When Do Babies Roll Over & How Can I Encourage It?

when do babies roll over

To be honest, newborn babies are adorable but tend to stay inactive for long periods in the first few weeks. An exciting milestone, and often the first step toward proper mobility, is the ability to roll over. That’s why seeing a baby roll over is such a big developmental milestone for new parents; it means that the infant is growing and gaining mobility, which is a huge step toward independence.

Depending on the kid, some newborns can roll over from their tummies to their backs as early as 90 days old. Changing from a supine to a prone posture is a motor skill most newborns don’t master until they’re around 5 or 6 months old.

Help your young kid prepare for mobility by letting them practice rolling over and walking about on their bellies. Babies’ rhythmic swaying motion is a precursor to later body rotation skills. Young children experiment with different ways of getting about as their motor skills improve, such as rolling. Positioning the neonate on its ventral side may improve its ability to perform a rolling motion.

When Do Babies Roll Over?

Baby rolling is thrilling and frequently the first step to becoming mobile. Most babies start rolling by six or seven months and can spin their bodies around. Infants can move from the back to the front before performing the opposite movement, which requires greater mental and physical effort.

Your infant may cry the first time they turn over. The sudden shift in attitude might frighten them, but babies learn quickly. Your little athlete may enjoy turning more after learning to turn from tummy to back or back to tummy. Rolling neonates are mobile.

Consult a physician if your 7-month-old infant has not rolled over, sat up, or moved. Some infants never turn over.

What Are The First Signs Of Rolling Over?

Mastered rolling over requires practice and coordination, and many babies in the early phases of life lack the requisite head control and other physical abilities necessary for its execution.

As an infant’s physical abilities develop, they may exhibit signs that they are on the verge of rolling over, such as:

  1. Raising the upper body while on the tummy.
  2. Rolling towards their shoulder or lateral position.
  3. Moving their lower limbs and rolling in a circular motion while lying on their back.
  4. Enhanced lower body strength, like swaying the pelvis side to side and employing the lower limbs to elevate the pelvis.

It is possible for infants to involuntarily turn over and show signs of fear or astonishment a couple of weeks before their regular rolling.

What Are The Variables That Influence Baby Rolling?

Each baby has unique qualities, and infants instinctively progress at their own pace. However, certain studies propose that cultural or geographical factors may impact the rolling over of infants.

Babies born in Hong Kong or China tend to roll from their backs to their bellies initially. This contradicts the trend in the United States, where babies usually roll from belly to back first.

Several additional factors that could impact an infant’s ability to roll over are:

  • The ability to turn over is considered a motor developmental milestone. Infants who experience delays in motor development for various reasons may demonstrate a delay in reaching this developmental milestone.
  • Infants may reach the milestone of rolling over sooner if they are motivated to engage in floor play, have a natural inclination toward physical activity, and are assisted in refining their skills.
  • Infants born before their due date may experience developmental delays in the early phases of life, but they typically reach the same developmental milestones as their peers over time. A neonate delivered 60 days prematurely may exhibit a delay in rolling over commensurate with their gestational age.

Why Is Tummy Time Important for a Baby?

Encouraging your infant to enjoy tummy time while they are alert requires you to lay them down on their belly for brief intervals while you keep a close eye on them. This holds significant value for your little one’s growth as it aids in fortifying their neck and shoulder muscles while enhancing their motor abilities.

It is important to ensure that your infant is constantly supervised while engaging in tummy time activities, especially when placed on an elevated surface.

Significance of Tummy Time for Infants’ Development

  • Encourage babies to roll, as it helps the baby grow and develop. Tummy time can help your baby’s neck, arms, back, and legs grow. Also, it can help them become more flexible and improve their balance. To do things like rolling over, squatting, crawling, and finally walking, your baby will need to get stronger and learn new physical skills.
  • Your newborn can look around and learn about their surroundings in a different way when they are lying down. They have to lift her head while lying on her stomach so they can see what’s going on around them. This will make their neck and back muscles stronger.
  • It reduces the pain of a bent neck and stops a sagging head from happening. Babies with torticollis, a disease marked by tight neck muscles, may feel better during tummy time. In addition to the physical exercises that a doctor may suggest, putting an infant on his or her tummy may help relax tight muscles in the neck.

How Can I Encourage My Baby for More Tummy Time?

Engaging in tummy time can bring joy to you and your little one, fostering a special connection. It is also an opportunity for your little one to cultivate the muscle coordination necessary for the forthcoming advancements. Engaging in regular sessions of tummy time daily will yield numerous benefits for your baby’s growth and progress.

Tummy time varies with every little one.

Tummy time for infants:

As your neonate is in the early phases of developing head and neck control, follow these guidelines for tummy time for newborns aged 0 to 3 months.

