Tummy time can be anytime you carry, position or play with an infant while they are on their tummy. Providing the opportunity for tummy time provides many sensory opportunities. It is a great way for infants to develop all their muscles, promotes healthy brain development and is important for social-emotional development. Tummy time also helps prevent flat spots (positional plagiocephaly) on the infant’s head.

How do you provide tummy time?

  • Place the infant on their tummy - only while awake!
  • Place toys, a mirror, or other object in front of the infant.
  • Provide direct supervision. Make eye contact and engage the infant by talking, singing, facial expressions (i.e.: smiling, eyes wide open) and playing.
  • Start with short periods of time (3-5 minutes) 2 to 3 times a day gradually increasing the amount of time.
  • Infants unaccustomed to tummy time may cry at first, but you can help them by getting on the floor, talking to, and playing with them.
  • Tummy time shouldn’t be stressful for the infant or for you. Have fun!

Safety is important during tummy time.

  • Always be in the same room providing direct supervision at all times!
  • Place the infant on a safe surface such as a lightweight blanket on the floor. Do not use a sheepskin type blanket or pillow.
  • Do not put the infant on an elevated surface for tummy time.
  • If the infant falls asleep IMMEDIATELY move them to an appropriate sleeping environment such as a crib.

A new Tummy Time Fact Sheet has been developed by HCCI and is posted on the Healthy Child Care Iowa website here (scroll down to “Tummy Time”).


Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 08/2016


Tags: Tummy Time , IDPH , Healthy Child Care Iowa , HCCI

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