Tummy Time: When To Start And What To Do

Are you wondering when to start tummy time, or wondering what to even do for tummy time? We will help you and your baby get started, and give you tips on what to do if your little one hates tummy time.

You have your baby home from the hospital. Now the learning really begins. You have millions of questions running through your tired exhausted head. One question in particular may be, “When do I start tummy time?” 

If you haven’t heard of tummy time, you don’t know what to do during tummy time, or you don’t even know where to begin with tummy time, don’t worry, we will cover all of that for you. We want to make your new life as easy as possible so, this post will get you started with one very important part of your newborn’s development.

Pin and save this post for when you’re baby is ready to do tummy time!

when to start tummy time

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How soon can you start tummy time

Tummy time is one of those things that the sooner you do it the better. The more they are exposed to it the more they get used to it and start not minding tummy time. So, that means your newborn can start doing tummy time from they day they get home.

How often should you do tummy time

In the beginning, you want to start off slow. You can have your baby practice being on their tummy for a few minutes at a time and work your way up. 

Your baby may cry and hate it, but that is completely normal. I know it’s hard to hear your baby cry, so just do it a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. They will eventually go longer and longer and not cry anymore, they will start to love tummy time. 

There are milestones to look for to see your baby’s progress, and know if they are on the right track. We will go over that soon. 

when to start tummy time

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Tummy Time Moves

Tummy to Tummy or Chest to Chest

This techniques is great for when your baby is extremely fussy, or maybe gassy and it hurts to lay on his or her tummy. It’s also a great way to bond with each other. Have your baby lay on your chest or tummy and talk and make noises; this will encourage your baby to try to look up and lift their head.

Tummy Down Carry

Place your arm under your baby with one leg on each side, supporting their stomach with your forearm. Use your other arm to support your baby’s head and for extra support kind of like a football. This makes tummy time a little more fun. You can use this as an alternative to carrying your baby upright. It’s an easy way to get some tummy time in when your baby wants held. 

Lap Time

Place your baby on your lap with their tummy on your lap. Another fun way to do tummy time and a fun way to bond. Your baby will love this one and make them laugh. Gives them a different perspective of the room, great for their brain development.

Eye Level Bonding

Place your baby on the floor or your bed, and get down to their level and make eye contact. This will prompt them to lift their head and look at you. You can talk, sing, make funny noises or dangle a toy in front of them to help encourage them to move their head. You can move from side to side as well to get them working on moving their heads from side to side. 

Tummy Minutes

This is the basic tummy time move. This is a good way to start them getting used to doing tummy time as well, and for you to get stuff done while they are on the floor playing and learning. https://www.youtube.com/embed/M3rCtW9DMD4

Tummy time milestones


The first few weeks have your baby do tummy time on your chest or stomach is their favorite way to do tummy time. They can hear your heart beat again, soak in your smells and feel comforted in your arms. Singing to them and talking to them will trigger their brain that they want to look up at you. Eventually they will get the strength to. 

One Month

 At this point they will start to turn their head. Having them on the floor and putting a toy in front of them will really get them to do this. They will try to lift their head at this point. You can help them by putting a boppy pillow or a rolled up blanket under them. 

 2 Months

They are getting used to tummy time at this point. Not fussing over being on the floor, at least as much. They maybe slowly lifting their head. They might tilt it to one side and leave it there. You can help them by slowly moving their head for them or placing a toy they like on their other side to get them to try to move it. This will ensure the muscles on both sides are strengthening.

when to start tummy time

3 Months

 Your baby maybe lifting their head about 45 degrees off the floor with more control. They are able to put their hands in front of them and us their forearms as support. Their forearms are still flat on the ground and elbows behind their shoulders. 

They are able to go longer on the floor doing tummy time, about one hour each day spread out throughout the day. Also able to move their head while a toys is moving in front of them. 

 4 Months

They have a lot more control now with their head. Should be able to lift their head about 90 degrees and keep it centered. They can push on their forearms lifting their chest off the ground. They are able to follow their toy, voices, and faces in the direction they are. 

 5 Months

They can fully push their chest off the floor with straight elbows. May start to reach out for toys to grab them.

 6 Months

By this time your baby is loving tummy time. It gives them the ability to play. They may start to roll from stomach to back and back to stomach. They may even move in circles on the floor using their arms and feet to move on the floor, while on their stomach. 

Benefits of starting tummy time

Tummy time is extremely important for newborns. Having your baby on their tummy will build their neck, shoulder, arm, and back muscles. This gives them the ability to start crawling, walking and promotes motor skills. 

While your baby is very small it is important that your baby sleeps on it’s back, to avoid your baby being suffocated. So, that being said it a must that your baby is supervised in the beginning stages while they are doing tummy time. Their necks are still weak and if they try to turn their head they might not be able to turn it all the way, blocking of their air pathways. 

tummy time milestones

You started tummy time and your baby hates it

Almost every baby hates tummy time. My middle child would scream and wouldn’t stop until I would pick him up. It is really hard to just let your baby cry, but just know that doing tummy time is important for them to do.

You don’t need to leave them on the floor and ignor the fact that they are crying, that would be horrible. No, you can either try doing tummy time for a few minutes at a time. You can get on the floor with them, or like I mentioned before, doing tummy time on your chest or stomach. 

