What is Tummy Time & When to Start?

Did you know?

  • Tummy Time should begin as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital.
  • Tummy Time is essential for infants’ core, motor, and sensory development and achievement of milestones.
  • Helps improve neck and head control, and strengthens back, shoulder muscles, and core
  • Prevents flat spots on baby’s head
  • Promotes motor and sensory development

Visual Examples of Tummy Time 


Birth to 3 Months

Focus on getting baby used to tummy time. Start with a few minutes, a few times a day until it becomes part of baby’s daily routine.

Lap Soothe
Lie baby face down across your lap when holding or burping. Place a hand on baby’s bottom to help calm them.

Eye Level Smile
Encourage eye contact by getting down at baby’s level. A blanket can be rolled up and placed under baby’s chest for support.

Tummy to Tummy
Place baby on your chest or tummy so that baby is face to face with you. Lay down flat or propped up on pillows. Always hold firmly for safety.

Tummy Down Carry Slide
One hand between baby’s legs and stomach. Use other hand to support baby’s head and neck. Nestle baby close to you for comfort and support.

3 Months
Work on getting a total of an hour of Tummy Time daily.

Practice Tummy Time in small time increments:

  • Use toys to encourage head turning and visual tracking.
  • Practice after nappy changes or bathing so it becomes routine.

6 Months
Baby’s neck and trunk strength continue to develop through regular Tummy Time

Baby Push Ups
Place hands under baby’s chest and tummy. Use gentle lifting cues to get baby to push up on hands for brief periods.

Reach ‘n Roll Play
Encourage baby to practice rolling and moving while on their tummy:
• Use toys to motivate baby to reach and rotate on their tummy to get the toy

Source: Pathways.org and Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne).

If you need additional support and help with tummy time, contact your Maternal Health Nurse or local paediatric physiotherapist. 

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