  1. When they are awake, put your baby in a horizontal position on their chest or knees.
  2. To make them feel comfortable, talk to them in a happy, musical tone while making eye contact.
  3. It’s best to limit tummy time to three to five minutes during this stage. Seeing your baby enjoying the job, you can gradually lengthen the time. Give your baby a chance to lie on his or her stomach for a few minutes twice or thrice daily.
  4. Following the initial month, your little one might exhibit enhanced head mobility and increased neck muscle strength. However, it is important to provide adequate support to their head while cradling them. Likely, the baby won’t be able to hold up their head independently until they are about four months old.

Tummy Time for Older Babies

This method facilitates tummy time for babies aged 4 to 7 months.

  1. Position your baby on their belly on a surface draped with a towel or warm cloth. If your baby is in a crib, you must stop swaddling and make them comfortable with loose blankets and enough room for rolling babies.
  2. Offer a three- to five-minute relaxation time for the digestive system, and continue it later if it seems relaxing. You should put your baby on his or her stomach a few times a day, such as on a changing table or during feeding.
  3. During this time, your baby should be able to raise their head while lying flat on their back. They may also start to pressure their arms, curve their back, and lift their chest. The increased core strength in her body will help them stand up straight in the future.
  4. Your baby can be seen swaying while lying on their stomach or moving their lower limbs while their upper limbs make swimming movements. This usually happens around the fifth month, meaning the baby is getting the physical skills and strength to roll over and possibly crawl.

Do Babies Naturally Learn To Roll Over?

Do Babies Naturally Learn To Roll Over?

A newly born baby starts rolling naturally after a few weeks of birth. The act of baby rolling requires coordination, head and neck control, and arms, core, and back.

Here is a sequence of events that your baby will go through to learn how to begin rolling:


It is typical for newborns to exhibit limited head and neck control and strength during the initial weeks. If your infant can raise their head during the initial weeks of their life, they are making progress. Adequate tummy time is essential for developing muscular strength and weight shifting. Commence with brief intervals a few times throughout the day for a handful of minutes each time.

1 to 2 months

It is possible that your baby may encounter difficulty in raising their head while lying on their stomach. However, with time, they may be able to lift their head and roll it in different directions. Encourage your baby to roll, and do not leave your baby unattended.

3 to 4 months

At this point, your baby might perform a “mini pushup” on their belly, significantly elevating their head and shoulders and utilizing their upper limbs for assistance. This aids in fortifying the muscles required for rolling.

Your baby rolls during their belly time. At first, your baby may be scared of rolling over, but over time, they will get used to it and be happy with their new skill. Do not be surprised if you find your baby on their back; it’s good news that they are already entered their next milestone.

5 to 6 months

Your baby’s development is happening at the 5th and 6th month of age as motor skills will exhibit the ability to raise their head, exert force on their arms, and curve their spine to elevate their torso from the surface. It is possible for them to sway while lying on their belly, move their lower limbs, and simulate swimming by moving their upper limbs.

Physical activity can aid in the growth of your baby’s arm muscles, enabling them to roll over in both directions.

Some babies may choose to roll as their primary method of movement on the ground for an extended period of time; however, others may opt to entirely skip this stage and go directly to sitting, lunging, and crawling instead. There is no need to be concerned if your progeny is consistently developing new skills, showing interest in navigating and researching their environment, and doing so persistently over time.

Which Ways Do Babies Roll First?

Both you and your baby will find the first rollover to be an unexpected and exciting occasion in their lives. Mostly babies roll from front to back and are transforming from a newborn who was less active physically to a youngster who can move about on their own after going through a rapid transformation.

There are also rare cases in which a newborn lacks the capacity to roll over from their front to back as their first motor skill; nonetheless, this is the norm rather than the exception. A baby has to have adequate power in their anterior flexor muscles so that they can perform the movement of shifting from back to tummy.

However, it may be to their benefit to utilize their posterior extensor muscles to commence the rolling action and then use their limbs to drive themselves forward. This would be the most efficient use of their muscles.

The maturation of the baby’s muscles, especially those located in the upper body, is critical to the process of learning how to roll over. Babies have heads that are disproportionately bigger than the rest of their bodies, which may cause an imbalance in how their weight is distributed throughout their bodies. As a result, in order to offset this forward pull, individuals need to acquire adequate muscular strength in their cervical and shoulder areas.

Final Thoughts

Providing your baby with regular, closely monitored periods of tummy time can aid in developing the necessary muscle power and control for achieving milestones such as rolling, sitting, crawling, and eventually standing and walking.

If your baby has already acquired the skill of rolling over or is still in the process of learning how to spend time on their tummy, it is essential to stay informed about their physical growth. In a short time, your baby will enjoy tumbling, standing, and moving about indoors.

The exact moment when your baby will perform their first roll-over is uncertain, but it is a fact that you will enjoy your baby’s developmental milestone very much.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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