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Importance of Tummy Time for Babies' Development


baby lying on tummy with toy


Tummy time - lying on their tummies or sides while they're awake - is important for babies' healthy development. You can put your baby on the floor, on a safe firm surface, on your lap or on your chest - whatever works best for you.

Your baby requires supervised tummy time several times a day to:

  • prevent flat spots on the head called positional plagiocephaly
  • make the neck, back and arm muscles stronger
  • help your baby learn to roll and crawl
  • support your baby’s overall development

Some babies like being on their tummies but many dislike it at first. You may have to help your baby learn to enjoy tummy time.

Here are some tips:

  • Start tummy time when your baby is a newborn.
  • Set tummy time for after every diaper change. Add one minute of tummy time each day. If your baby gets very upset, increase the time more slowly.
  • Talk, sing to and comfort your baby. Try to comfort your baby.
  • Massage his back, arms, or legs. Gently touch or stroke her.
  • Give your baby interesting things to look at, such as brightly coloured toys or a mirror. Get down on the floor so your baby can see your face.
  • You can also roll up a towel and put it under your baby’s chest with his arms propped up in front for support. Put your hand under your baby's chin to support the head until your baby is strong enough to do it independently. 

Your baby only needs to be on his or her back when sleeping. While awake, your baby should be held, loved and played with. Supervised tummy time is a very important part of your baby’s day.

Resources & Links:
Leap BC's guide: Move with Me from Birth to Three
HealthLink BC: Physical Development, Ages 1 to 12 Months

Last Updated: August 13, 2013