Tummy Time Triumph: Essential Exercises for Newborns

tummy time exercises

When it comes to the development of our little ones, every parent wants the best for their baby. We eagerly await those first smiles, first words, and of course, those first wobbly steps. But did you know that there’s a simple yet powerful exercise that can lay the foundation for all these milestones?

Enter tummy time – a game-changer in the world of baby development. It may not sound like much, but this exercise has the power to shape your baby’s future. Just ask Sara, a first-time mom who discovered the magic of tummy time.

Like any new parent, Sara was on a journey of discovery with her newborn. She read books, searched the internet, and sought advice from experienced moms. And that’s when she stumbled upon the concept of tummy time. Intrigued, she decided to give it a try.

At first, her little one was unsure about this new position. The wiggles and protests were inevitable. But with gentle persistence and a loving touch, Sara slowly eased her baby into tummy time.

As the days went by, Sara noticed something incredible happening. Her baby’s head control improved, and those tiny arms and legs started gaining strength. Soon, rolling over became a breeze, and sitting up became a new adventure.

Tummy time had become a staple in their daily routine, and the benefits were undeniable. Sara’s baby was reaching milestones with confidence and ease, all thanks to a simple exercise that required nothing more than a soft surface and a little bit of time.

Are you ready to unlock your baby’s full potential? In the following sections, we’ll explore why tummy time is crucial for development, understand the importance of this exercise, and learn about a condition called Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) that can impact your baby’s progress. Let’s dive in!

Why Tummy Time is Important for Development

Tummy Time is essential for a baby’s development for several reasons.

  1. Motor Skills: Tummy Time helps establish the foundation for rolling, crawling, and walking by strengthening core muscles.
  2. Sensory Development: It provides sensory exploration and stimulates the baby’s senses, promoting curiosity and cognitive development.
  3. Milestones: Tummy Time helps build neural pathways, leading to better coordination, balance, and overall brain development.
  4. Motor Delays: By practicing tummy time, parents can help prevent motor delays and encourage timely achievement of developmental milestones.
  5. Flat Headedness: Regular tummy time can also help prevent conditions like flat headedness (plagiocephaly) by reducing pressure on the back of the head.
  6. Torticollis: Tummy Time exercises can aid in the management of torticollis, a condition characterized by an abnormal posture of the head.

By understanding the importance of tummy time and implementing appropriate exercises, parents can support their baby’s development and enhance their overall well-being.

Understanding Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT)

Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) is a condition that affects the neck muscles, causing an abnormal posture of the head. In CMT, the head tilts to one side and rotates to the opposite side, resulting in a characteristic head preference. This condition is caused by the shortening of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle in the neck.

CMT can be classified into three types: postural CMT, muscular CMT, and SCM mass CMT. The severity of CMT and the range of motion deficits vary among individuals. Early detection is essential for effective management and prevention of long-term complications or permanent head shape deformities.

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of CMT. It focuses on improving the range of motion of the neck, promoting symmetrical movements, and providing environmental adaptations. Passive range of motion exercises for the neck, as well as active range of motion exercises for the neck and trunk, are commonly used in physical therapy interventions.

Therapeutic exercises such as the football carry, tummy time, and side bending stretch can be effective in correcting torticollis and strengthening the neck muscles. These exercises, combined with parent and caregiver education, contribute to the overall success of the treatment plan. Consulting with a pediatrician and considering physical therapy services are essential in addressing any concerns or asymmetries in a baby’s neck, ensuring proper development, and minimizing long-term complications.


When should I start tummy time with my newborn?

The Academy of Occupational Therapy recommends starting tummy time as soon as the baby leaves the hospital. It is best to begin with short sessions of a few minutes and gradually increase the duration. By 3 months of age, aim for 60 minutes of tummy time daily.

What positions can I try for tummy time?

There are different positions you can try for tummy time, including tummy to tummy, tummy down carry (or football hold), lap soothe, and eye level smile. Find a position that your baby is comfortable in and can engage with you or their surroundings.

My baby doesn’t seem to enjoy tummy time. What should I do?

Some babies may find tummy time challenging at first. Try making it fun by using toys, mirrors, or engaging in playful activities. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration. If your baby continues to have difficulties tolerating tummy time or shows delays in reaching milestones, consult with your pediatrician and consider therapy recommendations.

Can tummy time prevent flat headedness and twisted neck?

Yes, tummy time can help prevent conditions like flat headedness (plagiocephaly) and twisted neck (torticollis) by promoting the development of core muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders. It encourages proper head and neck alignment, reducing the risk of these issues.

What is Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT)?

Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT) is a condition characterized by an abnormal posture of the head, with the head laterally flexing to one side and rotating to the opposite side. It is caused by shortening in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle in the neck.

How can physical therapy help with Congenital Muscular Torticollis (CMT)?

Physical therapy interventions for CMT include neck passive range of motion, neck and trunk active range of motion, development of symmetrical movements, environmental adaptations, and parent/caregiver education. Therapeutic exercises such as football carry, tummy time, and side bending stretch can be effective in correcting torticollis and strengthening the neck muscles.

Source Links