Getting Started with Tummy TimeYou’ll want to start by laying baby on their tummy while they are awake and supervising closely. At first, they may not like this position very much and will let you know by crying or fussing. Stick with short periods to begin with, just a few minutes, and try distracting them with toys positioned just out of reach so they have to lift their head to see what’s making the noise. Over time, they’ll get used to being on their tummy. Make sure the surface is firm but comfortable. A clear blanket or play mat works well. Too soft a surface like a couch or bed makes it harder for them to get the leverage needed to roll over. Provide ample space so they don’t feel trapped and can start to rock from side to side. Avoid putting them directly on the floor at first in case they bonk their head learning. Help motivate that first roll by gently holding their hands just above their head and encouraging them to lift up while on their forearms. Praise enthusiastically when they make any little movements towards rolling. You can also try placing a favorite toy just past their reach on the other side so they’re internally motivated to turn over. Be sure not to force or pull them into the position.
Building Core Strength with ExercisesHere are some exercises you can do daily with baby to build core strength:
|Exercise||How to do it|
|Tummy Time Pushups||Place hands flat on either side of baby and have them gently push up while you provide counter-pressure with your hands.|
|Leg Lifts||Hold their ankles and lift legs a few inches off the floor, repeating several times.|
|Arm Raises||Keeping their torso stable, raise arms upwards and back down several times.|
Transitioning to Back-to-Tummy RollsOnce baby has the hang of rolling front to back, focus on helping them move in the opposite direction too. Start by laying them on their back and scooting just out of reach so they’re motivated to roll towards you for cuddles. Gently ease them towards their side by holding below their ribcage and supporting their head. With a light roll, they should tilt onto their tummy. Be sure to continue encouraging both directions of rolling equally so they develop strength and confidence on both sides.
Fun Activities for Encouraging RollingYou can try a few other fun activities to energetically encourage rolling:
- Roll a ball just past their reach while on their tummy so they have to lift up to see where it went.
- Lay them on their back with a favorite doll or stuffed animal an inch past their fingertips. Again, they’ll want to turn themselves over to grab the toy.
- Place mirrors, mobiles, or contrasting colored toys above them when on their back so they lift their head up curiously.
- Roll up small blankets for them to grab onto and pull themselves along as they rock from side to side.
- Play upbeat music and excitedly clap, chant, or sing as they roll to associate it with fun and games.
A Word of Patience and Professional GuidanceRemember to stay patient. Every baby develops at their own pace. If concerned, chat to their pediatrician. The average age for rolling front to back is around 5 months, with back to front usually following 1-2 months after. But there’s wide variation and rolling skills will come with more practice. Focus on building core strength through “tummy time” even if they’re not rolling just yet. You’ve got this!
Is Helping a Baby Roll from Tummy to Back a Step towards Helping Them Sit Up on Their Own?
Helping babies sit up starts with assisting them in rolling from their tummy to their back. This preliminary skill strengthens their core and neck muscles, developing the necessary strength to eventually sit up independently. It is a gradual process that lays the foundation for their overall physical development.
How To Help Baby Roll From Tummy To Back – Common Questions:When should rolling be achieved? Most average 5 months front to back, 6-7 months back to front. Normal range is 4-6 months each way.
How much tummy time?Start with just a few minutes several times daily, building up to 30 minutes total spread over waking periods.
When to see a doctor?If not front to back by 6 months or back to front by 9 months, chat to pediatrician to check for delays.
What if they hate tummy time?Go slowly, distract with toys/songs, and keep sessions upbeat and positive. They’ll get used to it.
Should I force them?Never force or pull baby into position. Encourage gently and follow their lead, going at their pace. Rolling should be self-motivated. For more helpful parenting tips and advice, explore additional articles in our Baby Stories and Creating a Safe and Stimulating Environment for Babies sections.
- NHS – Baby Development The National Health Service provides information on various aspects of baby development, including milestones like rolling over.
- Healthline – How to Help Baby Roll Over Healthline offers a comprehensive guide on helping babies roll over, including step-by-step instructions and tips.
- BabyCentre UK – Baby Milestones: Rolling BabyCentre UK provides insights into baby milestones, including rolling over, along with expert advice and community discussions.
- NCT – Encouraging Baby to Roll Over The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) offers guidance on how to encourage and support your baby’s rolling-over skills.
- Netmums – Baby Development: Rolling Over Netmums provides information and advice on baby development milestones, including rolling over, as well as tips from other parents.
- Raising Children – Helping Baby Learn to Roll Raising Children Network offers information on baby motor skills development and tips for helping babies learn to roll.
- Baby Sensory – Tummy Time and Rolling Baby Sensory provides insights into the importance of tummy time and offers suggestions for helping babies develop rolling skills.
- The Sleep Store – Rolling Over and Sleep The Sleep Store offers advice on how rolling over can impact baby sleep and tips for maintaining safe sleep practices.