What is Tummy Time?

Newborn |

If you’re wondering what tummy time is, it’s exactly what it sounds like – time spent on their front instead of their back. But why is it so important for your little one?

Surprisingly enough, this little change of position makes a big difference to your baby’s development. In fact, being on their tummy for 10 to 20 minutes a day can help strengthen their back, arm and neck muscles. And that’s exactly what they need to be able to roll over, sit up and crawl.

When to start tummy time

You can start tummy time as soon as your baby has a bit of head control. This is usually around the two-month mark. If you start before this, make sure your little one is only on their front for a few minutes at a time – and never leave them unsupervised (not even while you pop to the loo!)

If they can't lift or move their head much, you might want to wait a few more weeks before you try longer periods of tummy time. Remember, all babies are different and will develop at their own pace, so enjoy every precious moment.

Just because it’s good for them doesn’t mean they’ll like it

Tummy time takes a bit more effort than reclining in the Moses basket. And for some babies, it’s just no fun at all. Your challenge is to make it fun. Or at least a little less daunting. If your first attempts don’t go to plan, try again another day; they’ll get the hang of it, in their own time. So, take it one step at a time.

Tummy time tips

Once you’re ready to give it a go, try these handy tips:

  • Keep it short and sweet to begin with - maybe just two or three minutes a day at first.
  • Join them on the floor. Any excuse to get horizontal is good, and carpet gazing can be lots of fun if you chat or sing to your baby while you’re there.
  • Don’t fancy being face-down on the floor? Try lying down on your back with your baby on your chest instead, then you can talk to each other (the original version of face-time!)
  • Prep the floor with a cheery blanket or play mat, for a different sensory experience. When your baby’s a bit bigger (or has more upper body strength) scatter some toys around for him (or her) to grab at.
  • Prop your baby's chest up with a pillow or a rolled-up bath towel for a bit of extra support. Getting that head off the ground can be hard work, especially in the beginning.

Important things to remember about tummy time

Your baby must be fully awake for their daily tummy time. Falling asleep face-down can be fatal at this age. So, to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) you must always put your little one to sleep on their back. Also, remember that your little one needs you nearby when they’re on their front, so never leave them unsupervised.


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