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Tummy Time for Babies

Your baby has to have time on their tummy so they can develop the strength and skills they will need for crawling, walking and using their hands.

Professionals in child health recommend that babies sleep on their backs because of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This does not mean, however, that a baby should never be on their tummy when awake. Babies need their tummy time!

The best place to lay a baby is on a clean, firm surface like a playpen mat on the floor where they are safe and can't roll off from any height. Be careful with blankets and quilts as they can bunch up and block the baby's breathing and keep them from moving freely. 

You should be watching nearby. Some of this watching can be indirect as babies do a lot of their best learning and developing when it seems no one is watching them. If your baby gets tired and falls asleep, you can roll them gently onto their back to sleep.

A baby should spend lots of playtime on their tummy so that they can learn to:

  • Hold up their head and get strong enough to turn their head from side to side
  • Get up on their elbows
  • Get up on their hands with straight arms
  • Roll from their tummy to their back
  • Roll from their back to their tummy
  • Shift the weight of their body so they can hold them self on one elbow and reach for toys
  • Shift the weight of their body from side to side so they can commando crawl forward on their tummy
  • Pull up on their knees and balance
  • Pull up their knees and rock on hands and knees
  • Shift their weight again and creep forward on those bent knees and strong straight arms … and crawling on all fours.

We all want babies to be safe and to do as our doctors advise, but they simply want babies to sleep on their backs. Playing on their tummies is not just fine - it's important to their development.

Watch this video: 

Tummy Time


Tummy Time (PDF 381.54KB)
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