You’re already aware of those major milestones your baby will reach one day, such as rolling over, crawling and walking. But did you know there are hundreds more skills and mini-milestones she’ll master along the way? And if you share in her joy of movement, you can make a real difference to how she develops.
With our help, you’ll be able to support your baby’s efforts, and celebrate together endless little moments of success, because your attention and interest will motivate her like nothing else.
Staying on her side
A significant development around five months is when your baby can roll on to her side and stay in this position to play. Some babies will play with a toy in one hand, while resting their head on the floor. If the toy is light enough, your baby may be able to lift her head up off the floor while holding the toy in one hand, waving the toy around and watching its movements.
To help your baby get better at rolling over on to her side, position yourself on one side of her to encourage her to roll on to that side of her body. Then move round to the other side, and repeat. Have her favourite toy ready to give to her once she’s managed to roll over.
Mastering tummy time
Babies typically begin rolling over from their back and on to their front any time between four and five months. When your baby is lying on her tummy, supported on her forearms, she can lift and hold her head centrally. She’ll then be able to co-ordinate both sides of her body and bring her hands together, tuck in her chin, and look down at her hands for more purposeful play explorations.
Lie down flat beside your baby on the floor, and position a small pillow under your head. Then roll on to your side so you are facing your baby and, with her body curled, gently scoop her up in your arms and roll her over on to your body, so she lies with her tummy placed against yours. You may feel her little hands softly push against you as she carefully lifts her head up without bobbing. Doing this, she is developing good head and neck control. Make soft humming sounds so your baby feels the soothing vibrations transmitting through your body to hers.
Be prepared for coos of contentment from your little one – and yourself!
Learning to play together
When your baby is lying on her tummy on the floor, she will learn to shift her weight sideways to support herself on one arm, freeing the other hand for reaching. She might reach out with one hand to touch you, or playfully slap the floor, or maybe she is getting ready to belly-crawl forwards. If you lie down on the floor with her, you’ll notice all this.
You don’t need a lot of toys when interacting with your baby – less is more! Respond to what your baby is doing.
Position yourself and your baby on the floor, lying on your tummies and supported on your forearms so you are facing each other. Pause and patiently wait to see what your baby does. She may reach out to touch your hand. Mirroring the same side, you can then playfully touch her hand with yours. So use your right hand to touch her left hand, then pause and then touch her left hand with your right hand, or vice versa. She may touch your hands and then pull both her hands away to surprise you. When she plays an action joke that she finds funny, she’ll watch your response to see if you find it funny too.