little exercise will aid in the strengthening of their neck and arms and other muscles that they will use to roll themselves over. It might not be pretty at first, but all that head lifting, leg kicking, chest lifting and arm waving will quickly turn into rolling.
Probably when you least expect it and hopefully not when they’re unsecured on a diaper changing table!
Some experts believe that it’s easier for babies to roll from their bellies to their backs initially and that you will often see that activity occur first, but it’s definitely not uncommon or unusual for the rolling to begin from the back to the belly. As was mentioned earlier, every baby is different!
Baby Rolling Over From Belly (Flickr – ssstok)
We’ve all heard stories about babies, who seem to skip every mobility milestone and jump right from tummy-time to hurdling the baby-gate, and it’s true, not all babies will progress in a linear form like this: head lifting – rolling – sitting up – crawling – walking – Noble Prize winning.
There will always be differences and things will often seem to happen in the blink of an eye.
Keeping safety in mindThe previous comment about a baby mastering the roll when they’re unsecured on a changing table was written a little cheekily, but it’s important to keep in mind that, often children will surprise us parents with an activity that they can all-of-a-sudden perform.
Rolling over is no exception and it really can happen when mom or dad least expect it.
For that reason, it’s always a good idea to keep your young baby strapped onto the diaper change table at all times (yes, there is a strap on there) and they should be supervised if they’re playing, or even sleeping, on a couch or a bed.
Should you encourage your baby to roll over?Well, like death and taxes, it’s going to happen eventually, but if you want to try some activities to help encourage the rolling, tummy-time is a great place to start as it allows the baby to get working on strengthening those needed muscles.
Placing them in their tummy a few times a day is a good place to start and you can provide encouragement by placing some toys around that the baby can grab at and look around at. This activity will get those muscles flexing and growing, not to mention, there’s nothing that is much cuter than a baby experiencing tummy-time, so enjoy the moment, he or she will be running down the halls before you can say, “Where did all the time go!”
When should you be worried that your baby is not rolling over?As was mentioned earlier, the normal time frame for a baby to commence the rolling over is somewhere between 4-7 months of age, and if you’re a parent and your child has not started the roll by 6 or 7 months, you might become concerned and, as parents, that’s a normal way to feel.
Again, children all develop at different paces, so it’s often nothing to worry about if they haven’t started rolling over, at least in one direction, by 6 months, but if they’ve reached 7 months and still have not rolled, it’s worth discussing the issue with your physician or healthcare practitioner at their next check-up.
After the rollOnce your baby has figured out the rolling and you’ve put down the video camera and stopped snapping pictures on your smart phone, you might be wondering what the next milestone will be for your brilliant wonder baby.
Well, all that muscle training and rolling will lead to sitting up independently, which most babies achieve by 6-8 months of age, and then shortly after that, the crawling and walking will begin.
Look out! There’s no stopping baby now! Where are the Olympics being help in 18 years anyway?
Questions for youDo you remember where and when your baby first amazed you with rolling over?
Did your baby skip the rolling and go right to the crawling? Let us know in the comments!