Your baby’s tummy time milestones in the first year
What skills is my baby developing during tummy time? Find out here
How much tummy time should my baby be having? What are benefits? These are common questions about tummy time, so here’s our rundown on why tummy time is important throughout their first year.
Tummy time helps your baby to strengthen their neck, shoulder and trunk muscles. It's fun and good for bonding too.
You can start as soon as your baby's born, yet even from 4-6 months tummy time onwards it is a good thing to do regularly.
Tummy time: Month 1
From newborn babies can be placed on their tummies as they have enough neck muscles to lift their head enough to turn their head to place the opposite cheek down. It encourages their legs to begin to straighten so their lower belly touches the surface underneath.
Tummy time: Month 2
By their second month, your baby will look less curled up in the fetal position than before. Their arms start to move further away from the body and will eventually begin to press their hands down into the surface to push their shoulders and chest up very slightly. They may also manage to put some weight on their forearms and shoulders to help bring their hands out from underneath his chest.
Tummy time: Month 3
By your baby’s third month you may notice they are able to lift their head between 45-90 degrees without bobbing. They will be able to put more weight on their elbows and be able to lift their shoulders by holding their weight on the forearms. This helps build strength in the chest and shoulder muscles.
Tummy time: Month 4
Now your little one should be able push even higher through their forearms and lift their head relatively easy to 90 degrees. You will notice they will also have better neck control and they may be lifting their arms and legs off the floor and rock, almost as if their swimming.
Tummy time: Month 5
At this stage your baby is probably showing signs of trying to reach objects when on their tummy and will generally be trying to get on the move while on their tummy. You may also notice that they are managing to straighten their arms to lift their chests right up off the floor now.
Tummy time: Month 6
Motor control will have increased by now meaning your little one is less likely to topple over when on their tummy and trying to reach for things. They may also be starting to move when on their tummies by twisting in a semi-circle using their arms. Your little one will also be doing a good impression of a push up with belly on the floor and arms straight.
Tummy time: Month 7
Their shoulder and hip stability should have improved massively now and they should now be able to rotate round to reach toys. Your baby can also take their weight on one elbow now and may even be able to get on their hands and knees and rock which is the early stages of starting to crawl.
Tummy time: Month 8
By now your little one probably no longer needs his upper body to help lift his lower body and might kneel more and more making it easier for them to play. Around this time some babies start pulling to stand from an all fours position.
Tummy time: Month 9
One way or another, your baby will be moving around by now and often this is in the form of crawling. Switching between tummy time, all fours and sitting will be a lot easier now with their increased muscle control that has built up.
Tummy time: Month 10
Pulling to stand with one foot in front kneeling (half-kneeling) may be the latest thing which is a step on the way to standing. Your baby may now also be able to shift their weight to rotate their body thanks to all that muscle control they have built up.
Tummy time: Month 11
Hands are less important for your little one to stand now as their leg and hip muscles are much stronger meaning kneeling and half kneeling are much easier now and involves a lot less falling over.
Tummy time: Month 12
Now your little one should be able to control one side of their body independent of the other side. This helps improve their shifting of weight and helps their stability when standing. Soon after this they will be ready to take those crucial first steps.