Make tummy time a daily routine. Babies strive on routines, and if you start making tummy time a regular daily routine they will know what to expect and they will get used to it. 

You can also make it fun with having them play on a fun mat and having fun toys for them to look at and stimulate their movements. 

Toys to help your baby start tummy time

Glow and Discover Light Bar 

Fun activity and great way to stimulate thier brain. This has three different sounds, animals, colors  and xylophone. Amazing learning toys for your growing baby, even includes three different languages- English, Spanish and French. So, it’s great for tummy time and learning. 

Floor Activity Mirror

Babies love to look in the mirror. It stimulates their brain so much and helps them recognize themselves. This mirror is great because there are small activities atttached the the mirror including high contrast flashcards to support cognitive development. The cards have a car seat ring so you can attach and bring them with you everywhere. 

Rattle And Rock

Rattles are great for your babies brain develoment. This would be perfect for when they are starting to learn to move their heads from side to side, just rattle to get them to look at the toy. When they are bigger they will love to play with these, so it’ll be good for a long time use. 

Pop And Glow Piano

This is a fun piano for your baby. When they hit the keys it lights up and characters pop up. Fun brain stimulating and motor gross toy. Perfect for tummy time and sitting up. 

Tummy Time Sensory Book

The perfect first book for your baby. This make tummy time fun all while developing their motor skills and sensory skills. Comes with a baby mirror, crinkly pages with black and white one image pages to avoid over stimulation, but still supports thier growth.

The best tummy time pillow so your baby loves tummy time

Vtech Tummy Time Pillows

A super fun pillow for your baby to help get them to enjoy tummy time. This pillow gives them the support and helps they need during tummy time, plus fun learning toys that are attached to the pillow. Also great for entertainment while traveling. 

Baby Tummy Time Pillow

An ergonomic pillow that helps support your baby’s chest and lets their arms move freely. Comes with attachable toy so they can play and learn. 

Prop-A-Pillar Tummy Time Pillow

This pillow is super cute and fun for your baby. This pillow is adjustable when they are little. They can use it for tummy time, then when they are starting to learn to sit they can use it as a pillow to learn. The pillow folds out into a caterpillar and then coils up into a little seat. Then when they are toddlers it can be their favorite stuffed animal. 

Pello Luxe

This pillow is so comfortable and grows with your baby. It’s made with a soft center that makes your baby feel cuddled and secure. Can use this pillow for tummy time and getting them to learn to sit up. As they start to move it can become a fun play mat to play on. You older child can use it to lounge in while watching TV, reading or whatever they’d like. 

Bright Starts

This is a unique pillow to get your baby to start tummy time. It is a multi use pillow that comes with a nursing pillow that can be used for mom to do tummy time with baby. Comes with an insert for baby to lay on or use for tummy time. The bigger pillow can be used to support baby in the sitting position. The pillow also plays soothing music and white noise and nature sounds. 

Start tummy time on one of these mats your baby will love

Splashin’ Kids

This safe inflatable splash pad will keep your little one busy and loving tummy time. Has fun graphics that will help your baby’s eye-hand corrdination. This mat is great for strengthening your baby’s neck, shoulders, core, and even their fine motor and social skills. 

Mr. Ray Ocean Lights Activity Mat

This mat is the funnest mat I’ve ever seen. Your baby can feel like they are in the ocean swimming with the fish. A fun sting ray canopy that lights up. All the Finding Nemo characters hanging for fun sensory development. With 20 minutes of ocean themed melodies, and a fun Dory finger puppet. 

Tummy Time Prop and Play

This is a cute koala tummy time mat that will make it fun for you baby and keep them entertained. There are fun toys for them to play with and encourage them to move thier head and body. 

Silver Lining Cloud

This mat is a soft comfortable mat with different textures for sensory development. They can lay on the mat for tummy time, or their back to play with the toys that hang. There is a musical sheep, light up star, cloud squeaker, bird rattle, and baby safe mirror. When your baby is a little bigger and sitting the arches come off and turns into a fun play mat. 

 Musical Play Mat and Outdoor Gym

This mat is a complete baby development mat. It builds your baby’s shoulder, back, arm and core muscles, while it stimulates their visual and auditory skills. It comes with toys and a driving car that your baby can practice reaching and grabbing and moving the car. It plays music as well, to enhance their auditory. You can roll it up and bring it anywhere with you.

Ball Pit Play Gym

This mat is unique. Your baby is able to do tummy time while playing. When your child is older and a toddler they can still use it as a ball pit. This will keep your little one busy for hours throughout the years. 

Littlter Critters Musical Gym

This mat is full of fun stimuating activities. They can be on thier tummy and reach for the colorful buttons which is great for building muscles, congnitive development, and fine motor skills. You can also have them lay on their back and play with the toys hanging, while their feet kick the piano. That is great for strengthening their legs, and congitive growth also. 

Fortstart Kick and Play

This tummy time mat grows with your baby. It has a lot of activities to enhance their development- congnitive and growth. This mat has a piano they can play with their hands or use it to kick and build their leg muscles. As your baby grows it can turn into a play mat to help them learn to sit up, and then they can use the arch to learn how to stand. 

We hope this helps you feel more comfortable with doing tummy time with your little baby.This time is so fun to watch your baby grow and learn new things.

 Please share this post with your mom friends who are moms to be or new moms.

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