Babies spend the majority of their days lying on their backs, which is why time spent on their front is very important.

What is tummy time?

Tummy time gives your baby a new position to explore and helps them strengthen their back, neck and upper body muscles. As these body muscles strengthen, tummy time will become easier for your baby and they will begin to learn other movements, such as reaching and rolling. 

Tummy time also ensures that your baby does not develop a ‘flat’ spot on their head due to prolonged time spent lying on their back.  

Check out tummy time in pictures for more information. 

When should I start tummy time?

You can start laying your baby on their tummy for short periods as soon as they are born. Initially try them in positions such as lying on your chest when you are reclined, lying across your lap, or lying along your forearm with their tummy facing down.  

As they get a little older you can lie them on a flat surface for tummy time. Initially they may only like to be in this position for 1 to 2 minutes, but over time they will learn to enjoy playing in this position for longer periods. 

It is important for your baby to have tummy time at least twice a day. You may find it helpful to make tummy time part of your regular routines. For example, putting your baby on their tummy for a short while, every time you change their nappy. This will help you remember to fit tummy time in each day. 

Remember to always stay with your baby when they are on their tummy and to change their position when they become tired or distressed. 

It is also best to avoid tummy time just after your baby has had a feed. 

Five ways to make tummy time fun

  1. Lay your new baby on your chest as they love to look at your face. 
  2. Use a child-safe mirror so your baby can see themselves as they lift up their head in tummy time. 
  3. Place a rolled up towel under your baby’s arms to help them lift their upper body. Put your hand gently on their bottom to help them anchor themselves as they lift up their head. 
  4. Show your baby books and interesting toys as they lay on their tummy. 
  5. Lie on the floor with your baby so they can see your face and hear your voice. Talk about what they can see. 

Things to remember

  • Always supervise your baby when they are laying on their tummy. 
  • Remember to put your baby on their back to sleep. 
  • Start with short periods of 1 to 2 minutes and build up to longer times. 

Want to know more?

The Raising Children Network – Tummy time: in pictures 

Red Nose – Tummy time is good for baby because….. 

If you still have questions, contact our Parenting Line