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Help your baby learn to roll!

3 months

Rolling is one of baby’s first significant motor milestones. 

Not only is rolling the first step in developing postural control (important for later development of fine motor skills such as handwriting), it is also important because it engages a part of the brain responsible for making the left and right sides of the body “talk” to and coordinate with each other (important for reading, writing, and developing higher motor skills). Cool, huh…or am I the only nerd in the room?

Some babies are ready to roll from the get-go, while others take their time. On average, babies tend to first roll from tummy to back between 2-5 months, from back to side between 4-5.5 months, and from back to tummy between 5.5-7.5 months. Regardless of whether babies take the fast or slow road to rolling, their bodies begin preparing to roll wayyyyyy before they ever flip themselves over that very first time. And, guess what? YOU get to be a part of that preparation! 

Set down and pick up baby while shifting their weight to the side in a rolling motion. You can start this one as soon as baby is born and it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine. You can do this with every diaper change and sleep session which means, for a newborn, it can add up to 20 or more times a day. That’s a lot of practice!

Here’s how you do it: Sit baby on their bottom and roll him over to the side while setting him down. He will automatically try to keep their head from falling out of line with theirbody (a reflex with which babies are born), strengthening the muscles on the sides of their neck. This move also allows him to practice pushing against the floor with the arm on the way down. Simply reverse this motion when it’s time to pick baby up. Be sure to practice rolling baby to both sides throughout the day…we don’t want a baby who only moves to one side! 

Allow baby plenty of tummy time during the day. All of a baby’s major motor skills develop from the tummy time position, which is why it’s so important for babies to practice being on their tummy. Time spent on the tummy helps babies strengthen their neck and back muscles necessary for arching against gravity and, eventually, rolling. In general, babies fully lift their head off the floor during tummy time by 2 months, hold their chest off the floor during tummy time between 2-4 months, and bear weight on their hands while on their tummy between 4-6 months. 

Allow baby to play on her back while helping her move through “rounded” positions.
 Playtime on the back is just as important as tummy time, especially when baby has the opportunity to move into and out of a rounded or “tucked” position. We want babies to develop a good balance of extension (that “arching” position, learned in tummy time) and flexion (that “tucked” position, learned in playtime on the back) as they grow and learn new motor skills; we don’t want one position overpowering the other. This rounded position is easy to achieve because most young babies prefer to be on their back, plus it allows caregivers to easily interact with and entertain them. 

Allow baby to play on their side.
 You can use toys, mirrors, books, or the most exciting toy — your face! — to engage him in the side lying position. He may need help staying on their side when he’s younger, and this can easily be done with your hand, foot. As he becomes more comfortable on their side, place desired toys or objects just out of their reach. He will begin to cross their top leg over to the floor aaaaand…wa-la!…this is how he will initiate the roll to their tummy!

Make photo of your baby rolling and upload to the App! Write briefly about how your baby were learning to roll and what toys you used.

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