Baby Milestone: Rolling Over

November 24, 2018

Every new trick your baby learns is an exciting milestone, and flipping over is no different.
This skill often develops around 4 months old, but can happen even earlier. Here’s how it
happens, how to help and what to know.

How it begins.

Most infants turn from tummy to back first. That requires less neck and back strength than
flipping from back to tummy, which could take another month or two. However, your baby
may not like rolling over at first, says Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., a pediatrician in Seattle.
“Many babies surprise themselves when they first roll over and may even cry.”

Aim for 30 minutes of tummy time daily.

Keep putting her on her tummy, even if she cries. “Frequent tummy time is the best thing
you can do to give her the skills, the strength and the confidence to roll over,”
says Swanson. Begin at birth! A few times each day, give your newborn one to two minutes of belly-down time on your chest or lap.

When she’s 3 months old, start to prop her up on her forearms with her arms bent during
tummy time so it will be easier for her to push off. Or put a pillow, prop or a rolled-up towel
on one side that she can push her body against.

Tempt her to turn over by lying alongside her or putting a brightly colored toy at eye level on her left or right so that it’s just out of reach.

Put safety first.

Keep a hand on your baby whenever he’s on an elevated surface such as a bed or a
changing table, and always use the safety strap—even when he’s a newborn. Believe it or
not, infants can roll as early as 1 or 2 weeks!

Make sure your baby can’t flip his way into trouble. Avoid floor time in rooms that have stairs unless they are gated. Move any potentially dangerous objects out of his reach.

Don’t leave him alone with your dog or cat, even if they’re pals. Warns Swanson, “If your
little one happens to roll over onto the animal, the pet could react by sitting on or swatting at the baby.”

What to watch for.

You’ll know your pumpkin is getting ready to roll when you see him pushing up on his hands during tummy time, Swanson notes. Other signs to watch for: he may lift a hand in the air while pushing up off his belly or move a leg across his body while lying on his back.

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