Caring for Baby

Tummy Time!

Tummy Time!

At 3 months old, baby is active and eager to touch, see and explore everything around him. Tummy time (lying on stomach) is an important exercise for baby — it helps your baby build back and neck muscles needed for rolling over and eventually crawling. Some babies enjoy tummy time, others scream and cry because they don’t like it. That’s OK! Try the tips below to make the most of your baby’s tummy time. And remember: Babies grow and develop at their own pace, and you should ask your child’s doctor if you have questions or concerns.

3 Month Milestones

Look what I can do …

  • Lift head when on tummy and do a mini push-up
  • Follow movement by turning my head
  • Begin to recognize people at a distance
  • Laugh and smile
  • Bring hands to mouth
  • Grasp toys and swat at toys

How You Can Help

  1. Give baby “tummy time” every day. Starting when you get home from the hospital, you can lay baby on his or her tummy on a firm surface for a few minutes, two to three times a day. By 3 months old, baby may be able to play on her tummy for longer stretches of time. Baby might even push up with her arms to lift her head and torso off the ground.
  2. Set the stage for successful tummy time. The best time for tummy time is when baby is happy and active (and not tired or hungry). Avoid tummy time right after feeding; give baby time to burp and sit upright before placing him on his stomach.
  3. Get creative if baby cries during tummy time. Tummy time can be difficult, especially if baby’s muscles are not very strong yet. Your instinct may be to pick up baby and hold her instead of making her do something that frustrates her, but it’s important to keep at it. Try to encourage her by placing fun, colorful toys in front of her. Ease into tummy time by placing baby on your chest when you’re lying on the floor. Baby will try to lift her head to see your face, and she may like this viewpoint better!
  4. Help baby practice hand-eye coordination. Move toys forward and back, side to side, and let him grab, shake or swat at the toy.
  5. Give baby toys to explore with his mouth. Your baby may be bringing hands to mouth and trying to suck on a thumb or put toys in his mouth. You can help him learn to soothe himself by guiding teething toys to his mouth. Be sure all toys are safe for baby.

What to Watch For

Your baby is working on developing many new skills at 3 months old. If you have concerns, your child’s doctor can help identify potential warning signs early on, such as:

  • Not responding to loud sounds
  • Not watching things as they move
  • Lack of interest in interacting with people
  • Not bringing hands to mouth
  • Inability to support his or her head well