Back to sleep. Tummy to play.

Busby enjoying some Tummy Time

I’d heard the phrase Tummy Time banded about fairly regularly when I was pregnant, but didn’t really know a great deal about it, or why it was imperative for Busby’s development. It wasn’t until Busby was born that I really started to read about it and take an interest in the importance of it. 

Busby absolutely loves Tummy Time, and she’s so good at it. She’s always had very strong neck control (I put this down to her nosiness), and loves pushing herself up and attempting to wiggle towards one of her toys! I try to give her at least 15 minutes on her mat a day, and she’s constantly pushing herself up off our chests to have a look around, which counts as Tummy Time

Curious Busby

But I was curious – what really is Tummy Time? How did it come about? And why is it so important? I thought I’d do some research and explore why babies need Tummy Time in their routine, and why it’s vital for their development.

So firstly, what is Tummy Time? 
Tummy Time is monitored time spent on tummy, usually integrated into playtime, to aid a baby’s physical development; upper body strength, co-ordination, head control and balance are all helped by regular time spent on their front. As I mentioned above, time spent with baby lying on their tummy on your chest is also considered Tummy Time

How did Tummy Time come about?
In 1994, the “Back to sleep. Tummy to play.” campaign was launched. The campaign encouraged parents to place their babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and only to place on their tummy to play. As a result of this campaign countless lives have been saved. 

Why is Tummy Time important?
Sadly, there has been a downside to the “Back to sleep. Tummy to play.” campaign; many parents have ignored the second part of the slogan due to lack of understanding or worry that they’re going to harm their child, and therefore have become reluctant to let their baby participate in any Tummy Time.
According to the folks at Tummy with Mummy®
“48% of children who started school in the UK last year had delayed motor and sensory skills i.e. they faced difficulties holding pencils, catching balls and in some cases, will face challenges in their reading and writing abilities. 
50% of children who started school in the UK last year, had some degree of positional plagiocephaly i.e. flat head.

These problems are a direct result of lack of Tummy Time in infancy.”
As you can see, parents hesitation to place a baby on their front, for whatever reason, has a direct and adverse effect on a child’s sensory and physical development. 

So, I asked the experts “what are your Top Tummy Time Tips?”
Kerstin Castle from Cosyplay
I think the most important thing about tummy time is to build it into everyday play time.  It works at any age.  If you lie next to your baby and roll him onto his front, make him laugh by doing something you know he likes and then roll him back. Don’t wait until he complains before you roll him back.”
Dave Abrahams from Tummy with Mummy®
I would say is having eye-contact with your baby is the key to successful Tummy Time, as this definitely alleviates the stress that a baby feels when lying face-down on the floor.”

My Top Tummy Time Tip(s)
Busby is such an alert and nosy inquisitive baby; she loves looking around and staring at patterns and bright colours. To help encourage her to lift herself up during Tummy Time on the mat, we always have one of her favourite colourful toys handy for her to look at. This not only encourages her to lift, push and hold herself up, but also lets her know she’s safe with the familiarity on the toy.

Busby and her pal, Sensory Monkey!

I also find talking to her in an encouraging tone helps motivate her to keep going, and reduces her frustration during the times she doesn’t quite get there!

If you’d like to share your Top Tummy Time Tips, stories of your little one enjoying some Tummy Time, or have something else to say, please comment below, tweet me or visit my Facebook page – I’d love to hear from you!

To read more about Tummy Time please visit the Cosyplay website and the Tummy with Mummy® website
What’s over there?

Sources used for this post:
Tummy with Mummy
Children’s Treatment Campaign 


  1. 15th March 2013 / 3:17 pm

    Sam can’t stand tummy time on the floor/play mat, but has such a strong neck when on us. It’s so much harder to do tummy time with Alex running about too! NEED to make myself do it more though! xx

    • 15th March 2013 / 3:33 pm

      I can imagine it’s really tricky with Alex running around too! Lots of “BE CAREFUL OF THE BABY!” Stressful!!! xxx

    • 15th March 2013 / 7:00 pm

      I know what you mean. Never has my toddler looked more menacing than when I came home from hospital with my new-born daughter. I found having them both on the cosyplay mat really helped, because it was easily big enough for the three of us. I used to snuggle up with my toddler to read a book and have the baby next him, but still within my reach. I think siblings need to bond too. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      10th April 2013 / 10:02 am

      Have any of you seen the Tummy With Mummy thing that is being mentioned in the article. Might be of use to you? 🙂

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