Parental Tips

Tummy Time for Newborns: Benefits, Tips, and Fun Activities for Babies

The newborn stage is one of the most crucial periods for your baby’s development. One of the best exercises parents can do with their newborns is tummy time. But when do you start tummy time and how can your baby experience the most benefits from it?


What is Tummy Time?

tummy time after feeding

Ruslan Galiullin/

Tummy time is simple yet vital for your baby’s development. You place your baby on their belly while they’re awake and supervised. This helps strengthen their neck, shoulders, arms, and back muscles, essential for rolling over, sitting up, eating solid food, crawling, and eventually walking.

The tummy time position consists of placing babies on their stomachs and chests on a blanket laid out on a flat surface.

Tummy time supports physical development and offers wonderful bonding moments with your little one.

How Tummy Time Helps Baby’s Development

tummy time


Tummy time offers several benefits that contribute to your baby’s overall development. Prioritizing this activity is crucial for successful and on-track baby development.

  • Motor Skill Development—Tummy time supports your baby’s ability to develop essential motor skills. These skills are vital for milestones like rolling, crawling, and eventually walking.
  • Muscle Strength—It helps build the muscles in your baby’s neck, shoulders, and arms. These muscles are necessary for fighting gravity and lifting their head and developing upper body strength.
  • Skull Shape—Spending time on their tummy reduces the likelihood of developing flat spots on the back of the head, known as positional plagiocephaly.
  • Sensory Development—Tummy time provides sensory experiences by allowing your baby to explore textures and surfaces from a different perspective.
  • Bonding Opportunity—This activity offers a great time for parents to bond with their baby. Making tummy time fun and engaging can enhance emotional connections.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination—Reaching for toys and looking around during tummy time helps improve your baby’s hand-eye coordination and visual skills.

The huge benefits of tummy time are essential for keeping your baby on track with their muscle growth and movement. When prioritized and done daily, you can see your baby begin to show more control over their movements and become stronger overall.

Tummy Time Basics

when do you start tummy time

BAZA Production/

For new parents with their first newborn, you may feel overwhelmed with new information about how to take care of your baby.

When it comes to tummy time, don’t fret. Below are the important basics to help you understand why tummy time is beneficial and how it works.

When Should My Baby Start Tummy Time?

Begin tummy time as soon as your baby is home from the hospital. Early start aids muscle development and motor skills.

It’s to start with short and supervised sessions.

Start with two to three sessions each day. Gradually increase the duration as your baby gets comfortable.

Supervision is crucial for safety; observe your baby closely.

Frequently adjust their position to keep it enjoyable. Incorporate tummy time into daily routines for consistency.

Early and consistent practice helps your baby achieve important milestones. Remember, your presence reassures and motivates them. Tummy time boosts overall development, laying a strong foundation for their growth journey.

Avoid doing tummy time directly after you feed your baby, as this can cause discomfort, resulting in crying or vomiting.

How Long Should You Do Tummy Time?

how to do tummy time with newborn


You should do tummy time for at least one hour per day by the time your baby is three months old.

To gradually build up to at least an hour of tummy time per day, start slow and steady. Begin with a few minutes of tummy time several times a day when your baby is a newborn. This builds your baby’s strength without overwhelming them.

As your baby grows more comfortable, gradually increase the duration of these sessions. Eventually, you’ll have built up to longer periods of tummy time.

Breaking up tummy time into small increments throughout the day makes it more manageable. If your baby seems fussy or tired, give them a break and try again later. The key is consistency and gradually extending the time they spend on their tummy.

How Often Should You Do Tummy Time?

when to do tummy time

Onjira Leibe/

Your baby should have tummy time every day. If it is a challenge to have a full session, break it up into several short sessions, and gradually increase the time as your baby gets stronger.

Consistency is crucial. It’s best to try to incorporate it into daily routines, like after diaper changes or naps. Aim to make tummy time a regular activity.

With regular practice, your baby will gain significant benefits from this fundamental exercise.

Tummy Time Schedule by Age

tummy time newborn

Here’s a table that outlines recommended tummy time by age (weeks and months):

Age Tummy Time Duration & Frequency
0-2 weeks Start with 1–2 minutes per session, 2–3 times a day
2-4 weeks Increase to 3–5 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
1 month 5–10 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
2 months 10–20 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
3 months 20–30 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
4 months 30–40 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
5 months 40–60 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
6 months 60–90 minutes per session, 3–4 times a day
7-8 months 90+ minutes per session, 3–4 times a day, as tolerated
9 months and up Continue with 90+ minutes per session, integrating more play and interaction during tummy time

At What Age Should Baby Stop Tummy Time?

tummy time age

Tomsickova Tatyana/

Determining when to stop tummy time shouldn’t be based solely on age but on your baby’s physical milestones.

Once your baby starts crawling, they naturally engage their muscles similarly to tummy time. Look for key skills, such as rolling over comfortably, lifting their head without difficulty, and using their arms to push up.

Another indicator is when your baby can sit up independently. This milestone shows core strength and balance, often developed through consistent tummy time. Even when your baby begins crawling, occasional tummy time remains beneficial for muscle coordination and further development.

Remember, tummy time can evolve into other activities. You can encourage your baby to play on their tummy while reaching for toys or exploring their surroundings. The goal is to maintain these physical activities to continue supporting their growth and development.

