The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends supervised tummy time for full-term babies starting in the first week, as soon as your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off.
For newborns, success is a minute at a time, 2 to 3 sessions per day. If they start crying, it’s time for a break.
Here are some tips for newborn tummy time on the floor:
You can see Ayesha Curry’s adorable newborn doing tummy time here.
- Slowly roll your baby onto their tummy with arms tucked under their shoulders
- Newborns like to have their heads to one side while lying on their bellies, mimicking their position in the womb
- Offer your baby some high-contrast cards to look at while their head is to the side
- Periodically move your baby so their head rests on the opposite side; head-turning helps avoid flat spots and tight neck muscles
- As your baby gets stronger, place high-contrast cards in front of them so they work to see the images when lifting up their chin
Some ideas for newborn tummy time on you:
- Put your baby on your chest facing you, and softly talk to them to try to encourage them to lift their head
- Put your baby belly-down on your thighs and gently rub their back; show them a high-contrast card in their line of vision and slowly move it upward to see if their head moves up
- Carry your baby football-style on your forearm
If your baby is fussy during a tummy time session, you don’t have to force it. Keep trying short sessions a few times a day. Babies who start tummy time early take to it better later on. The experts all agree: tummy time is essential for building the muscles and coordination needed for rolling over, crawling, walking, reaching, and playing.
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