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Building up Tummy Time

Not all babies take to tummy time well initially, and many parents wonder how to incorporate tummy time into their baby’s daily routine. There are several ways to introduce this new activity to your baby, helping them build the necessary strength in their muscles to hold up their heavy head. I break down three ways I feel are effective to introduce tummy time depending on how much your newborn is embracing the experience. 

Firstly, start by placing your baby tummy down on your chest while you recline your torso, creating a very slight incline. This option is perfect for when you are resting in bed or on the couch. This gentle approach helps your baby ease into using the required muscles to lift their head while they look around and make eye contact with you. When you notice changes in your baby’s behaviour, such as them becoming upset, grizzly, or excessively wriggling, it’s a sign to switch positions. This method works well for babies who may have struggled during tummy time on a mat or the floor and need time to adjust.

Secondly, introduce tummy time in small doses right after a nappy change on the changing mat. This approach allows for short bursts of tummy time multiple times a day. It’s generally not recommended at night. After feeding and dressing your baby, place them on their tummy on the changing mat, ensuring something is engaging, like a black-and-white book or a favourite toy, to keep them entertained. Repeat this throughout the day, and gradually, your baby will become more comfortable with this position. This doesn’t have to be long, and again just follow your baby’s body language in terms of how long they can maintain this position. Being consistent in short bursts will help to build up their comfort, strength and familiarity in this new position. 

Lastly, a favourite long-term option is having a designated play mat on the floor. The Toppy’s Goods Wriggle Mat, for example, is made of incredibly plush, soft natural wool fibres that are beautiful and easy to keep clean. The sheepskin mat offers warmth in winter, and cooling in summer and provides a rich sensory experience as your baby touches and brushes against the fibres. Again, make sure your baby has something engaging to interact with when they are on the mat. Look for cues that indicate your baby is ready for something new, such as a dwindling attention span or tired muscles.

Tummy time offers numerous benefits and can be easily incorporated throughout the day to support your baby’s growing body. Experiment with what your baby enjoys and be open to change when they show signs of discomfort or disinterest.

The Wriggle Mat and other gorgeous sheepskin products can be found at Toppy’s Goods

Joelleen Winduss Paye

IBCLC Lactation Consultant, Registered Endorsed Midwife, Naturopath & Educator est.2021



This knowledge is general in nature and from Joelleen’s experience as an expert IBCLC Lactation Consultant. This information does not constitute as advice, nor does it replace the advice given by an expert health professional in the confines of a consultation. This content is purely educational to support parents seeking clarity around their newborn and also helps the reader to decide if Joelleen is the right IBCLC Lactation Consultant for them.