Starfish Therapies

May 12, 2009

Strategies for Tummy Time

baby prone

In my opinion its never too early to start practicing Tummy Time.

1.  Place your newborn on their belly on your chest while you are reclined or lying down.  Its great bonding time as well as allows them to receive the sensory input that being on their belly provides and they begin to get used to being on their belly and hopefully won’t put up a fight as they age and begin to get strengthening benefits.


2.  Use a baby carrier such as a Baby Bjorn and place your baby face in.  They may not be lying down on their belly although they will again get sensory input in this position and increase their famiarity with using their belly/front as a contact point.


3.  Use a Boppy pillow or a rolled up towel and prop you baby on it so their chest has some support up near their arms.  There are also several products out there that provide this support such as the Surfboard Tummy Time Mat.  Basically its providing some support for your child so they can begin to lift their head and use their arms for interaction with their environment.   You can place toys in front of them, a mirror, or best yet, yourself to provide the ideal interaction!

tummy time surfboard baby boppy

4.  Carry your baby so they are leaning on your forearms with their chest. This can be just in sitting or it can be while you are walking around.  They won’t get the benefits of pushing up on their arms but their head and neck will continue to get stronger.

mom on ball

5.  Use a big exercise ball and lie your child on it on their belly.  You can begin by gently bouncing them or make small rolling motions.  The further forward (towards their head) you roll them the harder they will have to work to push themselves up and lift their head, the farther back (towards their feet) you roll them the easier it will be for them to lift their head.  I have found that initially if I bring the baby back closer to me, to make it easy, and put the Leap Frog Alphabet Ball in front of them they like to lift up to spin the ball.  Another option would be to play on the ball in front of a full length mirror so they can see themselves and you in the mirror.  It could be a great game of peak-a-boo!

tummy time ball

These are a few of the ways I have found to ‘trick’ kids into Tummy Time.  The more you get down and interact with your child in this position the easier it will be.  If they are really struggling initially make it easier for them.  Basically the more horizontal they are, the harder it will be and the more inclined or vertical they are, the easier it will be.  Have fun with Tummy Time, it doesn’t have to be hard!


  1. Thank you Stacy! You would think that, three kids in, I would remember these sorts of things–but you would be wrong. Always a good reminder, and great suggestions to make it less like “work”…

    Comment by Deepa — May 12, 2009 @ 2:18 am | Reply

  2. […] be on their belly.  (Check out ‘Tummy Time:  What’s the Big Deal?‘ and ‘Strategies for Tummy Time‘ if you need help with this)  As they begin to lift their head against gravity they begin to […]

    Pingback by Buns of Steel: The Exercises « Starfish Therapies — June 22, 2009 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  3. […] and ways to use them to not only have fun with your child but to encourage gross motor skills.  Strategies for Tummy Time and To Crawl or Not to Crawl both offered ideas as […]

    Pingback by Holiday Gift Guide « Starfish Therapies — December 7, 2009 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  4. […] and they hate tummy time, you first have to work with them on their tummy time skills.  Check out Strategies for Tummy Time for some ideas.  Once you get them pushing up on their arms use the toy trick again.  Have […]

    Pingback by Rolling, Rolling, Rolling « Starfish Therapies — March 21, 2010 @ 3:44 am | Reply

  5. […] let your child spend to much time on their back and encourage various positions, especially tummy time. Leave a […]

    Pingback by Why Are Babies Getting Flat Heads? « Starfish Therapies — July 26, 2010 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  6. Ola! My name is Elsje Burger, B-tech Industrial Design student at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I’m currently busy with my Thesis for my degree. My topic for my thesis are: Sufficient core strength exercise enables children to acquire a good posture.

    If ANYONE can please give me feedback or opinions on this topic, please email me. I would really appreciate it!
    Have a gorgeous day!

    Comment by Elsje Burger — September 5, 2010 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  7. […] Tummy Time, Tummy Time and More Tummy Time:  This is my number one piece of advice to all new parents.  I’ve been to a lot of baby showers and some of them have you offer an anonymous piece of advice to the new mom, well mine’s never anonymous because it usually always reads ‘Lots of Tummy Time!’.  I just think (and research has shown) that this position is the building block of movement.  It helps the baby to begin to develop their head control, strengthen their arms and shoulder girdles, begin activating their gluts which will help to facilitate their hip and femur bony development, and stretch out the front of their body which has been squished into flexion for the last 9 months to name a few.  It also gives them some control of their environment.  If they are lying on their backs they are waiting for toys to be brought to them, on their tummy they can begin to figure out how to move or pivot to get to what they want.  Also, it helps to facilitate them getting into a sidelying position which is really important for trunk development.  With the implementation of the Back to Sleep program and the busier lifestyles of families and the conveniences that have been developed (bouncy chairs, exersaucers, click and go car seats) parents have to make a point of allowing their child to spend time on their belly. (see also ‘Strategies For Tummy Time‘) […]

    Pingback by Motor Tips for Parents – Part 1 « Starfish Therapies — January 9, 2012 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  8. […] Time: What’s the Big Deal.  I have also provided suggestions for ways to incorporate this in Strategies for Tummy Time.  I now have a new approach!  I am beginning to work on a video series for a set of ‘How […]

    Pingback by Tummy Time – Its a Ball! « Starfish Therapies — January 31, 2012 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  9. […] ability to do baby push-ups is a sign of appropriate head and neck development. We have also tried other ways to help strengthen the muscles needed for baby […]

    Pingback by Baby Push-ups - — June 16, 2012 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  10. You mentioned placing baby in an upright carrier such as the Baby Bjorne. I’m curious what your opinion is on these sorts of carriers, from a PT perspective. I took a parent-infant education class when my baby was a few months old and the instructor was discouraging use of these upright carriers prior to babies being able to sit on their own because it places undue strain on their newborn spines (with all the bouncing while walking and hiking) and spreads their legs apart to the point that it’s bad for their hips. She strongly advocated for carrying newborns in sling carriers that either keep their legs together at midline (like a classic over-the-shoulder diagonal baby sling) or in a frog position (like in a Moby Wrap). What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

    Comment by christiekiley — June 17, 2012 @ 2:26 am | Reply

    • There are different carriers out there that put the baby in a better position for their hips. I’m not sure specifically which ones at this moment. You can also use a sling or other type carrier. The big thing is to get them out of the ‘plastic’ car seats and carriers.

      Comment by Starfish Therapies — June 18, 2012 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  11. […] Strategies for Tummy Time […]

    Pingback by Some More Tummy Time | Starfish Therapies — April 24, 2014 @ 8:01 am | Reply

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