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When Do Infants Roll Over? A Gross Motor Skill

When Do Infants Roll Over? A Gross Motor Skill

Rolling over is the job of large muscles. When do infants roll over? A three-month-old infant starts laying on his belly. He tries to lift his head and shoulders off the floor. This is an initial struggle for rolling over. Typically 4-5-month-old infant starts rolling over, still it depends upon the maturity of large muscles.

In this blog, we will discuss the exact time of an infant to roll over. Factors that can influence roll over will also be part of the discussion. Finally, some important tips would be elaborated which will help to teach an infant rolling over.

When Do Infants Roll Over?

The first 2 years after birth represent an important time in terms of development. This is the time when parents can easily track developmental milestones. An infant shows so many physical changes and grows at a very fast pace. It is a very enjoyable era, as the baby learns something new every day. In this duration, a baby experiences physical and motor development. The most frequent question of this era is when do infants roll over?

This article will provide comprehensive answers about this FAQ. Having a baby is a splendid blessing and rearing him gives you a new experience every day. Most of the parents remain worried about the development and health of the baby. They want their baby to be strong and healthy. They want to track the developmental milestone of their baby. This is because there are some estimated milestones. Parents can compare their infant’s growth with average growth.

Tummy time is considered the base for learning roll over. When your baby starts laying on his tummy and enjoys it, it is called tummy time. An infant can stretch and strengthen his neck and head muscles by tummy time. He also involves shoulder and back muscles. It will help an infant to mature his balance, sensory perception, visual and problem-solving skills. 30 minutes of tummy time, throughout the day, are enough for an infant.

A baby is enjoying tummy to explore when do infants roll over
A baby is enjoying tummy time.

During tummy time, an infant strengthens his muscles to roll over. You have to place your baby on his tummy with supervision. This is important if you want to know when do infants roll over? Normally, a 4-months old infant starts to roll over. Roll over helps him to rock himself back and forth. First babies learn to roll from tummy to back. Then they start rolling over from back to tummy. A six-month-old infant can easily roll over on both sides.

Why roll over is so important for an infant?

  • It strengthens his muscles.
  • Provides power to learn other movements like pulling himself.
  • Helps to develop important skills such as balance, sensory perception, visual and problem-solving skills.
  • Provides the basis for crawling and sitting.
  • It is an onset to explore their world.
  • Sleep time will be more comfortable.
  • Assures baby’s normal development.

Signs from Infant to Start Roll Over

An infant does not have enough control over his head and other motor skills. So, it needs a lot of practice and coordination to manage to roll over. Sometimes, a baby accidentally rolls over and becomes afraid so adult supervision is necessary during practice time. With practice and patience, strength grows in the baby, and he can show some cues to start roll over.

This is an important aspect to answer the FAQ When do infants roll over? It is satisfying to watch the baby struggling and moving towards rolling over. Parents can calm down and assure that the baby is developing normally through following actions:

  • during tummy time lifting his head and shoulders
  • forcing the body to turn at one side
  • struggling to roll on shoulders
  • excessive leg movement, such as they are cycling
  • rolling hips side to side
  • using feet and legs to lift his hips
  • during tummy time leg movement like he is climbing mountain

Factors that Can Influence Roll Over

Every child is different from the other. Some kids achieve developmental milestones early and some do it late. This is what we call individual differences. Still, if your baby has not started to roll till the 5th month then this is an alert call. You have to focus on your baby and find out which factors are hindering him to roll over.

Gross Motor Skill

Motor skills are those skills in which we move our muscles and perform a particular task. There are two types of motor skills Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills. When an infant uses large muscles and performs some tasks that are known as gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are rolling, sitting, running, etc.

An infant also uses smaller muscles to perform some tasks such as holding things, writing, painting, and eating. That is known as fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are considered more mature than gross motor skills in motor development. Roll over is a task in which large muscles cooperate, so it is a gross motor skill.

If an infant is late in rolling over then his large muscles can be weak. And his muscles are developing slowly. Therefore, you have to pay extra attention, you have to give your baby a regular massage. Especially you have to do leg massage once or twice a day. You have to help your infant in exercise, stretch his legs slowly, and then bend it back.

Adult’s Support and Supervision

Some infants are so reserved and afraid to try new things. They need adults’ supervision. Therefore, parents especially mothers have to stay around with the kids. They should put the baby on his tummy and help him to practice to roll over. It will benefit in two ways. Firstly. the infant feels safe when the mother is around. He will gain the confidence to do new things, grow, and flourish. Secondly, he will learn to roll over quickly when his mother will help him.

