My daughter is 5 months old and still hasn’t been rolling. She tries to sit by using her stomach muscles. What should we do?
Answer: The reason your daughter is trying to sit by contracting her stomach muscles is connected to being on “tilted surfaces” of a raised angle of 30 degrees for a long time. Such as stroller, bouncer, baby seat etc. A baby needs to be on his belly in order to develop correctly and with quality, to roll and crawl and so forth. Contracting of the stomach muscles makes it very difficult to restfully lie on the belly and consequently to lean on the elbows, shifting weight from elbow to elbow and to roll. The average age for rolling is between 4-6 months, but we must make sure of a number of conditions that are realized in order for the baby to be able to learn to roll: 1. Comfortable lying on the belly, lifting the head and motion of the head from side to side. 2. Leaning on the elbows. 3. Weight shifting from elbow to elbow on the belly. I recommend to first avoid using tilted surfaces and practice relevant exercises: 1. On a fitness ball, lie her on her belly, hold on to her pelvis, lean her on her elbows and roll the ball a little forwards, backwards, to the right and to the left, to practice weight shifting from side to side. Later roll the ball to the right and encourage reaching out the left hand forwards and upwards using a toy. Practice to both sides. Rolling from back to belly requires the back’s ability to round, bringing legs closer to the hands and crossing the midline. 2. On the back on the floor – raise her legs towards the face and back. Repeat the movement a number of times. Raise the pelvis and place your hand under her bottom. With one hand grip her legs and with the other roll the pelvis towards the head. This way a lengthening of the back muscles takes place, rounding and mobility of the spine. Repeat the movement a number of times. Raise your baby’s pelvis on your leg. Light patting on the chest. In order to lower unnecessary muscle tension. 3. Lay her on her back. Grip both legs. One leg hold straight, the other bend and while you do this roll her to the side and back to the back. We roll to the side of the straight leg. Do this rolling to both sides. After a number of times roll to the belly and back to the back. Practice to both directions. 4. From the back roll her to the side. Hold the upper leg bent and touching the floor. Patting on the sides of the body and shoulder blade. It’s important to teach your baby to be on her sides. In order to roll from the back to the belly there must be a familiarity with the sides of the body and crossing of the midline. 5. Lay her on her back and start the motion of rolling to the belly as you stimulate her gaze and hand using a toy to propel forwards and cross the body’s midline. The gaze and hand will lead the motion to rolling.