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Tummy Time


  • The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that babies should sleep on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • When babies are old enough to roll onto their tummy, there is no need to wake them to readjust their position
  • When awake, it is very important that babies have supervised tummy time to encourage their development

Benefits of Tummy Time

  • Encourages babies to push up on their hands and arms
  • Develops strong muscles in the baby's tummy, chest, shoulders, arms and hands
  • Develops balance important for rolling, crawling, sitting and walking
  • Prevents positional plagiocephaly (flattening of their head)

Strategies to Encourage Tummy Time

Start supervised tummy time soon after birth, so your baby will become used to, and be comfortable in this position. Here are some ideas for positioning baby for tummy time:

0-6 months:Hold your baby on your chest facing you

  • Hold your baby on your chest facing you
  • Lie on your back with your baby's tummy on your chest, and talk or sing to your baby
  • Lie baby on a firm surface, such as a change table or the floor
  • Younger babies need more support during floor time
  • Hold your baby across your lap
  • Hold an object like a mirror or toy in front of her face to provide stimulation
  • Lie down on the floor beside your baby and talk to her
  • After diaper changes, babies can be rolled onto their tummy to play peek-a-boo
  • To help babies lift their head, use supports such as rolled up towel, blanket, or pillow under their arms or you may lay your baby across your lap

6-9 months:Hold your baby in a suspended (airplane) position above your chest

At this stage babies should be ready to spend most of their floor time on their tummy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Lie down in front of your baby to provide social interaction
  • Encourage your baby to roll by extending the arm closest to the floor up and over the head
  • Move your baby's toys a little distance away to encourage your baby to roll, pivot in circles, creep or crawl
  • Hold your baby in a suspended (airplane) position above your chest if you are lying down or above your head if you are standing up


Babies develop from the head down. As babies grow older, they should spend longer periods on their tummy. Remember babies can become bored quite easily. When a baby becomes fussy, it is time to switch to a new activity. Here are some other activities you could try:

  • Put baby in a sling or baby carrier or simply hold your baby

Babies may spend no more than 30 minutes daily*:

  • In a swing, car seat, or bouncer chair,
  • Lying on their back with an activity

   Avoid*: Jumpers & Exersaucers

These pieces of equipment promote stiffening of the legs and toe pointing, which may interfere with normal walking. Putting babies on their feet too early interferes with their shoulder and chest development.

*Overuse of these activities may interfere with or delay a baby's sensory and motor development