When do babies start to roll?

Written by Louise Grey

With a newborn baby herself, Louise has been reviewing products on the baby market for a number of years and prides herself on a unique take on every product she reviews!

Last Updated 06/23/2020

Birth, sit up, roll over, crawl and first words. These are some of the most cherished moments that any parent will experience, and milestones that they certainly won’t forget as they’re baby grows old. But these milestones are so significant that when they are delayed even by the slights of margins, some parents may even begin to grow a little bit concerned for their baby.

If your baby is say, three months old and doesn’t seem to show any affection for tummy time, and isn’t showing at signs of movement on its own when it is laid down; then you might become rather concerned. Maybe some of your friends or family will ask if your child has begun to roll over. So you frantically Google it, perhaps wondering if your baby is healthy or if there is something wrong.

Or perhaps, on the other hand, you have already seen your precious baby roll. After endless early mornings, late nights and an abundance of nappy changes you have finally seen it begin to move on its own; and you’re interested in finding out a little bit more about the significance of this milestone.

Either way, if you’re still counting down the days until your first roll or your child simply can’t get enough of it, then this guide is for you.


So when do babies begin to roll over?

Generally, between the age of 3-4 months, you will notice that your child can roll ever so slightly, usually just from their neck onto their side. A little while after this and often a month or so later, you will observe that your child can roll over completely, from their stomach onto their back. Typically, babies will roll from their front onto their back, yet you might have to wait a few weeks longer before you see you little child roll from their back onto their stomach.

Perhaps your baby is an early roller! You might see your baby rolling before four months, or you might see them going from their back onto their stomach before they master going from front to back.

Of course, like every milestone that a bay goes through, there will be some variance in when your baby first begins to roll. However, if your child is more than seven months old and has yet shown an interest in sitting up, then you may want to check with your paediatrician.

Keep in mind that whenever your baby rolls over, it will be a huge surprise to your baby and you, as well! Don’t be concerned if your little one begins to cry out of shock in accomplishing a new skill. You might even want to keep your camera or phone at the ready so that you can share this moment with your extended family.


How exactly do babies learn to roll over?

To allow them to fully rollover, your baby must have: a) the neck and head strength to gain sufficient control over their muscles and b) have enough space and time to be able to move about freely. To help this, you can offer your child sufficient amounts of tummy time.

For those of you who aren’t aware, tummy time essentially placing your infant on its stomach. Generally on a blanket or spread out across the floor. As you could imagine, it’s best to avoid tummy time on elevated surfaces in case your child slips or falls off. This kind of tummy time should happen several time in a day and offer a much better opportunity to engage with your child.

Now, after trying this for yourself, you will quickly learn that some babies cope with it much better than others. The solution to this to get creative with ways to make it more comfortable for them. You could offer them black and white pictures to look at or show them other toys – perhaps even changing them throughout the session.

If your child doesn’t like tummy time, then you can do it much more often to help it build sufficient strength and tolerance for the future.


How to make sure your baby is rolling safely

Once your baby can roll over for the first time, it almost seems to get a little confidence boost, and sets its sights on new challenges. Of course, as we all know, new challenges mean new dangers. If you are a parent yourself, you will know that when changing your child in an elevated surface, you should always keep one hand in them, yet when they can roll, it is an absolute necessity!

Even when they are placed on the floor, always keep a hand on your child so as they don’t end up rolling into places which they aren’t supposed to go. This is also a good sign to begin childproofing throughout your home. Pay attention to childproofing where your child falls asleep, for example, if there are any blankets, pillows and toys that may cause suffocation; they should be removed.

Once your child begins to roll, it isn’t uncommon to see them struggling to sleep. They may entertain themselves at night by going around in their crib, or they might wake up in the night after they turn themselves into a position that is uncomfortable and don’t quite have the skills to work themselves back into a place they can sleep in.

Luckily this will only really last for a few weeks and is typically resolved by placing the baby onto their back and providing shushing noises.

In addition to all of the advice above, make sure to take the time to enjoy your child’s first rolling session. Of course, take the time to prepare sufficiently, but make sure to enjoy this memorable moment in your child’s development.