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Rebecca Chicot PhD
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Child development expert with a Phd from Cambridge University. She has worked on several best-selling books and BBC documentaries. She is the proud mother of three children.
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Physical development

When will my baby roll over?

Rolling over is a skill that requires significant strength, muscle control and coordination. By around 5 months, most babies can roll over one way. As they become more coordinated and stronger babies roll over in both directions and there are games you can play to encourage them along.
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In Short
Some babies can roll over from 3 months and most can roll over by 5 months.

Babies need lots of tummy time to help develop the skill and strength to roll over. Encourage your baby to roll over by placing a favourite toy just out of reach on one side.

When will my baby roll over?

At first, rolling over is a huge and tiring task for your baby. They usually start by trying to roll from their tummy to their back as they can use their arms and legs as leverage to flip over. It requires lots of strength in the neck, back and arms, and legs as well as coordinating movement on the right and left-hand side of their bodies. Babies also have relatively huge and heavy heads and relatively weak limbs (compared to children and adults) which make it even more challenging.

Should I be worried if my baby isn’t rolling over by 5 months?

Babies all develop at different rates. If your baby can’t roll over by the age of about 5 months, it might just mean that she’s a little slower in developing this skill. Babies do vary enormously in their development. Try to give your baby lots of time on her tummy so she can develop her back strength. Just like sitting at a desk all day is bad for us, sitting in a pram or worse a car seat for long stretches of time isn’t recommended. It’s always worth having things checked over by your doctor (maybe at their 6-month check if your GP does one) if your baby isn’t reaching developmental milestones – just to rule out any rare instances where the delay signals a problem.

Remember too that premature babies will develop more slowly and it’s a good idea to take their due date, rather than actual birth date, as the start date of measuring time.

Do I have to be more careful with my baby when she can roll over?

In a word, Yes! As soon as your baby can roll over she can move big distances quickly – that can mean rolling off a bed, rolling into a fireplace etc. You need to plan ahead because your baby may roll over as early as 3 months. So, from this age, it’s safer to change your baby on the floor and never leave her unattended even in the middle of a double bed. Babies often seem to save this new skill for when you are not looking and a fall from a changing table could be really serious. It’s really not safe to leave your baby unattended on anything that they can roll off even for a moment. From the outset, The Child Accident Protection Trust say it’s safest to get into the habit of changing her nappy or diaper on the floor.

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Does rolling over mean my baby’s about to walk?

Once your baby can roll over it means her muscles are getting stronger and her coordination is developing. This means she’s closer to crawling, cruising and toddling! Rolling over is very exciting for your baby since it’s the first time she can locomote themselves independently.

Do babies roll from back to front or front to back first?

Babies generally roll from their tummy onto their backs before they can roll from their back onto their tummy as it requires less strength and fewer muscles and they can use their arms and legs more easily. However, some babies learn the back to front roll first.

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.