Tummy Time: Why It’s Important for Baby

Tummy time is essentially a workout for your baby. It’s crucial to their development and helps your little one to establish the motor skills that eventually lead to crawling. Here’s what tummy time is, how to do it, and tips to encourage it if your baby would rather be face-up.

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is just as it sounds: the time your baby spends lying on their tummy. It’s important for newborns and babies to spend time on their belly while they’re awake in order to develop the neck, back, and shoulder muscles needed to meet infant developmental milestones. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies lie on their back side when they’re sleeping to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies should also spend plenty of time on their front side when they’re awake.

It’s never too early to start tummy time with your little ones. In fact, you can begin this practice as soon as your newborn comes home from the hospital.

How to Practice Tummy Time

Your baby should work up to an hour of tummy time per day by the time they’re 3 months old. Aim to start with a few minutes at a time, several times a day.

Need some tips for getting started? Here are several ways to get your baby accustomed to tummy time:

1. Eye-Level Smile

Place your baby on their Toddleroo by North States Superyard® Folding Play Mat. Get down on the floor and be level with your baby to encourage eye contact. Roll up and place a blanket under the chest and upper arms for added support.

2. Tummy to Tummy or Tummy to Chest

Lie down on the floor or a bed, flat or propped up on pillows. Place baby on your chest or tummy, so that you’re face-to-face. Always hold baby firmly for safety.

3. Tummy-Down Carry or Football Hold

Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Use other hand to support baby’s head and neck. Nestle baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.

Baby on ABC Play Mat
Superyard® Folding ABC Play Mat
Photo credit: Sarah Mattix

4. Lap Soothe

Sit down on the couch or in a chair and place baby face-down across your lap to burp or soothe them. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.

5. Tummy Minute

Place your baby on their tummy for one or two minutes after every diaper change. Start a few minutes at a time and try to work up to an hour a day in shorter intervals by the end of three months.

How to Encourage Tummy Time

Some babies just don’t enjoy tummy time. Here’s how to support and encourage your newborn to learn to love lying on their belly.

1. Place an unbreakable mirror in front of your baby so they can see their own fascinating face.

2. Tempt your baby with enticing toys. Spread them around your little one in a circle so they’ll be tempted to reach for them, which helps develop all of the different muscles necessary to eventually sit up, crawl and walk.

3. Try several shorter stints a day. Aim for just 1 to 2 minutes at a time at first. With practice, your baby will work up to longer belly sessions.

4. Switch up the locations. A change in scenery is sometimes enough to keep tummy time tolerable.

5. Massage their feet. If your baby enjoys it, a baby massage can encourage tummy time.

6. Invite an older sibling to join. Your baby might be feeling the pressure from you — plus a fresh face can make tummy time more interesting. Kids can get down on the floor more easily than adults, and they have more zip in their play when your baby needs an energy boost. Just be sure to keep a close watch on both kids.

Siblings on ABC Play Mat
Siblings on Superyard® Folding ABC Play Mat
Photo credit: Jenn Hallak

Tummy Time Beginner Essential

As your baby spends more time on the ground, it’s best to make sure they’re as comfortable and happy as possible. The Superyard® Folding ABC Play Mat and NEW Superyard® Folding Balloon Ride Play Mat act as a padded cushion on the floor, creating a delightful place for lying, crawling, rolling, tumbling, or just playing. Your baby will be drawn to the mat’s bright colors, engaging characters and fun designs.  Also, the textured, raised diamond pattern will feel unique and interesting to their little fingers.  

Our play mats are made of high-quality PE foam, so you can be certain your little one is playing safely. Other benefits of a Toddleroo by North States play mat are:

  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, BPA free
  • Skid-resistant bottom means it stays in place, even on hardwood or tile floors
  • Water-resistant – simply wipe spills with a soft, damp cloth
  • Portable – comes with a free carrying case!
  • Indoor/Outdoor use
  • Thick and durable, yet soft and shock-absorbing – perfect for learning to crawl

From every stage beginning with tummy time, these adorable play mats are designed to meet your baby’s developing needs!