What is tummy time?

Tummy time is the time your baby spends lying on their tummy. It a great way for you and your baby to interact together. It also helps your baby build strength in the muscles in their neck, shoulders and upper back.

What are the best places to do tummy time?

You can do tummy time in many places:

  • On your chest
  • Over your arm or lap
  • Propped on an infant pillow
  • While babywearing (when you carry, or wear, your baby in a sling, strap or carrier on your chest or back, depending on your baby’s age)

How long should my baby do tummy time every day?

It can begin with short intervals, such as 2-5 minutes a day. Over time, you can work up to 30 minutes a day. Tummy time can be broken up into smaller sessions throughout the day rather than one long session, depending on what your baby likes.

How to do tummy time

  1. Choose a tummy time spot.
  2. Place your baby on the desired spot on their tummy. Position their hands under their shoulders and tuck both legs under their bottom.
  3. Engage with your baby. Sing and talk to them and make eye contact with them. Place a plastic mirror in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head to look at their reflection.
  4. Help your baby with turning their head side to side. Use a rattle or other toy to encourage them to turn their head.
  5. If your baby gets fussy or when they are ready, slowly roll them out of tummy time position. Tuck one of their arms under their shoulder and slowly roll them off their tummy.

What are the benefits of tummy time?

  • Promotes physical, emotional, social and neurological (brain and nervous system) development of your baby
  • Helps build strength and coordination for rolling over, crawling, reaching and playing
  • Helps your baby develop the optimal head shape by providing opportunities for your baby to offset the pressure on their head. In return, this decreases head flattening (also called positional head molding, a condition in which babies develop a flat spot on the back or on one side of their head).

What are some safety tips to follow during tummy time?

  • Make sure your baby is alert and awake before tummy time
  • Always supervise your baby during tummy time. Make sure their face is clear and that they can breathe easily.
  • Place your baby on safe and firm surface during tummy time.

Rev. 4/2022. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.