Tummy time

The Importance of Tummy Time

Interesting Mar 8, 2023

Tummy time is an essential part of a baby's development, and it should be encouraged from an early age. It involves placing a baby on their stomach while they are awake to allow them to develop the strength in their neck muscles, which is necessary for rolling over, sitting up, and crawling. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to know the right way to handle a baby during tummy time to ensure that they are comfortable and safe.

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play

The phrase "back to sleep, tummy to play" is often mentioned when discussing tummy time, and it is an essential reminder for parents and caregivers. This phrase emphasizes the importance of placing a baby on their back to sleep to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but also placing them on their tummy during playtime to encourage development.

While a baby lying on their tummy surrounded by toys on a rug is a great way to spend tummy time, it is usually more appropriate for older babies. For newborns, tummy time can start right away, and it is recommended to give them short bursts of tummy time regularly throughout the day using different positions.

Safe Tummy Time

One of the easiest ways to integrate tummy time into a baby's routine is during nappy changes. Parents and caregivers can place the baby on their tummy while they are getting things ready, but it is important never to leave the baby unattended on the changing table. The baby's head should be observed, the arm tucked beside the body, and the opposite hip and knee supported before rolling them over onto their tummy.

newborn tummy time
newborn tummy time

Rolling a baby from their tummy to their back is just as important as rolling them from their back to their tummy. To do this, the outer arm should be tucked under, and the opposite hip and knee supported before rolling them over. This should be done in a slow and controlled manner to ensure that the baby is comfortable.

Another way to allow a baby to experience tummy time is by placing them over the caregiver's knee. This involves sitting in a chair and maintaining a supportive posture while placing one foot on a footstool and having the other hip and knee at right angles. The baby is then placed on their tummy in a kneeling position, allowing their arms to be free and resting forward.

Does laid-back breastfeeding count as tummy time? Yes, in fact, the biological nursing position is the original tummy time.

It is important to remember that not all babies enjoy tummy time, and some may initially resist it. Parents and caregivers can help make tummy time more enjoyable by placing toys or mirrors in front of the baby, singing or talking to them, or providing gentle encouragement.

When handling a baby during tummy time, it is important to pay attention to their cues and ensure that they are comfortable and safe. A baby should never be left unattended during tummy time, and if they become fussy or upset, it is important to stop and try again later.

Tummy Time Benefits

Tummy time not only helps a baby develop strength in their neck muscles, but it also promotes sensory and motor development. When a baby is placed on their tummy, they have to work harder to lift their head and look around, which helps develop their neck and upper body strength. This also encourages them to reach for objects and develop their hand-eye coordination.

Tummy time will help to drive out the trapped gas. This should be done 30 minutes after feeding. ~ How to deal with gas
tummy time baby
Baby on their tummy

Sensory and Motor Development

Tummy time is a valuable activity that can aid in the development of a child's sensory system. By changing the surface that the child lies on, such as a blanket or the mother's skin, a variety of tactile sensations can be provided, promoting the development of the child's sense of touch.

Tummy time can provide active resistive input to the core and upper body musculature, helping to improve the child's proprioception and body awareness. This serves as a foundation for proper body awareness, which is essential for the development of fine and gross motor skills.

Tummy time also helps develop the child's vestibular system, which is responsible for their sense of movement. By allowing the child's head to experience a range of positions, tummy time lays the groundwork for beginning rocking on hands and knees and crawling.

In addition to the physical benefits, tummy time also promotes visual development. When a child is in a swing or car seat, their peripheral vision is obstructed by the edges of the seat. However, by placing a child on a blanket on the floor, they are encouraged to look up and around. This is further encouraged when caregivers get down on the ground with the child and incorporate toys, bubbles, and mirrors to encourage the child to look up and scan their immediate environment.


In conclusion, tummy time is an essential part of a baby's development, and parents and caregivers should encourage it from an early age. By following the right techniques and providing gentle encouragement, tummy time can be an enjoyable and beneficial experience for both the baby and the caregiver. Remember, back to sleep, tummy to play!



Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, qualified nutritionist and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int.

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