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Baby Milestone – Rolling Over
One of the most exciting moments you can witness when a baby is growing up – is when it learns how to roll over – all by herself. When my elder son was about 3 month old, he was so excited when he discovered that he could roll over from belly to back. That was one of the most memorable moments for me too. I feel watching a baby roll over for the first time is one of the cutest things one can ever witness.
So, when do babies learn to roll over? Well, usually around the age of 4 months, babies would try to show us that mobility, when they can turn from the belly to back and vice versa. If your baby can not roll over even after 4 months, do not panic. Any pediatrician will tell you that babies develop differently. By the age of 8 months, a healthy child will learn to roll over, and some babies may even attempt to crawl by that time. Let’s see how you can help your baby to do that.
Rolling is one of the first significant milestones in motor skills of a baby. Not only it is the first step in the development of postural control, but it is important because it involves a part of the brain responsible for the coordination and collaboration between the left and right sides of the body.
When babies start to roll?
When your baby gains head control (ability to hold her head) and can sit all alone on the bottom, supported by a pillow, she will soon learn to roll over, turning from tummy to back. She may use this skill to reach her favorite toy. Most babies would learn to roll perfectly by the age of 5 to 6 months, as they need ‘exercise’ to strengthen their neck and arm muscles. However, if your baby is little late in being able to roll over, do not worry. We should not compare them with children of the same age. Some children develop differently and may skip some stages.
How to develop the skill of rolling?
Around the age of 3 months, when you put the baby down, try to put her down sideways, so that she would use her shoulders and arms for support. This move helps her to strengthen her arms and helps her to roll over fast.
At about 5 months, your baby will probably be able to lift her head, push up with her arms and arch her back to lift the chest. Some babies will even sit on their belly, and move their arms and legs as if they are swimming. All these exercises helps them to develop the muscles needed to roll both ways, around the age of 6 months. Remember that premature babies may have difficulties in developing such skills.
Rolling will help babies to strengthen their legs, arms, neck and back muscles. After this stage, the baby will be ready to crawl and stand independently.
You can encourage and help your baby to roll by inventing games. For example, you can take your baby’s favorite toy in one hand and catch her attention by calling her. She will make efforts to roll gently towards you. If your baby tries that she deserves applause and smiles from you.
Rolling is nice, but it can be dangerous too. So take care to keep your hand on the baby if it is not on the floor. There is a possibility that baby may fall down from the bed or changing table and get seriously hurt.
Useful tips to help the baby roll
Try not to keep your baby in something that limits her movements for a long time – for example – car seats, baskets, swings etc.
Place the toys, books, pictures, mirrors etc. slightly away from the baby so that she will make efforts to get them.
Make sure during the day, the baby stays in all 4 position: belly, back, left, and right. This gives baby’s body exposure to all positions that are involved in rolling as she strengthens her arms, neck and trunk.