Tummy Time: What is it? What’s the point?

Placing baby on their stomach while they’re awake, or to play and under supervision, is what Tummy Time is. Those first moments when you have skin-to-skin and have baby on your belly is even considered tummy time! It’s the start of where your baby will learn all of their important milestones by helping develop their neck, shoulder, and back muscles.

When should I start tummy time with my newborn?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tummy time should be started from the day they are brought home. The sooner the better, because it takes them a tad bit to get used to and be okay with for longer than 2-5 minutes. However, you can start with them whenever you feel you and your baby are ready. My L&D nurse advised against tummy time until my daughter’s umbilical cord stump fell off. I felt no pressure to start any sooner.

Starting when I did made no difference as far as motor development goes. At 3.5 months my daughter is a tummy time pro and can even roll belly-to-back and back-to-belly. Like previously stated, really just start when you and baby are comfortable and ready. Babies learn at their own pace, so do not feel discouraged.

When she was a newborn she couldn’t do much which always bored her, but this light-up keyboard future with music always put her at ease and helped her tolerate it more and more each day and taught her a sense of awareness.

How long should baby do tummy time for?

To start out, it’s best to have about 30 minutes of tummy time a day spread out throughout the day in 3-5 minute intervals. You can aim for more time, the more the better, but let’s be honest. You’re lucky if they can handle 3 minutes without practically suffocating themself. Gradually increase the amount of time as baby grows the liking for it.

The best time to do tummy time:

Nalani, my daughter, loves to do tummy time when she wakes up or when she just gets her diaper changed. That’s the best time to initiate tummy time, according to her pediatrician. I also noticed it’s the best time because they are more awake, alert, and very responsive.

Try to do tummy time as much as baby will allow. It helps prevent flat spots (plagiocephaly) on their head from forming by eliminating the time they would be spending in a bouncer, swing, pack-and-play, bassinet, crib, any situation on their back, or car seat.

How can I make tummy time easier so my baby stops hating it?

Make tummy time solely their time. Engage with your baby, talk, and play. Show them they have you along the way, and it helps them feel less uneasy. Just the sight of my phone would instantly interrupt our session, she wanted me 100%. Of course after building up her tolerance to tummy time, Nalani grew to love it.

At 3.5 months I’m proud to say she can hold her head upright confidently, look side to side, reach and grab things, and now roll back-to-belly and belly-to-back. It’s easily achievable and baby will love, and grow with it!

When they’ve had enough, pick them up. I usually allow Nalani to get a tad bit riled up, not crying, before picking her up, because sometimes she’s just repositioning herself and relaxes. I like to see what she’s capable of alone, but judge and act on your situation.

Spacing small sessions out throughout the day is what will help them get used to it. Babies get tired very easily, it’s practically a workout for them, so when they’re done, they’re done. You just need to be patient. As they grow and learn to lift their head it becomes easier for them, and they have more interest in being on their stomach and all the new things with it.

Invest in a tummy time mat

Investing in a quality mat has to be the easiest way to engage with baby from newborn to 3 mos.

My favorite is Fisher-Prices Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym, with a 5-star rating on Amazon, priced extremely affordable and it’s a #1 Best Seller! Having 4 ways to play: Lay & Play, Tummy Time, Sit & Play, and Take along, your baby will grow and learn with this for years! I chose the pretty pink one for my daughter, but this is also available in a gender-neutral color, making the perfect gift for a mom-to-be. Don’t forget to add this to your baby registry. The Oh Baby Pregnancy Planner will make sure you don’t miss a thing!

My daughters mat

This mat makes engaging with your baby so much easier with all of the colorful and interactive toys! It has a moderately cushioned mat to place baby on that in addition, can be cleaned with ease considering it’s machine-washable.

The mat even has loops to reposition toys from the, also repositional, toy bar depending on where baby is playing. With the three different modes to align with baby’s development, this mat helps promote sensory development as well with all of the exciting songs, sounds, colors, different texture, and self-discovery mirror.

Having the Large, 5 light-up key keyboard helps keep baby wondering and engaged as they kick and play along with the song, making them be able to tolerate being on their bellies longer. My daughter loves this mat and at 3.5 months goes on it multiple times a day with each session lasting 30-45 minutes!

This mat is literally the only thing that will give my arms a break most days, or let me take a breath and freely eat with both of my hands! I can’t stress how much this helps promote sensory and motor development. I have this mat to thank why Nalani is so active, strong, and progressing day by day immensely.

9 Months and counting, Nalani still can not get enough of this mat! We repositioned the toy bar by the piano, and lifted the piano using its purple knobs on each side within seconds. This tummy time mat is huge considering her age/size growth and is in great condition still considering it is used EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Best buy ever!

Nalani choosing her tummy time mat over the new piano (right upper corner) she got lol.

Things to remember:

You are not alone, and it will take time for your baby to be fond of being on their stomach. Once you get past the tears and see their progress you’ll be happy you stuck to it.

Disclosure: Some posts on this site may or may not contain affiliate links. View our Privacy and Disclosure page for more info.