Practising tummy time helps babies develop the muscles necessary to lift their heads and, eventually, to sit up, crawl and walk.

How your baby will benefit from tummy time
 Tummy time helps your baby develop motor skills that eventually lead to crawling.

Tummy time is the practice of placing babies on their stomachs for brief periods while they are awake. It is a crucial strategy to assist babies in building their neck and shoulder muscles and improving their motor abilities.

What benefits can tummy time provide?

Tummy time is beneficial for:

  • Infants and newborns aged 1–3 months are still acquiring neck control. Tummy time aids in the development of the muscles required to roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk.
  • Even if they can roll over and sit with assistance, babies between the ages of four and seven months should still spend some time on their bellies. Tummy time allows children to practice straightening their arms and lifting their heads and chests higher. This exercises the arm, chest, and back muscles.
  • Torticollis is a neck disorder that affects newborns. The baby’s head cannot turn due to tight neck muscles. Tummy time stimulates babies to look around and, when combined with exercises shown to you by your doctor, can help your baby’s neck muscles relax.

How do I perform tummy time?

Newborns: Begin tummy time with your baby by placing them belly-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes, two or three times per day. They can strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles by lying on their stomach and elevating their head. You can go for a little longer when your baby gets used to it.

Older babies: Place a blanket on the floor in a clear area. Start by placing your baby on their tummy on a blanket for three to five minutes multiple times per day. In this position, your infant may get fussy and frustrated. Keep the first tummy time sessions brief and progressively lengthen them. It’s also a good idea to conduct tummy time after your baby has been fed, changed, and is content.

Place your baby belly-down more frequently or for longer lengths of time as they grow accustomed to it. Experts recommend that babies work up to one hour of tummy time every day by the age of three months.

To persuade your baby to gaze up and push up, make some noises, or shake a rattle. To encourage reaching and forward movement, place a favourite toy in front of your baby.

What else should I be aware of?

  • During tummy time, always stay with your baby.
  • To help avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), always place babies to sleep on their backs (never on their bellies).
  • Tummy time should be done on a low, safe surface. Never place your baby on a sofa or bed where they could roll off or suffocate on cushions.

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