Reader Q+A: My Baby Rolls Out Of Tummy Time - Part 2

This is the second post in a 2 part series - be sure to read Part 1 for tips for older babies who roll out of Tummy Time

Tummy Time Tips for Babies Who Roll Early

If your little one is on the 2-3 month end of the expected range for rolling, and is able to make it from belly to back - Tummy Time can become quite a conundrum! It's easy to give up on Tummy Time at this point but here's why belly-down play is still important:

Can I still do Tummy Time once my baby rolls - CanDo Kiddo

Your baby likely hasn't achieved many of the important Tummy Time milestones that are important for strength and sensory development (learn more about Tummy Time milestones). Additionally, your baby is likely still several months away from sitting and so minimizing awake time with pressure on the back of the head is important for preventing Flat Head Syndrome (positional Plagiocephaly).

Finally, some babies are still working their way out of minor muscle asymmetries from being all squished in the womb in these early months. In fact, sometimes those asymmetries make it easier for baby to roll out of Tummy Time - at least in one direction. Even very slight asymmetries of the neck and torso can make a baby put more weight into one arm or one side of the chest when belly down. Add a slight head tilt from neck tightness and you've got a really easy roll! 

Should We Stop Baby From Rolling?

No way! Rolling is an important new milestone and we don't want to stop your baby from having plenty of opportunities to roll. This new movement will give wonderful new sensory inputs to the movement (vestibular), touch (tactile) and pressure & stretch (proprioceptive) systems. 

But if your young baby is ending every Tummy Time session very quickly by rolling, it can be beneficial to have some belly-down playtimes in which you use simple props combined with activities to capture your baby's attention and extend Tummy Time sessions.

Extending Tummy Time for Early Rollers

A Tummy Time Pillow

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Using a crescent shaped Tummy Time Pillow or Nursing Pillow (a Boppy Pillow works perfectly! {affiliate}) can help keep your little one engaged in Tummy Time and prevent rolling. Always provide close supervision (eyes on baby within arm's reach), because as you now know - your little one is on the move!

Tips for Tummy Time for babies who can roll. CanDo Kiddo

Using pillows under baby's chest can help with the neck strengthening benefits of Tummy Time, but be aware that this position doesn't offer the same upper body strengthening or sensory benefits (to the touch/tactile and pressure & stretch/proprioceptive systems) as Tummy Time with arms on the floor. For maximum benefit, use this position as one of several that you rotate through. 

Two Bags Of Rice

What would I do without 1 lb. bags of rice?! I used these all the time to prop baby, prop toys and make Tummy Time easier! (Don't have rice? You can also use a bag of dried beans.) Simply place one bag on either side of baby to use as a "bolster pillow". Be sure to inspect the bag closely for rips or tears and keep it away from baby's mouth. I made cloth pillowcases for my bags of rice to keep them in good condition...and to keep them cute! 

Using bags of rice to help early rollers stay in Tummy Time. CanDo Kiddo

A Towel Horseshoe

For this prop, simply roll a bath towel the long way and then lay it on the floor in a small horseshoe shape. You'll place baby belly-down with the top of the horseshoe under the chest and armpits and then snug the sides of the horseshoe down each side of baby's body. 

Tummy Time Play

One of the best ways to extend Tummy Time is to offer new and interesting things to look at, touch, smell and hear. Remember that Tummy Time itself isn't playtime - it is a position for play. For early rollers, you may have to up the novelty to engage more sustained attention while belly down. You'll find tons of Tummy Time play ideas here on the CanDo Kiddo blog and in my book, Begin With A Blanket.

"I truly had no idea what to do to play with her. And as a stay-at-home-mom I always felt like I could be doing something more. Your ideas are not only fun, but are also easy and cheap!"

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