Babies reach developmental milestones at different ages, and reaching those milestones at an earlier or later age than most is not necessarily a cause for alarm.
If your child is consistently reaching milestones later than her peers, it makes sense to discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. Although there is a wide range in what is considered healthy, it is normal to wonder, “when will my baby crawl?” or “when will my baby roll over?”
Developmental milestones vary among babies, but in general, in your baby’s first year you can expect her to:
- Roll from front to back
- Roll from back to front
- Sit supported
- Sit independently
- Assume a sitting position without help
- Move between positions independently (sitting, crawling, laying on tummy)
- Pull into a stand
- Cruise (walk, holding onto furniture or an adult)
- Roll a ball
- Take a few unassisted steps
When Will My Baby Roll Over?
There are some things your baby needs to be able to do before she is ready to roll over. Your baby will roll over when she has control over her head.
Rolling over typically develops around the same time your baby starts sitting up with support. Your baby will roll over from her tummy to her back first in most cases. Offering plenty of tummy time is a great way to encourage rolling over.
Once your baby can roll from tummy to back, and back again, she will quickly learn she can move around a little this way. This is the beginning of becoming mobile, and it is more important than ever to keep an eye on her. Soon, your baby will roll over as a method to get to her favorite toy, or to you.
Your baby will probably start trying to kick over onto her back from her stomach at around 4 months of age. Some babies pick up this skill quickly, while others take a while. Once your baby can roll over from tummy to back it will take a bit longer to flip from back to tummy.
Flipping onto the stomach from the back takes more coordination and neck and arm strength than flipping from the stomach to back. Once she can roll from her stomach to back, your baby will roll over from back to front within a few weeks.
Your baby will roll over when she develops the strength and coordination necessary to perform the maneuver. You can help her out by offering plenty of supervised tummy time. While laying on the stomach your baby will start raising her upper body up with her arms at around 3 months.
This is the beginning of her building the strength needed to flip over. Generally, by the time your baby is 6 months old, she will be able to roll both from her tummy to back and from her back to her tummy.
When Will My Baby Crawl?
Your baby will crawl once she has developed the strength and coordination necessary to balance on her hands and knees. For most babies, this is between the ages of 7 and 10 months. It is important to note that not all babies crawl in a traditional manner.
Some get up on their hands and knees and rock back and forth, eventually moving forward in a traditional crawl, while others scoot on their bottom while in a sitting position, army crawl with their elbows, or even move around by rolling. Some babies skip crawling entirely and start by pulling themselves up on furniture and cruising along.
As long as your baby is advancing and figuring out how to be mobile, your baby will crawl when she is ready and her form does not matter.
Your baby will crawl as part of a natural progression from learning to roll over and sit without being supported. There are things you can do to help your baby master these skills. Like with rolling over, tummy time is important. Tummy time helps your baby develop the strength and coordination needed to support herself.
Placing some special toys on the ground, just beyond your baby’s reach, during tummy time can be all the encouragement your baby needs to become mobile.
Should I Worry?
It is normal for new parents to wonder, when will my baby roll over? When will my baby crawl? Remember that these numbers are just guidelines. If your child was premature, your baby will crawl and reach other milestones closer to what her age would be if she were full-term.
Personality also has a great deal to do with these milestones. A baby with a calm, laidback temperament may be more content to lay quietly and watch activity while a baby with a more active or demanding personality will be more inclined to squirm, fuss and generally move around in a way that develops the strength and coordination necessary to move.
It is worth noting that not all babies engage in all milestones. For example, some babies never crawl, once they learn to sit on their own, they quickly pull themselves up and try to master walking. It is not necessary that your child performs each milestone, but she should be moving forward and seem interested in learning new skills.
What Happens If My Child Does Not Roll Over or Crawl on Time?
It is important to note that your baby will crawl, roll over and walk on their own timeframe. These skills are just one part of your baby’s development. These activities are known as gross motor skills. There are also fine motor skills, such as grasping objects, language and communication skills, and social skills.
Your child may be advanced in one skill set but lag behind in another. As long as she is making forward progress, it is not generally a cause for concern.
If your child does not seem to be making progress in one area, such as her gross motor skills, or she seems to lag in several areas, you should talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.
Most likely your child will catch up with her peers by the time she starts school, but early intervention is very beneficial in the case of developmental delays.