Tummy time

Many moms know to place newborns on their backs when it’s time to sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffer from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

But babies still need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles. Your baby needs these muscles for when she learns to sit up on her own, roll over and crawl. The best way to help strengthen your baby’s muscles is to give her some tummy time while she’s awake.

Your baby can begin tummy time when she’s a few days old. When your baby is awake, lie on your back and place your baby on your chest so she can see your face. You also can try laying your baby across your lap lengthwise while helping to support her head. Try giving your baby tummy time for 3 to 5 minutes for about 2 or 3 times each day. At first, your baby may struggle to raise her head for longer than a few seconds. But as your baby strengthens her muscles, she can hold her head up for longer periods of time.

As your baby gets older and stronger, place her on a blanket on the floor. Motivate her by bringing yourself down to her eye level so she can look at you. You can also try placing a rattle or other attractive toy in front of her to get her attention. 

As with all baby activities, keep a close watch on her and never leave your baby unattended. If your baby gets tired or falls asleep, place her to sleep on her back in her crib.


Last reviewed: December, 2013

Many moms know to place newborns on their backs when it’s time to sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to suffer from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

But babies still need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles. Your baby needs these muscles for when she learns to sit up on her own, roll over and crawl. The best way to help strengthen your baby’s muscles is to give her some tummy time while she’s awake.

Your baby can begin tummy time when she’s a few days old. When your baby is awake, lie on your back and place your baby on your chest so she can see your face. You also can try laying your baby across your lap lengthwise while helping to support her head. Try giving your baby tummy time for 3 to 5 minutes for about 2 or 3 times each day. At first, your baby may struggle to raise her head for longer than a few seconds. But as your baby strengthens her muscles, she can hold her head up for longer periods of time.

As your baby gets older and stronger, place her on a blanket on the floor. Motivate her by bringing yourself down to her eye level so she can look at you. You can also try placing a rattle or other attractive toy in front of her to get her attention. 

As with all baby activities, keep a close watch on her and never leave your baby unattended. If your baby gets tired or falls asleep, place her to sleep on her back in her crib.


Last reviewed: December, 2013