TUMMY TIME (Why your Baby Needs It)
Tummy Time is one of baby’s first exercises—and the most important!
Tummy Time is the period during the day your baby spends awake and on their stomach. It is a crucial exercise for baby’s visual, motor, and sensory development.
Baby can begin Tummy Time as a newborn, and continue throughout baby’s first year.Tummy Time as a newborn, and continue throughout baby’s first year.
Tummy Time Basics
Why does my baby need Tummy Time?
- To develop the core muscles of the neck, back, and shoulder muscles
- To meet developmental milestones
- To possibly help prevent early motor delays and conditions, such as flat head syndrome (positional plagiocephaly) and twisted neck (positional torticollis).
When should my baby start Tummy Time?
As a newborn baby, as soon as they come home from the hospital.
How long should you do Tummy Time?
Aim to achieve at least an hour of Tummy Time total per day by 3 months of age. This hour of Tummy Time can be broken up into smaller parts. From newborn age, start with a few minutes at a time and build up to longer sessions.
How often should you do Tummy Time?
Start with small increments of a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Eventually, try to do longer Tummy Time sessions, eventually building up to a full hour.
At what age should baby stop Tummy Time?
Once baby begins crawling, around 7-9 months, they will be getting the developmental benefits of Tummy Time while moving, and it is not as essential to have them do Tummy Time. However, it still beneficial to have baby spend some time in the Tummy Time position (also known as prone position) during play.
How Does Tummy Time Help With Meeting Milestones?
Tummy Time is crucial for healthy motor, sensory and visual development.
- Strengthens baby’s back, neck, and core muscles.
- Build a foundation for baby to meet motor milestones including rolling, sitting, crawling, and more.
- Feeling different textures (blankets, carpet, etc.) on their arms, hands, and cheeks can help baby’s tactile sense (sense of touch).
- As baby moves and their weight shifts, they gain a sense of body awareness.
- Positioning baby differently helps develop their movement and balance (vestibular sense).
- Helps develop eye and hand coordination. By looking down at their hands, baby is seeing how they move and what they can do.
Did you know?
You can use time on the floor to play as an alternative to baby being in a carrier or bouncy seat.
Five Essential Tummy Time Moves
Try these Tummy Time exercises with your infant.
- Tummy-to-Tummy or Tummy-to-Chest
Lie down on the floor or a bed, flat or propped up on pillows. Place baby on your chest or tummy, so you and baby are face-to-face. Always hold firmly for safety.
- Tummy Down Carry or Football Hold
Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Use other hand to support baby’s head and neck. Nestle baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.
- Lap Soothe
Place baby face down across your lap to burp or soothe them. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them
- Eye-Level Smile
Get level with your baby to encourage eye contact. Roll up a blanket and place it under their chest and upper arms for added support.
- Tummy Minute
Place your baby on their tummy for one or two minutes after every diaper change. Start a few minutes at a time and try to work up to an hour a day in shorter intervals by the end of three months.
Want to be a Tummy Time expert? Take the course!
Your Guide to Tummy Time has everything expecting and new parents need to know about this crucial exercise, including Tummy Time options and activities.
From a Tummy Time parent: “Different methods and activities parents can do to encourage different forms of Tummy Time—not just placing baby on the floor