Tummy time positions vary enormously depending on your baby’s age, skills … and even mood. Happily playing with good head control? That typically doesn’t happen for several months.
For a clear idea of positions and movements your baby may try from the earliest days of tummy time to the last, check out this illustrated month-by-month tummy time guide from our Parent Course, Baby’s Best Tummy Time with Rachel Coley, a pediatric occupational therapist at Lovevery. Because babies don’t develop at the same rate, you’ll notice some overlap in the age ranges for tummy time positions and movements.
Tummy time at 0–2 months
At this stage, the goal is for your baby to become comfortable on their belly. In tummy time, your newborn or young baby may:
- Round their back slightly
- Bend their arms and tuck them close to the body with hands near shoulders
- Bend their knees under their hips
- Mostly have their head down
- Be able to lift and turn their head briefly with great effort
- Make crawling or pushing motions with their feet
- Be comfortable with either cheek down
If your baby isn’t loving tummy time on the floor, try “4 ideas for no-floor, less fussy tummy time”.
Tummy time at 3–5 months
At this stage, the goal is strengthening head, neck, and upper body muscles. In tummy time, your 3-, 4-, or 5-month-old may:
- Straighten their legs so that their lower belly touches the surface beneath them
- Use their elbows for stability, either under or in front of their shoulders
- Lift their head to a 45-degree angle and hold it briefly without bobbing, getting closer to 90 degrees by 5 months of age
- Turn their lifted head to fully look left, right, and straight ahead
- Turn their head to place the opposite cheek down
Tummy time at 5–7 months
At this stage, the goal is for your baby to continue to strengthen their muscles and grasp nearby toys. In tummy time, your 5-, 6-, or 7-month-old may:
- Press through their forearms to lift their upper chest
- Begin to press up briefly through straight arms
- Lift their arms and legs off the floor and rock back and forth, or appear to be “swimming” or “flying”
- Use open hands to reach for, then eventually grab and play with enticing toys placed immediately nearby
- Bring their knees under their hips briefly or dig their feet into the floor in an alternating pattern
Tummy time at 6–10 months
At this stage, the goal is for your baby is movement. Your older baby may:
- Belly crawl to move forward or backward
- Get up fully onto their hand and knees
- Do planks on their knees or feet, lifting their belly and hips slightly off the floor
- Transition from their belly to a sitting position, often using their hands and knees
When to stop tummy time
Once your baby can get into and out of sitting on their own—and/or begins to crawl—you can stop doing reps of tummy time, says Coley. “But do continue to offer lots of floor play,” she adds.
Read our tummy time FAQs for expert advice on common tummy time concerns. Always supervise your baby during tummy time.
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