Tips + Tricks: Rolling Belly to Back

Rolling is one of the first big milestones that your little baby achieves. Some babies roll early, some roll late. Every baby is on their own timeline. When should you expect this to happen?

  1. Around 3-4 months old: rolling from their tummy to their back

So what does it take for your little one to roll from their tummy to their back?

  1. Tuck their arms under their body when on their belly and look side-to-side
  2. Push up onto arms and shift their weight to one side
  3. Turn their head and move their hips

If your little one is struggling to roll over, it's usually because one of those three tasks is hard for them to do. If you figure out which one that is, you can work on it! Below are a few activities you can do to get your little babe rolling over.

  1. Practice, practice, practice tummy time! If this is hard, place them over your leg or a boppy pillow. They should bring their arms underneath their chest-- this helps them push their heads up to look around. While in this position, dangle a toy around eye level and move it side-to-side so they have to turn their head right and left to strengthen neck muscles. Move the toy up as far as they can to strengthen their arm and back muscles.
  2. Weight shifting. After they have good head control and can push up onto their arms, they should be able to start weight shifting. This means that they can put their weight through one arm while attempting to reach with the other. To help teach them this, sit behind them on the floor with them still laying on their tummy. Place your thumbs over their shoulder blades and your fingers around their upper arm. Gently rock them side-to-side. To make this harder, take one hand off and have them reach towards a toy.
  3. Back it up. This last step is usually the scariest for your little one-- when they go from being on their side to laying on their back! To help them with this last piece, they need good head control and core strength. Increase head control by having them look right/left and up/down while laying on their side. Increase core strength by doing baby wheelbarrows! Remember elementary school P.E. class when your friend would hold your legs up and you would race to the end of the gym with just your arms? The baby version of this is to have their belly on your lap with their hands the floor. To make it harder, place their hips or their legs on your lap instead of their belly-- the further out they go, the harder it is.

Working on these few activities for 20 minutes a day can help strengthen their little bodies and provide them with the confidence to roll on over! If you've tried it all or need some extra help, give Sidekick a call to set up a visit with one of the physical or occupational therapists. We're here to help!

-Dr. Cheyenne Allen, PT, DPT