Giving your baby the opportunity, every day, to lie on his or her stomach while you talk and play together is what tummy time is all about.
Tummy time benefits
Tummy time gives your baby these advantages:
- Strengthens your baby’s neck and upper back muscles.
- Allows your baby to discover a new view of the world.
- Prevents the back of your baby’s head from developing flat spots.
- Allows your baby to master lifting his or her head and turning over.
- Helps your baby develop the muscle strength to begin to roll over, crawl and sit without support.
- Encourages your baby to practice reaching and pivoting, which are skills needed to learn how to crawl.
Tummy time for newborns
- Simply place your baby belly-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes.
- Increase the time your baby spends on his or her tummy as your baby grows.
- Listen to your baby’s cues of crying or being restless. These are ways your baby lets you know he or she has had enough tummy time.
Tummy time for 3- to 4-month-olds
- Most babies at this age can tolerate tummy time for five to 10 minutes at a time.
- By this age, your baby will have better neck strength and control to lift and turn his or her head while lying down.
- By 4 months, baby should be able to lift his or her chest off of the floor and lean on his or her elbows while holding his or her head upright.
Tummy time tips
- Avoid tummy time right after feeding to prevent your baby from spitting up.
- Use a flat, clean surface.
- Provide your baby a blanket or play mat to lie on.
- Your baby loves to see you. Get on the floor and be face-to-face while playing together.
- Make silly noises, sing songs and make facial expressions to engage with your baby while playing together.
- Place a mirror in front of your baby to get his or her attention. Babies love to look at faces.
- Place a brightly colored toy just within your baby’s reach and encourage your baby to reach and stretch for it.
Just a few minutes of tummy time together in the day provides moments to enjoy each other while your baby is gaining important developmental skills.