When Does a Baby Roll Over? Tips and Notes on How to Practice

Mom and baby

In the previous article, we talked about the signs when your baby starts turning over. Even if there’s a standard to check when your baby turns over, sometimes it doesn’t follow the timeline. 

In this section, we will discuss possible causes of a baby’s difficulty in turning over and how you can support your baby at home.

What kind of support should you provide?

Turning over is not something that can be accomplished by chance by repeating a series of random movements. It is accomplished by performing each movement in sequence: crossing the legs, twisting at the waist, and rotating the upper body with momentum.

The most difficult part of this sequence for the baby is the “upper body rotation”. In most cases, babies are able to cross their legs and twist their hips naturally, but many babies fail to roll over because their upper bodies do not rotate properly when they are just one step away from turning over.

Through repeated failed attempts to roll over, the muscles and nerves in the trunk are being strengthened. As a result, most children are able to roll over naturally.

Therefore, one idea is to let the baby do his/her best without adult support. However, if the baby is able to cross his/her legs and twist at the waist, there is a good chance that he/she will be able to roll over in no time once he/she gets the hang of rotating his/her upper body.

If you want to encourage that “one more step,” gently hold the crossed legs and twisted hips as you rotate the back. This may help the baby learn the trick of turning over, and he or she may be able to roll over smoothly.

It is also a good idea to support the baby’s turning over in a fun way by incorporating toys and games that the baby enjoys, such as “Peek-a-boo”.

Creating an environment conducive to turning over

Babies grow at different rates, and the timing of when they begin to roll over is no exception. Some families may repeat the practice every day, saying, “Once the baby’s head is held up, the next step is to roll over!” However, it is not recommended to practice without regard to the baby’s own timing.

Forcing the baby to turn or lie on his/her back when he/she has no intention of doing so may make him/her feel fearful and turn into a “turn-phobic” baby. Basically, there is no need to force your baby to practice turning until he or she is ready to acquire it.

However, the reason why babies do not begin to roll over easily is not only due to timing. The following environmental factors may be preventing your baby from turning over.

If you are concerned about your baby’s reluctance to roll over, first check to see if the environment is suitable for turning over.

  • The baby is in a small crib, for example, and there is not enough space to move around.
  • Clothing does not fit the baby’s size, and the baby is not able to move around as much as expected.
  • The floor or bedding is too soft and the body tends to sink down.

What to watch out for when your baby starts to roll over

When a baby is able to roll over, his or her range of activities expands and he or she is also able to see things that were previously out of sight. This will increase the baby’s mobility and curiosity.

On the other hand, accidents such as accidental ingestion, falls, and trauma are more likely to occur during this period.

As soon as they start practicing turning over by twisting their hips and upper body widely, they may soon be able to do so, so it is necessary to secure their safety accordingly. For example, “avoid placing objects nearby that can go into the mouth,” put guards on the corners of hard furniture,” and “install electrical outlet covers.

Also, be especially careful about falling out of cribs and other places during this period. Be sure to raise the fence when placing your baby in a crib, and keep an eye on your baby when placing him or her on a sofa or chair.


The timing of when a baby begins to roll over is one of the most individualized aspects of the baby’s motor development process. The pace is different for each baby, so it is important to take care of the timing when he or she thinks, “I want to roll over!”

As long as your baby is growing steadily and no abnormalities in development are noted at the 3-month checkup or during immunizations, it is unlikely that there is a developmental problem even if your baby is slow in turning over. Watch over your baby’s pace and support him or her gently from time to time, and look forward to the day when he or she can successfully roll over.

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