Baby rolling over

Some months have gone by since the birth of your baby, and with every new day he or she is more mobile and alert than ever before. One of your little one’s early developmental milestones will be rolling over on his or her own.

Keep reading to find out when your baby may start rolling over and how to encourage it through play.

When Do Babies Roll Over?

All babies are unique and develop at their own pace, but as a rule of thumb your baby may start practicing the muscle movements needed to roll over – such as rocking on his or her tummy – sometime around the age of 5 months. It’s also around this time your little one could also start reaching out for objects, and later start to pass items from one hand to the other.

Developing these kinds of motor skills and building the muscle strength needed is all a part of your baby’s journey towards being able to roll over.

Most babies learn to roll over from their tummy onto their back at first. Once your child has mastered this it won’t be long before he or she can roll over both ways – from front to back and from back to front. For many babies this happens sometime between 6 months and 8 months.

Keep in mind that the age when babies start rolling over varies, so be patient if your 7-month-old baby hasn’t mastered the skill just yet.

On the other hand, don’t be surprised if it happens earlier either. It’s always important to keep a close watch on your baby as he or she works on these exciting new skills.

It’s safest to keep a hand on your baby at all times when he or she is on a high surface like a changing table, bed or sofa, to prevent your little one from rolling over unexpectedly onto the floor.

By around 8 months your baby is likely to be rolling over with ease.

All this activity is your baby’s way of working up to another milestone in his or her development, crawling, so now might be a good time to do another round of babyproofing of your home.

Take another look with your more mobile and active little one in mind. Maybe it’s time to install a baby gate, for example, or secure any furniture that could tip over.

How to Help Your Baby Learn to Roll Over

Babies learn by playing and exploring. What seems like a teaching moment to you will seem like a fun game to your little one. Treat play as an opportunity to encourage your child’s physical development.

Giving your baby daily, supervised tummy time is a great way to help build the strength and coordination needed for rolling over, sitting up, crawling and eventually walking.

Here are some tips for making tummy time both safe and fun:

  • Have a dedicated space for tummy time. A good place can be on a blanket spread out on the floor.

  • Do tummy time as often as you can while your baby’s awake and alert. Start by doing it for just a minute or two, then gradually increase the duration and frequency as your little one gets used to this activity.

  • Give it time. Some babies don’t take to tummy time straight away. If your little one is reluctant to spend time on his or her front, try lying him or her on your chest or lap. Sing and talk to your baby to keep your little one interested.

  • Hold an enticing object out in front of him or her. Encourage your baby to reach out – and eventually roll over – by holding a favourite toy or rattle just out of his or her reach.

  • Keep watch. Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time, and don’t let him or her play with any small toys or objects that could be a choking hazard.

Watch the video below for more on how to help your baby roll over:

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What to Do If Your Baby Doesn’t Roll Over

Your baby may reach certain milestones, like rolling over, sooner than others or may take a little extra time to master certain skills. This isn’t usually anything to worry about – every baby is an individual and develops at his or her own speed.

Your health visitor and doctor will be tracking your baby’s growth and development to make sure everything is progressing well.

If you're concerned that your baby still hasn't rolled over, or if you have any other questions about how your little one is doing, talk to your health visitor or doctor.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • At between 6 to 8 months, your baby may be able to roll over in both directions — from front to back, and from back to front. Babies develop at different rates though, so don’t worry if yours reaches this milestone a little later or earlier than this.
  • At 2 months old your baby is unlikely to have the strength to roll over yet.

    The strength and motor development needed for eventually rolling over often develops at around 5 months of age, or a bit later.
    Keep in mind, because you never know exactly when your baby will start rolling over, always keep a hand on your infant when he or she is on a high surface like the changing table.
  • Give your baby plenty of tummy time to build up the strength and coordination needed for rolling over.

    Holding a favourite toy or rattle just out of reach of your baby during tummy time can also encourage him or her to try and roll over to grab hold of it.
  • Start tummy time with short sessions of just a few minutes at a time. As your baby gets used to it, you can gradually increase the time and frequency.

    Always supervise your baby during tummy time, and never put your little one to sleep on his or her tummy.
  • Babies usually learn to roll over from their tummy onto their back first, and will still need help getting back onto their front initally.

    By around 8 months old most babies can roll both ways – front to back and back to front – with ease, but precisely when this happens can vary between babies.

Whether your baby seems about to master rolling over, or is still getting the hang of tummy time, playing with your baby not only helps with his or her physical development, it’s also a great way of bonding with your child.

Before you know it, your little one will be having a great time rolling around, crawling, getting up, walking and eventually running around your house or flat.

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS).
The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.