Tummy Time: What, When, Why, and How?


What is tummy time?

As it says in the name, tummy time is getting your baby to spend time on their tummy.

When should tummy time begin?

Tummy time can begin immediately after you arrive home from the hospital. Start off with tummy time for two to three minutes twice or three times a day. Baby lying on your chest is perfect in the early days. Then work up to 20 or 30 minutes per day by 3 months old.

Why engage in tummy time?

Tummy time is a perfect way to allow your baby to develop essential neck, back, and arm muscles. This will allow them to eventually support their own head. It also helps your baby to develop motor skills that allow it to roll over. By developing these functions, your child becomes a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Tummy time also helps to reduce the risk of your baby’s head flattening as your child spends more time not lying on their back. That said, if your baby is protesting tummy time, keeping them upright will also provide these benefits, though the process may take longer.

How is tummy time performed?

First and foremost, make sure you are always present and active with your baby during tummy time. You need to supervise your little one during tummy time always. There are various different positions you can try with your baby. The first one to try might be placing them on your chest while you lay on your back. This allows you to hold them securely and monitor them. It also allows for bonding, lots of eye contact, and skin-to-skin which will make the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for your baby, encouraging them to associate tummy time with a good feeling.

After a while, when your baby can lean on their arms, you can move tummy time to the floor. Using a rolled-up towel under their chest or supporting them slightly with your hands will aid them in lifting their head. Then, once they are confident propping themselves up onto their arms, take away this extra support. Lying on the ground with your baby and encouraging them to look up at you further helps them in lifting their head and looking around.

Introduce a playmat, toys, or colouring books into tummy time after a few months. These will further support your baby’s muscle development by encouraging them to reach for things and move around. Finally, use this time to play and engage with your baby. Supporting your baby in something as fundamental as lifting their little head is the first step in supporting them with all the rest of life’s more complex challenges!