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When to Start Tummy Time for Your Baby

2 years ago4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Ah, tummy time. It’s not unusual for babies to be less than happy to start their first ever exercise routine, but tummy time is pretty important for their muscle development. So, if you’re staring at your newborn, trying to figure out when do you start tummy time?, we’ve got you covered.

Baby tummy time

In this article 📝

  • Tummy time 101
  • How early can you start tummy time?
  • How do you do tummy time with a newborn?
  • How much tummy time for a newborn?
  • When can babies do tummy time?
  • How do you do tummy time with a 2 week old?
  • Is 2 months too late to start tummy time?

Tummy time 101

Before we get going, check out our complete guide to tummy time — you’ll see just how important it is to incorporate some into your baby’s routine. But no need to worry, mama. If you’re feeling clueless, here are the answers to some common questions about when to start tummy time.

How early can you start tummy time?

Tummy time can start right away. If you and your baby are in good health after birth, it’s likely your baby will be placed onto your chest for some skin-to-skin contact. This is their first taste of tummy time. See, you can totally do this!

How do you do tummy time with a newborn?

When you get home with your newborn, there’s lots to think about, so there’s no need to make tummy time yet another complicated chore. You can try using a padded playmat or folded towel on the floor to create a soft and safe place for tummy time. (Make sure you’re supervising at all times.) Or, your newborn might prefer one of these positions to begin with:

  • Tummy-to-tummy position, where your baby lays tummy-down on your stomach or chest
  • Laying them tummy-down across your legs
  • The tummy-down carry, with one hand supporting their head and neck, and the other holding their tummy, with your forearm between their legs.

How much tummy time for a newborn?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting with 2 or 3 sessions of 3-5 minutes on their tummy per day. If your baby really seems to dislike tummy time to begin with, reduce the time of each session to 1-2 minutes but aim for at least 5 sessions daily. If they’re really screaming through every session, it can be upsetting for everyone involved. It’s fine for you and your baby to take a break from tummy time for a few days if you want.

When can babies do tummy time?

Ideal times to incorporate tummy time into your day are after a nap or diaper change, but there are no hard and fast rules. Generally you might want to avoid practicing tummy time right after a feed as it can cause your baby to vomit or increase the risk of reflux. Not fun!

How do you do tummy time with a 2 week old?

By two weeks old, your baby might be happy to do tummy time on a padded surface, such as a playmat or folded towel on the floor, as opposed to on your body or being held. They still need constant supervision, so get down on the floor side-by-side with your baby to interact and engage with them.

Is 2 months too late to start tummy time?

No! Any tummy time is better than no tummy time, so if you’re wondering when to start tummy time with infants, don’t worry. Your two-month-old might be happy to start on a playmat, and props like a non-breakable mirror, rattles to reach for and brightly coloured toys will make tummy time more exciting for them. By 3 months to 4 months, most babies will be able to raise their shoulders and head off the ground when on their tummy, so this can be something to aim for.

As with everything baby-related, this is a guide only, so do what works for you, mama! You’ll know your baby best, so trust your instincts, and if you’re worried or unsure, Peanut mamas will always be able to help.

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