As a parent, you know tummy time is a crucial milestone in your infant’s development. That’s why understanding when to initiate tummy time and how to make the most of it can aid your baby’s growth and well-being. At Early Advantage, we partner with you, the parent, to help you understand each stage of development and how to help your child meet critical developmental milestones. This blog discusses the importance of tummy time for babies, when to start it, and how to make the most of it. 


Why Babies Need Tummy Time – Make Tummy Time a Priority 

Tummy time is more than just a playful activity; it’s an essential practice for your baby’s overall development. This dedicated time helps strengthen crucial muscles, promotes motor skills, and facilitates sensory exploration. Moreover, regular tummy time sessions can help prevent issues like flat spots and even reduce the risk of Sudden unexpected infant death(SUID), making it a cornerstone of early childhood care.

Early Advantage has tips for making the most of tummy time.

Starting Tummy Time: Tummy Time Tips

Tummy time is an activity babies should be doing to develop essential motor skills and strengthen their muscles. By placing your baby on their tummy while awake and supervised, you encourage them to lift their head, push up with their arms, and eventually learn to roll over, crawl, and sit up.

In this section, we provide parents with helpful tips on starting tummy time with their baby and making the most out of this crucial developmental exercise. By following these tips and incorporating tummy time into your daily routine, you can ensure your baby reaps the many benefits that tummy time helps to promote. 

When should you initiate tummy time?

With a new baby at home, some parents may ask, at what age should you begin tummy time for your baby? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, this exercise can start as early as the first few days of life. Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the duration of exercise as your baby grows stronger. 

How can you make tummy time enjoyable for your baby?

Positioning is key. Place your baby on a comfortable, soft surface, ensuring they are awake and supervised. Get down on the floor with them, offering support and encouragement. Utilize tummy time toys to engage their senses and keep them entertained.

What if your baby doesn’t like tummy time?

Some babies may initially resist tummy time. Start with brief, gentle sessions and gradually extend the time as your baby gets accustomed. Consider engaging them with toys or trying to place them on your chest for added comfort.

What to do when a baby keeps falling asleep during tummy time

If your baby tends to drift off during tummy time, it’s perfectly normal. Transition them to a safe sleeping position after they’ve had a chance to exercise their muscles. Don’t give up on trying, though. Parents must keep giving babies time on their tummy to help them develop. 

How often and for how long should tummy time sessions be?

Experts recommend aiming for 25-45 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day. Exercise can be broken down into shorter sessions, gradually allowing your baby to build strength and tolerance.

Consider changing surfaces like a breastfeeding pillow.

What if My Baby Hates Tummy Time?

If your baby resists tummy time, it’s essential to approach the situation with patience and creativity. Begin by incorporating short sessions of just a couple minutes, gradually increasing the duration as the baby becomes more accustomed to playing on their tummy. You can also reduce the number of times you engage in tummy time a day.

As mentioned above, you can make the surface comfortable with a soft blanket or play mat and place colorful, engaging toys within their reach. Help encourage your baby’s head lifting by positioning yourself where they can see you. Offer smiles, encouragement, and toys to focus on. Consider using a mirror so they can see their reflection and add an element of fascination. A gentle massage or light tickling on their back can also help your baby enjoy tummy time.

If your baby remains resistant, consult your pediatrician for advice. Keep in mind that each baby is unique, and finding what works best for your child may require some experimentation and adaptation.

Encouraging your baby to reach can help your baby make the most of tummy time as they get older.

How to Ensure Your Baby Has a Positive Experience

Because tummy time can play a critical role in a baby’s physical and cognitive development, ensuring it’s a positive experience for them (and you!) can be an important part of the process. You can create a positive and enjoyable experience for your little one with the right strategies and techniques, like the ones listed below. 

Encourage Head Lifting

If you find yourself asking, how can I encourage a baby to lift their head during tummy time, you’ll want to begin by considering how to support their head. We suggest providing support by providing a slight lift. In doing so, you will help them develop neck and upper body strength.

Does Tummy Time Prevent Flat Spots?

Regular tummy time encourages your baby not only to move and shift their head but also helps reduce the likelihood of developing a flat spot on the back of their head.

Does Tummy Time Change as My Baby Grows

As your baby spends more time on the floor and becomes more mobile they will also become stronger. So, it’s no surprise that tummy time will evolve. This means you may see your baby begin to push up, roll over, and eventually even crawl during these sessions. Don’t worry, mom or dad. It’s all part of the process.

Parents can encourage reaching and crawling for older babies by placing toys just out of their reach to motivate them to reach out and develop arm strength. As they progress, you can move toys farther away to encourage crawling. Always ensure your baby is supervised during tummy time to avoid potential safety hazards.

Tummy time can help your baby reach important future milestones.

Key Takeaways and Benefits of Tummy Time

  • Begin tummy time early.
  • Aim for 25-45 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day. Gradually increase the duration of each session. 
  • Use toys and different spaces (a play mat, a bed, or a breastfeeding pillow) to help engage with your baby during tummy time and make it an enjoyable experience.
  • As your baby grows, adapt tummy time activities to accommodate their increasing mobility.

Tummy time is an essential practice that sets the stage for your baby’s physical development. By starting early and incorporating it into your daily routine, parents can help ensure their little one is on track to meet their future milestones. Remember, each baby is unique, so be patient and responsive to your baby’s cues during tummy time. With consistent effort, you’ll witness the incredible benefits it brings to your baby’s growth and well-being.