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Mastering Tummy Time: Expert Tips

Mastering Tummy Time: Expert Tips

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Babies move to learn. When they can get around easily, they can explore and learn more about the world around them. As soon as your baby is born, they’re primed to be on the go, but they need to build up their strength first. Enter tummy time – because it’s never too early for push-ups! 

Here’s our guide to the position that’s vital for supporting your child to develop strong neck, back and arm muscles so they can learn to sit up, crawl and walk.


charlie crane tami playmat for tummy time 


What Is Tummy Time For Babies?

Tummy time is getting your baby to spend some time lying and playing on their front to keep them active. Experts recommend doing this two or three times a day for one to five minutes each time.

When practicing tummy time, your baby is using their neck, trunk and shoulder muscles as well as their hands to start pushing themselves up to look around, enabling your little one to gain a new perspective on their world.

These muscles are also key to developing the fine motor skills they’ll need for holding a pencil as well as using scissors and a computer keyboard. 


Why Do Babies Need Tummy Time?

The concept of tummy time gained attention in the 1990s in response to the life-saving Back to Sleep campaign (now the Safe to Sleep campaign). 

The campaign significantly reduced cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but as more parents put their babies to sleep on their backs, instances of positional plagiocephaly (a treatable condition where babies develop flat patches on their heads) increased.

Popping your baby on their stomach when awake therefore helps prevent flattening of the head as well as toning those neck, trunk, shoulder and hand muscles. 

Babies may also spend less time on their fronts these days because of the evolution of car seats that also function as carriers. There’s no need to worry about using any of this gear – it’s well designed, safe and convenient – but do limit the time your baby spends in them. Ensuring they get plenty of tummy time is one way to manage this!


What Age Should My Baby Start Tummy Time?

Right now! Your newborn baby will benefit straight away. A great way to ease into tummy time gently is by lying down on your back and placing your baby on their front on your tummy or chest. That way they remain close to your warm and familiar body and are able to watch your face.


newborn baby tummy time


Your baby can continue to practice tummy time throughout their first year. Place your little one on a flat, firm surface. Arrange their hands out at the sides to support themselves. Stay nearby, chatting, encouraging and telling them how well they’re doing.

Is Tummy Time Necessary?

There’s no evidence to suggest that your baby won’t get into Harvard because you didn’t give them enough tummy time. Different cultures give their infants varied physical experiences – such as the central Asian community who bind babies and toddlers into their cradles – yet they all end up crawling, running and jumping. 

Tummy time is beneficial, but so are lots of other positions. The main takeaway is: don’t overly worry about it, particularly if your baby hates it! Variety is the spice of life, after all. 

When they’re awake, simply cut down the amount of time your little one spends on their back. Popping them on their side or holding them upright is great for head control. Rock or swing your baby to help them enjoy different positions and appreciate movement. 


How To Make Tummy Time Fun

Encourage your baby to get the most out of tummy time by getting down there with them!

Start them off on your chest or your lap until they grow in confidence. 

Once your little one’s a bit more used to the position, place them on one of our comfy, colorful play tummy time mats. The Aden & Anais baby bonding playmat is perfect – there’s plenty of room for both of you and cute animal characters attached to look at together.


aden + anais tummy time play mat

Next, entertain, entertain, entertain! Bring some tummy time toys – we like Sophie the Giraffe because she doubles as a teether – sing, make silly noises or read a story. Make your little one want to lift up that head and take in the fascinating world around them.


Why Does My Baby Hate Tummy Time?

At first, tummy time isn't much fun! Imagine it from your baby’s point of view. They’ve got a face full of floor, they can’t see you and making the effort to do that is HARD. 

Don’t immediately pick them up if they start to cry. Give them 30 seconds and then build up. Make it more pleasant by rubbing their back, singing to them and comforting them with soothing words. Add coziness with a padded play mat or blanket – we love this quilted one from Crane Baby.

Or, prop them up so they can see what’s going on, with a Snuggle Me tummy time pillow or a baby nest specially designed for supervised play, like this Skip Hop baby lounger.


Remember that it’s good for all of us – babies and adults alike – to be pushed out of our comfort zones and practice some things that are a little bit hard. Resilience – now that’s a life skill to take forward!

Boost their development with our range of soft, sensory and stimulating playmats and activity gyms

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