Rolling is such a big milestone for babies! It is really your baby’s first ability to change the position of her body on her own.
A baby begins to roll typically between 3 and 6 months of age.
Other physical development skills to master during the first 6 months of life include: head control, reaching, bringing hands together, and bringing hands to feet. Your baby will not be very mobile for these first few months of life, but she will be working hard to build up her strength, balance, and coordination for future movement!
To learn more about early physical development, check out this post!
A great beginning step to teaching your baby how to roll, is by practicing the side lying to back transitions first. This position will also help her with bringing her hands together, which is another important developmental skill.
1. Start with your baby lying on her side.
2. Hold a captivating object about 12 inches in front of her.
3. Slowly guide the object up towards the ceiling. Your baby should also turn her head towards the ceiling to keep track of the object.
4. Next, encourage your baby to reach towards the object, so that her top arm is extended towards the ceiling.
Your baby may roll to her back on her own from this position.
5. If not, slowly guide the object back down towards the floor on the opposite side, so that your baby turns her head away from the side she was lying on.
6. Encourage your baby to reach towards the object, so that her back in now on the floor.
Your baby may be completely on her back in this position.
7. Otherwise you can guide her top leg and hip backwards towards the floor.
ROLLING BELLY TO BACK
Once your baby has mastered the transition from side lying to back, you can initiate the above activity with your baby starting on her belly.
1. Start with your baby lying on her belly.
2. Guide the captivating object from in front of your baby, to one side, then up towards the ceiling. Your baby should turn her head in the direction of the toy to keep track of it.
3. Next, encourage your baby to reach towards the object, so that her arm is extended towards the ceiling.
She may roll onto her side or maybe even her back at this point.
4. If not, slowly guide the object back down towards the floor on the opposite side, so that your baby turns her head away from the side she was lying on.
5. Encourage your baby to reach towards the object, so that her back in now on the floor.
She may be completely on her back in this position.
6. Otherwise you can guide her top leg and hip backwards towards the floor.
ROLLING BACK TO BELLY
Once your baby starts to roll from back to belly, it is definitely time to ditch the swaddle. If this totally freaks you out, check out this post for easy steps to transition away from the swaddle, without losing too much sleep!
We also loved this transition swaddle suit when we gradually started transitioning my daughter out of the swaddle. The reason we loved it so much was because my daughter kept sleeping, and so did we!
To practice rolling from back to belly, your first step will be to help your baby transition from back to sidelying.
1. Start with your baby lying on her back.
2. You can again use a captivating object starting about a foot in front of your baby’s face. Slowly guide the object towards one side of your baby to help her turn her head in that direction.
3. Next, encourage and guide your baby to reach for the object with BOTH hands to one side of her body.
Your baby may roll to her side on her own at this point.
4. If not, help the opposite leg and hip come away from the floor so your baby is on her side.
Your baby should now be rolled on her side with the captivating object in front of her face, with her arms extended towards the object.
5. Next, guide the captivating object from in front of your baby’s face in an arc towards the top of her head, keeping the object close to the floor. Your baby should extend her neck to look towards the toy.
6. Encourage your baby to reach arms up overhead towards the object.
She may roll onto her belly from here.
7. If she still needs a little help, guide her top hip and leg forward towards the floor.
Another way to help your baby learn to roll, is by placing your baby on a wedge pillow or foam wedge so that one side of her body is higher than the other half of her body. This can be used for belly to back or back to belly rolling.
Rolling on a slanted surface will be easier than rolling on a flat surface. You can use the same steps mentioned above and you can use side lying as an intermediate step.
I hope you enjoy trying any of the above rolling tips with your baby! These strategies can be great for eager to roll babies, as well as their parents!
It might take some practice, but your baby will learn to roll in time!
Babies are genetically designed to work towards gross motor milestones when given the opportunity to move their bodies. Typically developing babies will practice mobility skills and reach milestones with or without our facilitation, when they are in the right environment.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your baby is to give her lots of tummy time sessions and lots of free time on the floor to explore her body and her world!