Major Developmental Milestones in your Baby’s First Year: Part 3 – Rolling

When your baby is between three and six months old she’ll probably show signs of being ready to roll.  This is the first major physical developmental milestone so parents get very excited, and often worried, about it.  And it’s the first time your baby will be mobile – the beginning of a lifetime of movement.   Today we’re helping you get your baby ready to rock and roll as part 3 of our series on major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year.

The more time your baby spends on her tummy, back and sides, the better shot she has of rolling.  These positions all contribute to the strength she will need to first roll from tummy to back and then roll from her back to her tummy, which is the order in which most babies roll.  Spending too much idle time in baby chairs and swings won’t give babies the experiences they need to learn to roll.

major developmental milestonesTo prepare your baby for rolling, work on pre-rolling skills.  When you put your baby down on the changing table, in the crib or on a play area, twist her body in a rolling motion.  She’ll have to keep her head in line with her body and will become familiar with this rolling movement.  When you pick up your baby, reverse the motion.  Also encourage your baby to bend her knees towards her chest in a tucked “happy baby” pose.  You can carry or wear your baby tucked or in a side-laying position too.

When its time for execution of the move, allow your baby many opportunities a day to practice.  This means lots of tummy time, back play and side lying so she can start to use her strength and skills for the greater good of mobility.  You should aim for at least one session before and after naps.  Like anything else in life, you usually don’t succeed without a lot of practice!

Entice her movement with toys or other fun objects that she may want to get her hands on.  Move the object around to her side and the upward until she starts to reach and possibly get into a rolling ready position.  If she loses interest, start over by showing her the item and moving it again, just out of reach.  Often babies get stuck when they try to roll at first so help your baby get over the hump and then give her lots of praise for completing the roll.  Also, let her have the toy she wanted to show her that rolling yields rewards.

Once your baby learns to roll, she will realize that things she wants to get her hands on are actually attainable for her.  This is a major discovery in her life and is the budding encouragement she’ll need to crawl and walk one day.

Next week we’ll start talking about sitting up, crawling, standing and walking as major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year.

Sources:  MamaOT and Starfish Therapy