Rockin' and Rollin'
Now that your baby has control over his neck muscles, he’s starting to develop his six-pack abs (or his torso). Babies typically don’t like to be on their tummies, and once he’s able, your child will probably begin to rock a bit during tummy time, eventually leading to a surprise flip onto his back. Think of the joy your baby must feel at making such a big change himself—he’s no longer enduring tummy time, he sees a whole different environment, mommy is upside down—and he did it!
This flipping from front to back is just the beginning of your baby’s ability to go places. Once he learns to roll from back to tummy, at about six months, you can expect him to really get moving—even if it means barrel-rolling through the house! To help him master the front-to-back roll, turn tummy time into playtime.
- Help him roll over a few times so that he understands what the movement feels like.
- Place toys on one side, just out of his reach. Or, sit or lie down next to him. This could give him the motivation to try to roll to that side.
- Give lots of positive reinforcement when he rolls. Babies love to make their parents smile, and your child will want to perform if he has a cheerleader.
Getting ready for the next step
It may be a couple of months before your baby can figure out the more difficult back-to-front roll. To help him on his way to discovering this movement, and all sorts of exciting things he can learn, try to limit his time in “containers” like swings, bouncy seats and car seats. When he’s in his natural environment (aka on the floor), he’ll discover more ways to use his body and develop strength in his tiny muscles.
Now that baby is somewhat mobile, you’ll need to be extra cautious about where you set him down, even “just for a minute” while you brush your teeth or find that lost shoe. You don’t want one of his first successful rollovers to be off the couch and onto the tile floor. Also, take comfort in knowing that even though young babies should sleep on their backs to help prevent SIDS, once your baby is strong enough to roll over onto his tummy to sleep, it’s OK to leave him that way.