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Before baby crawls or walks, they learn to roll!

Rolling over is a 4-6 month milestone, and an encouraging sign baby’s core strength is developing. Rolling helps with head and trunk strength, weight shifting, and core strength, which are all really important for gross motor development!

Is baby having a hard time getting the hang of rolling? Maybe they’re partially getting there but not completing the roll, or maybe they just don’t seem interested in rolling at all. Baby may even be rolling in one direction (it is typical for baby to roll from belly to back first) but not the other. All of these are ok! Some little ones just need a little more encouragement or support to roll over. Here’s how you can get your baby “on a roll”!

Remember: when baby starts to show signs of rolling, it’s time to stop swaddling! This may even be as early as 2 months.

First, what are the signs baby is ready to roll? Here are some things to look for:

Six-months-old-baby-boy-in-a-striped-purple-baby-jumper-rolling-around-the-floor-with-a-smile

  • Baby is lifting their head while laying
  • Baby is reaching for toys while on tummy
  • Any sign that neck muscles are getting stronger

Here are some tips to encourage rolling:

  • Keep up with Tummy Time. This exercise helps to strengthen neck and core. It also gives baby time to try rolling, because they are in the right position. Tummy time is also a great position for baby to start practicing weight shifting which is needed to roll. If baby gets the hang of rolling in Tummy Time but then won’t stop rolling over, here are some tips.
  • Encourage baby to reach for toys while they are on their tummy. This will help them learn to shift their weight since they have to shift to one side in order to reach.
  • Use a toy or a sound to get baby to turn their head. Where the head goes, the body will usually follow. Use toy or music and have baby turn their head. If using a toy, start with the toy in baby’s field of vision and then move it out. Move the toy in the direction you want them to roll.
  • Try initiating the roll. While baby is on their back, start by tipping baby towards one side, and then see if baby can finish the roll. Increase the amount of motion they are doing as they get better. You can try pulling baby over using their legs. Watch below to see how it’s done!

  • Lay baby on a wedge. Using a wedge helps baby start in a partial roll. You can also use a blanket to give baby a little assistance.
  • Try rocking baby’s hips while on their back. This helps them learn how to shift weight, a key part of rolling. With this encouragement, they may learn to complete the motion.
  • Verbal encouragement always helps! Praise baby when they make any progress toward rolling by clapping, smiling, and cheering.

If baby needs any additional help with rolling, ask your healthcare provider for tips.