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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kim Tran

The Big Deal About Tummy Time

The Big Deal About Tummy Time and Tips For Keeping It Simple

Everywhere you turn everyone is stressing tummy time for your newborns but what is tummy time and what is it for?? So why is tummy time so important? Well the suboccipital muscles located on the back of the neck are the first muscle group to develop. So as your newborn is on his (using “his” for general) tummy, he is working really hard to lift his head up and get those neck muscles to grow stronger. The neck--also known as your cervical region--has a slight curve to it as we grow and develop. That cervical curve is critical to brain health and development! That’s why it’s so important for babies to do tummy time because it helps with brain development!

By 1-2 months of age your baby should be able to:

  • Hold his head up on his own

  • Raise his head to about 45 degrees when laying on his belly

  • Turn his head and eyes follow sounds and objects

All of these skills can be facilitated with some good ol’ tummy time!

Now, how do you even do tummy time? There are actually several ways. Obviously, there’s lying baby on the floor on his belly, but sometimes that’s not the most comfortable. You can start by lying baby across your lap on on your chest (while you're laying flat) so baby is not completely flat on the floor. Another way is putting baby on a swiss ball or exercise ball. Different, I know, but the curve and softness of the ball, plus being able to have baby higher up and eye level to you helps so much! You can also prop baby on a Boppy or tummy time water mat.

Baby should be able to do tummy time one of these ways comfortably until baby is able to hold his head up. If your baby seems uncomfortable or seems to dislike tummy time, get him checked by a pediatric chiropractor to see what else could be going on (i.e. if baby is misaligned in the upper cervical spine).

Here are the simple instructions with tummy time:

  • You can start baby as soon as the first few days of life.

  • Baby should be doing tummy time 3-5x/day when they are awake and alert.

  • Start with 30 seconds or so as long as baby is content and working your way up to 3-5min each time.

  • If baby gets uncomfortable, stop and try again later. Also, don’t do this right after feeding cause baby could be uncomfortable due to gas.

  • You want to get eye level with baby so he can see you, just watch for baby to pick his head up.

You’ll soon see baby getting stronger head control, developing that cervical curve and better at tracking objects! But most importantly, you’ll feel good knowing that you’re doing your best to help your baby grow optimally.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this blog and learned some good information! Video to follow soon about tummy time on an exercise ball! Please feel free to contact us with any questions at If you liked this blog, please comment and share!

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