Baby Basics Promoting Normal Development

How to Get Your Baby To Love Tummy Time: 10 Great Tips and Tricks

August 6, 2016
How to get your baby to love tummy time--10 great tips and tricks from written by a pediatric physical therapist

Have you heard all the hype about the importance of tummy time?  I hope so! Because it’s really, super important! (Read: The Importance of Tummy Time)Especially since babies need to be sleeping on their backs to prevent SIDS. Unfortunately, after the “Back To Sleep” campaign was launched in the ’90s, a lot of parents were scared to put their babies on their tummies at all! So now, 20 years later, a good portion of babies still aren’t getting tummy time because “They hate it!” or because “The doctor didn’t tell us when we should start putting them on their tummies.” If you start on day one, they will love it. If they already hate it, there’s still hope! That’s why I’ve made up this awesome list of 10 tummy time tips and tricks to get your baby to love being on her tummy!

10 Tummy Time Tips:

1. Chest to chest. Lay on the couch propped on some pillows and let baby chill on your chest. She may want to look up at you or push up with her hands since the inclined position makes it a little easier.

2. Over your legs. You can bring her arms out in front of her so she just hangs, or if she’s brand new let her tuck her arms and legs underneath her while she’s belly down on your lap. You can rub her back, bounce your legs, or just place your hand on her bum to comfort her.

3. Over a Boppy pillow or a wedge. Baby doesn’t have to be completely flat on the floor to benefit. Being at an incline decreases the weight of gravity and keeps her food at the bottom of her stomach. Win-win!

Baby doesn’t have to be completely flat on the floor to benefit.

4. On the couch, while you sit on the floor for some face-to-face time. Then she has more than just the floor to look at. Please make sure you have a hand on her if she’s mobile enough to wiggle or roll off the couch.

5. Use a blanket roll under her armpits. Try this, if baby is trying to keep her head up but face-plants and cries instead. A receiving blanket works well to help keep baby’s elbows at or above shoulder level, making it easier to lift her head or play with her hands near her mouth. (Not necessary in the first 1-2 months of life if she’s not really trying to lift her head off the ground.)10 Great Tips to Help Your Baby Love Tummy Time on

6. Use a mirror. There are a few baby mirrors that prop up like a tripod, or you can just use a cheap hanging door mirror and lay it sideways up against the couch. Babies are most interested in faces and light contrasts in the first few months. They love looking at themselves!

7. Try the “superman” or “football” hold. Dad’s love to carry their babies belly down on their forearms, don’t they? Momma’s can do it too, but you may need to use the other hand for additional support if baby is getting too long or heavy for you. You can combine this with a mirror while you are rocking or singing to them.

8. Wear your baby!  Baby slings, wraps, and front packs provide chest-to-chest contact with mom and dad, while you soothe baby with your heartbeat, voice, and movement.

9. Bring a blanket.  Everywhere you go, make sure you have a blanket so you can put baby on the floor. Try to minimize the amount of time she spends in the infant carrier outside of the car. (You will quickly learn about how much I dislike baby “containers” as more posts roll out. 😉 )  Don’t be afraid to put them down at doctor’s appointments, airports, library story time, other people’s houses. They’ll be plenty of new sights and sounds to entertain them.

Babies get easily overstimulated with too much visual input.

10. Simplify the tummy time environment. Babies don’t need busy, colorful print blankets or flashy toys bouncing and blinking in front of their faces. This may be contrary to the advice from others, but babies get very easily overstimulated with too much visual input. Aside from your face or a mirror, a very simple rattle or crinkle toy within their reach is all they really want or need to interact with. Try a pacifier if they start to get fussy, it might buy you just a few more minutes. 😉

Sounds easy enough, right? I promise you, it will get better. Just stick with it and keep trying. I do this every day at work and there isn’t a baby that’s been in my clinic that doesn’t eventually love tummy time. ♥

Thanks for reading! Do you like these tummy time tips? Are you trying it now with your precious little one? What’s working and what’s not working for you?

10 Great Tips and Tricks on How to Get Your Baby to Love Tummy Time! Ask the Baby Expert at

10 Great Tips and Tricks on How to Get Your Baby to Love Tummy Time! Ask the Baby Expert at


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  • Reply Amanda Gingrich June 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Wendy! I’m looking for ideas on what to use to do inclined tummy time? Reflux has been making floor time difficult lately, I’m guessing it might be because we finally are completely sleeping in the pack and play and no more rock and play. Forward steps in one area, backwards steps elsewhere.

    I used a pillow for the incline, but I think it was too soft. Would you recommend I just use a boppy until the reflux settles back down? Or is there something I could do that would be better?


    • Reply June 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for you comment, Amanda! I typically use a pillow sideways with the legs on the ground, if you’re just resting after a feed. If you are working on weight bearing on arms you could add the armpit roll, or switch to a couch cushion with legs on the floor (kind of kneeling if tolerated) if it makes for a more firm surface to push up on. Hope this helps! Keep me updated on my facebook page! 🙂

  • Reply Rebekah Galyean May 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    So nice to know I had been doing a lots of tummy time without realizing it was tummy time!
    My little man has pretty good head control and but mostly refuses to use his arms to push himself up. He does the superman instead! He can easily pick his head up off the ground and switch sides but, for the most part, has no interest in trying to push up with his arms. Any suggestions? He is a 34wker who is almost 4mo old actual age.

    • Reply May 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Great job on the tummy time…and Yes! I have lots of suggestions! I recommend you join my Facebook Group “Preemie Power” and search tummy time videos. I go into a lot of detail in those videos on preventing the “Superman” and moving toward pressing up on forearms. There are over 30 videos total in that group on all things infant development. (It’s not jut for preemies!)

      Link to Facebook

      If you are still struggling, schedule a free video consult and I’ll help you out more specifically after I see what your little one is doing. Sometime reflux causes babies to Superman too long and gets in the way of progressing their tummy time skills but keep trying!

      Did you sign up for the developmental milestones handbook on my Everything Babies site? There are tons of emails through that sign up that will help you as well as links to videos, my Facebook group, etc.

      If you have any more questions feel free to contact me at

      Keep up the great work, Momma!

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