The Importance of Tummy Time

Tummy time is playtime on baby’s stomach, when the baby is awake and being supervised.

Why is tummy time important? It helps baby:

  • Learn more movement
  • Increase self-confidence and independence
  • Learn to crawl, roll over, and walk
  • Develop basic milestones, including sitting up
  • Strengthen neck and stomach muscles

It also prevents babies from developing a flat head and provides a break from being on their backs.


  • An infant needs to be awake and on its tummy several times a day, at least 1-2 minutes at a time. Watch baby the whole time.
  • Schedule tummy time into baby’s day, like after each feeding, diaper change, or naptime.
  • However, always put the baby to sleep on his back to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Start tummy time in the first week home from the hospital. A good way to start is by placing baby on parent’s chest.

  • Lie on your back. Put baby’s face down on your chest and start talking. Baby will try to look up at your face.
  • Lie baby on tummy on a soft mat. Place age appropriate toys just out of reach.
  • Baby will learn to reach for the toys. Reaching forward and reaching to the side are both good exercises.
  • Stay down on the floor with your baby. Talk or sing while baby is playing.

Increase tummy time to several minutes, several times a day.