Baby only rolls one way

Baby only rolls one way


Rolling is one of the significant milestones in a baby’s life. It’s a complex coordination of muscles and balance, and the first sign of mobility. Rolling usually happens in two directions, from the back to the belly and the belly to the back. But what happens when your little one seems stuck rolling one way?

Understanding Baby’s Milestones: The Mystery of the One-Way Roll

Back to Belly Rolling

In the early stages of development, most babies first learn to roll from their back to their belly. This action involves a complex set of movements, including turning the head to one side, followed by the shoulder, and finally, the hips. It’s a new skill that your baby is beginning to master.

Belly to Back Rolling

Once they’ve mastered back-to-belly rolling, babies then start the transition of rolling from their belly to their back. This movement is slightly trickier as it requires more strength and coordination, but with time, most babies get the hang of it.

The One-Way Roll Phenomenon

But what if your son or daughter started rolling in one direction only? Don’t worry, this is quite normal. In fact, it’s common for babies to prefer rolling toward the left side.

The Role of Tummy Time

Tummy time plays an essential role in your baby’s development. It strengthens the neck muscles and helps your baby get used to being on their belly, making it easier for them to start rolling. Try using toys to encourage your baby during tummy time. Place a toy just out of their reach on one side and see if they can roll towards it.

Importance of Neck Muscles in Rolling

Strong head and neck muscles are crucial for your baby to roll effectively. These muscles support your baby’s head, which needs to turn first for the body to follow. Tummy time is an excellent way to strengthen these muscles.

When Should Babies Start Rolling?

The timeline for when babies start rolling can vary. Some might begin as early as three months, while others might take a little longer. Just remember, every baby is unique and develops at their own pace.

Addressing the One-Direction Roll

If your baby seems to only roll in one direction, it’s not necessarily a cause for worry or concern. It’s typical for babies to develop a preference, especially early on when they’re just getting the hang of this new skill.

The Common Left Side Bias

You may notice your baby tends to roll to the left more often. This is known as left-side bias and is fairly common in babies. It’s just a part of their development and usually evens out as they grow and practice more.

The Impact of Body Position

The position of your baby’s body can affect how they roll. For example, if they’re always put on their tummy in the same way, they might get used to rolling in that same direction. Changing up the starting position can help them learn to roll in both directions.

How to Encourage Your Baby to Roll the Other Way

If your baby needs a little assistance learning to roll the other way, here are a few tips:

  1. Use Toys: Place a favorite toy on the side they don’t usually roll towards. Their desire to reach the toy might encourage them to roll in the other direction.
  2. Physical Guidance: Gently guide your baby to roll the other way during playtime. Remember, the goal is not to force them but to guide them.
  3. Change the Environment: Switch up the environment. If they always roll left, position them on the right side of the play mat. This may encourage them to roll the other way to explore their surroundings.

Conclusion: Embrace the Journey of Development

Seeing your baby roll for the first time is an exciting milestone. Remember, every baby develops at their own pace, and it’s okay if your baby prefers rolling in one direction. With a little time, encouragement, and plenty of tummy time, they’ll soon be rolling both ways.



  1. What is the average age for babies to start rolling?The average age for babies to start rolling is around 3 to 6 months. However, each baby is unique and may reach this milestone at their own pace.
  2. Should I be worried if my baby only rolls in one direction?Not necessarily. It’s common for babies to develop a preference for one side, especially when they first start rolling. If you’re concerned, it’s always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician.
  3. How can I encourage my baby to roll in both directions?You can encourage your baby to roll in both directions by using toys as motivation, gently guiding them during playtime, and changing their environment to stimulate curiosity.
  4. Does tummy time help with rolling?Yes, tummy time is essential for developing the strength and coordination needed for rolling. It helps strengthen your baby’s neck muscles and gets them used to being on their belly.
  5. What is left-side bias in babies?Left-side bias is when a baby shows a preference for rolling or turning to the left. It’s a common occurrence in infants and usually evens out as they grow and practice more.


This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.