A very important phase in your child’s development is when he begins to turn around on his own: this is the beginning of his motor independence, which will lead him to discover a new world full of sensations.
As I always say, although I don’t have children yet, I have experienced the emotion of seeing my nephews grow. And I also know that moms, even though they long for “the feeling” of their “little” children, their greatest desire is to see them develop positively in all their stages. Turning over on your own is one of those baby conquests that are expected and celebrated.
Babies usually start to roll over around the fourth month, when they can hold their heads up. They begin to do so by lying face down, on their tummy and turning onto their side – sometimes accidentally due to a loss of balance.
At five months he will turn over completely, starting face down to lie on his back. The reverse movement takes a little longer (six to seven months) because it requires more muscle strength and greater coordination.
Do not forget that each baby is different and some may take longer than others, so do not be too distressed if you see that it is “taking time”. Premature infants usually have some delay in the development of their motor skills. If your little one is not turning on his own yet, but is able to sit up and crawl, there is nothing to worry about. Anyway, the “maternal intuition” is able to give you signals when something is wrong, then it will be time to consult a specialist.
Here are some ideas to help you develop the motor skills required for this and other movements:
1. Starting at two months, put your baby on his tummy to help him build the muscle strength he needs to start moving. This position will not be comfortable for the baby, so start for a few minutes and gradually increase the time.
2. Some children dislike being on their tummies because they have to lift their heads and it takes effort, but it is important that they do so. If he starts to protest or cry, wait for him to calm down a bit before turning him over.
3. Help your baby to train his upper and lower body muscles: open and close his arms several times and cycle his legs (holding him with the thumbs above the knees, in the direction of the head and the remaining four fingers below the leg). About ten repetitions are sufficient.
4. Lying on his back, induce him to roll over with a gentle rocking motion, starting with a gentle massage from the buttocks to the bent legs and then gently turning them to one side and the other.
5. While lying on his back, place toys or objects that attract his attention next to him, he will try to turn around to take them. If it still has a hard time turning, put it on a blanket and lift it very slightly to the side you want it to turn to give it a little boost.
6. Let your baby remain in the fetal position, it is the natural contrast to being on his tummy, with an arched back and an upright head. It is important to allow her to flex her knees, trunk, and hip muscles.
7. It is not recommended that it remain in the same position for a long time, try to move it every 15 minutes. This way you will get used to the other postures that it will acquire when turning around.
8. On tummy, roll your baby to one side and encourage him to return to the starting position on his own. Make sure he turns to both sides to help him develop balance.
9. When he is on his side, give him a toy or a safe object. If he is unable to hold the position on his own, help him with some support until he is comfortable in this position.
10. Avoid your child spending a lot of time in the playpen or sitting in her chair, rocking chair or swing; This limits her mobility and prevents her from practicing her motor skills. Whenever you can, let him move freely in a controlled space.
Sleeping in a safe position
During the first year of age, make sure your baby sleeps on his back to avoid sudden death syndrome (also called crib death). The risk decreases after four months and disappears almost completely by the end of the year.
If she rolls over while sleeping, take her back to the back position, which is the safest position until six months of age.
Keep the crib clear of stuffed animals, pillows, and extra blankets that he can suffocate with, and never cover his head or tuck him higher than his shoulders.
What to expect when you turn around
The muscles involved in the rotational movement are the same ones that will help your baby to crawl and sit up. Once he is able to roll over perfectly on his own, his neck, arms and legs will gain strength and he will begin to sit up, first with your help and then alone. Later he will be able to crawl, then he will begin to stand up – with and without support – and finally, to walk.
Babies start to roll over without warning, so you should never leave them alone on the bed or on a high surface from which they can fall when turning.
When helping your child to turn around, the position of the arm is very important: put it up so that it protects the face when turning and does not land on it.
Based on the turns, your child will build his midline or body axis, which is essential for the development of his nervous system.