If you are a working mom and could not spend much time with the baby, then hire a babysitter. Also, you can admit your baby to a daycare center, such centers have trained babysitters. There your infant can get a proper amount of attention and can practice to roll over.

Premature Birth

Sometimes babies whose birth is premature remain slow in development. They gain weight slowly and achieve the rest of the milestones slowly. No need to worry about it, but still keep on struggling with your baby. Give him a proper massage, food, quality time attention, and supervise him during tummy time.

Proper Diet

If your baby is late to roll over then also check his food intake. Might be the quantity of milk you are giving is less for him and he needs more. Also, check the nutritional factors of his diet. Because muscles need proper nutrition to grow. You can also consult a nutritionist to get an estimation about a proper diet plan for him. You have to also check his sleep patterns. This will also help to find the answer to when do infants roll over?

Experts tell that muscles grow when the baby gets a complete and comfortable sleep. Check if your baby is not getting proper sleep and if his crib is fine? The infant faces difficulties while sleeping if the sleep environment is not according to his comfort. You have to observe everything closely to eradicate all the irritating factors. Because a normal and healthy infant needs a sound sleep of at least 12 to 15 hours.

Some Other Factors

Some infant seems healthy, their diet is proper and adequate still they do not show any sign to roll over. Parents of such kids become worried when do infants roll over? They must see the doctor and talk about it. Researchers have reported that some babies do not roll over due to obesity. A certain type of body fat covered the muscles of the baby and does not let him roll over.

Tips For Parents to Teach Roll over

The first significant step towards the motor milestones is to roll over. Rolling over elaborates that the future motor skill will also be fine. It is not only the initial step in the development but also depicts the normal working of the brain. Because it involves a part of the brain named the corpus callosum to make a baby roll over.

The corpus callosum basically performs the primary role in communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. It also plays a vital role in continuous bimanual movements. Such as to roll over, clapping, typing, etc. There are a few tips that can help parents to make their baby roll over.

Asist your baby in shifting from one side to other

This is very easy, just like an adult turn from one to another while laying. All you have to do is to sit down with your baby and let him play while laying. After a few minutes, you have to assist your baby to take a turn. This process will give the confidence to baby that he can move his body. And he will struggle more to start roll over.

baby is trying to turn to show when do infants roll over
A baby is trying to roll over.

Leave him on the floor

If you are waiting to see when do infants roll over? Then minimize the time to place your baby in the crib or bouncer. Leave him on the floor or in an open place. In a clear open place, he will struggle to explore the things, he will try to move more and more. You can place his toy bridge or the other interesting toys around him. He will use his muscles more to approach his favorite toys. Ultimately, he will learn to roll over.

Tummy time

If you want your baby to become independent in the movement increase tummy time. In the earlier portion of this article, we have discussed the benefits of tummy time. It increases the chances of an infant rolling over quickly. Still, supervised tummy time is so important to teach roll over. Because sometimes baby gets tired and could not roll himself.

He starts crying and can hurt his mouth, chin, or head. So, if an adult remains around he can quickly help the infant to turn back. Moreover, you can use different kinds of lounger pillows. These pillows hold your baby safely and he enjoys easy back and tummy time.

Plan side play

Put some toys at one side of the baby, he will definitely turn to them. This will strengthen his muscle. And his muscles will start to bear his body load aside. Once the baby learns and enjoys side play, he will move to the next step mean to roll over.

Give a regular massage

It is very important to give regular massage to your baby. It relaxes the baby and gives power to the muscles to grow. You can massage your baby with any quality oil. Still, olive oil and mustard oil are so beneficial for the muscles to grow. After the massage, a baby sleeps well, and complete sleep helps the muscles grow faster.


The conclusion is that roll over is not the end, it is an initial step towards crawling, sitting, and walking. It not only depicts the normality of gross motor skills but also a healthy working of the brain. After reading this article one can easily understand when do infants roll over? Which factors can become hurdles in way of rolling over? And how can we teach our infants to roll over? This article will help not only new moms but will also help the babysitters to spend quality time with infants.

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About The Author

Qurratulain Nabeel

This is QURRATULAIN - an M.Phil in Applied Psychology. Being a mother of two I tried to put my knowledge into practice, which proved very beneficial for me. By using the platform of I am so pleased to share my experience with people all around the world.

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