Tummy Time Buzz: Why Everyone is Talking About It

Posted by

Alicia Amsberry, PT, DPT

Time to read

3 minutes

It is important to encourage the development of neck and trunk muscles in order to prevent skull irregularities in babies. One fundamental way to strengthen the fragile skull babies are born with is via tummy time.

Not familiar with the phrase? Consider this your baby’s first workout! Infants will all react differently when placed on the floor in a new position. Below you will find useful tips and recommendations on when to start tummy time and how to navigate strengthening your baby as they grow.

tummy time

Navigating Tummy Time 

What is tummy time?

Tummy time is the time your baby spends on his or her tummy while awake and supervised.  Tummy time is an important activity your baby should participate in during the day in order to develop strength in their head, neck, and upper body muscles. It also helps build coordination and strength to promote gross motor development such as rolling over, reaching, sitting, and crawling. Tummy time will also help to prevent conditions such as torticollis and plagiocephaly (see our blog post from last week to learn more). 

When should I start tummy time?

Tummy time can start as soon as your baby arrives home from the hospital. It is important that your baby is awake and supervised during tummy time. For newborns, it has been suggested to lay him or her on their tummy across your lap. As the baby grows then move them to the floor with a blanket. 

What if my baby doesn’t like tummy time?

The sooner you start tummy time, the sooner your child will get used to it. If your baby does not like it, try tummy time for one to two minutes each session and gradually increase the time, as your baby gets stronger. Incorporating your child’s favorite play toys will help keep them engaged.  If your child is having difficulty keeping their head up, use a towel roll or a pillow to help prop them until they are able to lift their head. 

How much time do they need to be on their tummy?

During the initial stages, your baby should participate in tummy time two to three times a day for three to five minutes each session. As your baby develops strength and tolerance for tummy time, sessions should be more frequent and sessions should be longer. 

Tummy Time Help

Tips and Tricks

  • Place toys on the floor around your baby so he or she can see them. This will encourage your child to reach out for toys. 
  • Lie on the floor with your baby to encourage him or her to lift their head up. 
  • Let your baby have tummy time on your chest while you lay on the couch or recline back in a chair. 
  • If your child has difficulty lifting their head, prop up on a pillow or towel.  

If you would like to learn more about tummy time, connecting with your infant, and strengthening their core, this may be just the beginning of reaching new milestones. Let us know if you are interested in seeing if your child might qualify for physical therapy, book a FREE consultation with one of our amazing Physical Therapy Specialists today!