Q. My 4-month-old isn't rolling over yet. While her pediatrician says this is not uncommon, all the other babies in my new moms' group are rolling. What can I do to help my child catch up?
A. There's no need for your baby to catch up, because she's not behind. Development is not a race. Babies mature at their own pace and in their own way. While development does tend to progress in a particular order -- they crawl before they walk, for example -- children achieve these milestones within a relatively wide time frame. Rolling is no exception.
If your doctor has assessed your daughter's physical growth and motor skills and has found that she is progressing well, she will roll when she is ready. Children are driven to learn, grow, and develop new skills. They don't need to be pushed to take the next step. What you can do is give your daughter lots of time each day to play on her belly and back. As babies explore the world around them, they are learning how to move their bodies to see and do more. Babies who are held a lot or spend too much time in infant seats or carriers miss this chance to develop the muscle strength and coordination they need to roll. Most important, delight in who your daughter is right now. There is no need to rush; she'll be rolling over soon enough.
Claire Lerner, LCSW, is a child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit promoting the healthy development of babies and toddlers (zerotothree.org).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2006.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.