Usually, infants can end tummy time between 9 and 11 months old, but don’t count on the months to tell you when it’s time to stop.

Read also: Guide to Baby’s First Steps: When Do Babies Start Walking?

Tummy Time by Age: Tips and Activities

tummy time chart by age

Zoia Kostina/

As your baby develops and grows muscle strength, tummy time will look different from month to month, especially when it comes to the types of activities they can do.

Tummy Time at Each Month

Tummy time will look a bit different from the first month to the ninth month of your baby’s life. Each stage brings new skills and tummy time exercises, making tummy time an essential part of their daily routine.

Below is a chart to reference for month-by-month tummy time progression milestones:

  • First Month—Short, gentle tummy time sessions that last a few minutes
  • Second Month—Your baby can lift their head briefly
  • Third MonthLandau reflex development allowing babies to lift their heads and arch their backs with extended legs
  • Fourth Month—Baby will start pushing up on their forearms
  • Fifth Month—Expect to see more head control and some arm reaching
  • Sixth Month—Baby may start rolling over
  • Seventh Month—Baby may begin to pivot to reach for toys
  • Eighth Month—Baby can push up onto their hands and knees, preparing to crawl
  • Ninth Month—Some babies may crawl during tummy time and explore their surroundings

These are general milestones to look for as your baby practices tummy time daily during the first year of life.

Tummy Time Tips and Activities

what is tummy time


Incorporating tummy time into your daily routine means making it something to look forward to for both baby and parent. This time, while important for development, should be fun, engaging, and entertaining. It is also a great time for parents to bond with their little ones.

Below are some activities to try with your baby during tummy time:

  • Tummy-to-Tummy—Lay down and place your baby on your chest or tummy. Engage them with smiles and gentle talk. This position helps to comfort and encourage bonding.
  • Tummy-to-Chest—Hold your baby against your chest while you recline in a chair or lie down. The skin-to-skin contact is comforting.
  • Eye-Level Smile—Place your baby on a blanket and get down to their level. Encourage them by smiling, making funny faces, or showing them colorful toys.
  • Tummy Down Carry or Football Hold—Hold your baby face down along your forearm, supporting their head and back. Walk around and explore the house to keep them entertained.
  • Lap Soothe—Sit with your legs crossed and lay your baby across your lap, tummy down. Rub their back to soothe them.
  • Interactive Play—Introduce soft and textured toys during tummy time. Items with different textures or those that make noise can keep your baby engaged.
  • Sensory Experience—Use sensory mats with various textures and colors to make tummy time fun and interesting. Babies love exploring new sensations.

Some helpful tips for parents to ensure tummy time is effective and beneficial for their little ones include:

  • Always supervise your baby during tummy time to ensure their safety.
  • Start tummy time as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital.
  • Begin with a few minutes and gradually increase the duration as your baby gets comfortable.
  • Engage your baby with toys, sounds, and your own presence to keep them interested and happy.
  • Use different surfaces like your chest, lap, or arm to provide variety and comfort.
  • Set up tummy time in a safe and comfortable space for you and your baby.
  • Avoid doing tummy time immediately after feeding your baby to avoid vomiting.

Visit the Child Development Calendar section and add it to your bookmarks! We have prepared helpful guides for parents on their child’s monthly development. You’ll definitely find them useful!

Why Does My Baby Hate Tummy Time? What Can I Do About It?

when to do tummy time

Alena Ozerova/

It’s common for babies to dislike tummy time initially. They might feel uncomfortable or find it challenging to lift their heads. Some babies cry or get fussy because they’re not used to the position. It’s essentially a new exercise that requires effort and strength.

However, there are ways to make tummy time more enjoyable:

  • Start Slow—Begin with short sessions, just a minute or two, and gradually increase the time.
  • Use Toys—Place colorful toys or a mirror in front of your infant to capture their interest.
  • Get Down with Them—Lie on the floor face-to-face with your baby, offering them comfort and encouragement.
  • Make it Part of Your Routine —Consistency helps. Incorporate tummy time into your daily schedule and activities, like after diaper changes.
  • Change the Scenery—A different mat or a new spot in the house can make a big difference.
  • Tummy-to-Tummy—Lie back with your baby on your chest. This can make them feel more secure.
  • Monitor Comfort—Make sure the surface is soft and the room is warm to avoid discomfort.

With patience and creativity, your baby will gradually adapt to tummy time, making it a fun and beneficial part of their daily routine.

Get the Most Out of Tummy Time with Your Baby

Tummy time isn’t just important for your baby’s muscle development, it is also a great opportunity to bond with your baby and make great memories together.

With helpful tips and fun activities, you can put your baby on track for success when it comes to their strength, motor skills, and coordination.

If you found this article helpful and interesting, feel free to share it with other new or soon-to-be parents to make sure they understand the importance and benefits of tummy time! 


how to do tummy time

Nina Buday/

When should you start tummy time?

You can start tummy time when your newborn gets home from the hospital.

What happens if you don’t do tummy time?

Your baby could fall behind in crucial muscular and movement development, affecting their motor skills.

How long to do tummy time at two weeks?

At two weeks old, your baby should be able to do 15 minutes of tummy time per day. This can be broken up into shorter multiple sessions throughout the day.

What should tummy time look like at two months?

At two months, your baby should be able to do almost one hour of tummy time daily. They may also begin to lift their head briefly.

The picture on the front page: FamVeld/

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