Skip to main content

Tummy time for babies

How to keep your baby active and help develop their neck and back muscles by encouraging them to do tummy time several times a day.

Getting your baby to lie and play on their tummy keeps them active. Tummy time helps to strengthen their head, neck and back muscles, and lets them experience feeling on the front of their body.

Your baby needs to be physically active several times each day.

Read more about how play can help your baby's learning and development

A firm and flat surface

Place your baby on a firm and flat surface for tummy time. During the day you can place your baby on their tummy with their hands out at either side to support themselves. You must stay close to your baby while they're in this position.

Always place your baby on their back if they fall asleep during tummy time, to reduce the risk of cot death.

Your baby shouldn't be inactive or in a restricted position for longer than 1 hour, except when sleeping.

Ways to do tummy time

The images and information below has been reproduced from pathways.org.

Here are some ways to put tummy time into your baby's routine.

Tummy-to-tummy

Lie down on the floor, sofa or a bed. You can lie flat or prop yourself up on pillows. Place your baby on your chest or tummy so that you're face-to-face. Always hold your baby firmly for safety.

01_tummytotummy
Tummy to tummy

Eye-level smile

Encourage eye contact by getting down to your baby's level.

You can roll up a blanket and place it under their chest and upper arms for support.

02_EyeLevelSmile
Eye-level smile

Lap soothe

Place your baby face-down across your lap when holding or winding (burping).

Place a hand on your baby's bottom to help calm them.

03_lapsoothe
Lap soothe

Tummy-down carry

Carry your baby 'tummy down'. To do this, slide one hand between your baby's legs and stomach. Use other hand to support baby's head and neck. Nestle your baby close to your body for comfort and support.

04_TummyDown
Tummy down carry

Tummy minute

Place your baby on their tummy for 1 or 2 minutes every time you change them.

05_TummyMinute
Tummy minute

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2018
Next review due: 20/11/2021