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Tummy Time Milestones: Month to Month

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Tummy time is something all babies should do, but most babies won’t enjoy it, at least not at first. But despite a bit of discomfort and annoyance on your baby’s part in the beginning, it’s important to keep trying because the benefits of tummy time are numerous! Tummy time helps develop several gross motor milestones like neck and core strength. Tummy time milestones change as your baby grows, and so does the duration of tummy time, with sessions becoming longer for older infants. Knowing what to expect from tummy time will help new parents navigate the ups and downs of tummy time. Use the tummy time tips below to prepare you and your little one for a comfortable and fun tummy time experience!

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What Is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is a daily activity in which you place your baby on a soft mat or blanket on its stomach to support gross motor milestones development. Many infants initially dislike tummy time because they lack the muscle strength or control to do much. Over time, as your baby grows and strengthens, the duration of tummy time will lengthen until it’s no longer needed!

When you first start tummy time, your baby will probably only tolerate a few minutes at a time before fussing; some babies fuss immediately! Stay with them and talk to them in a calm, soothing voice. Try lying down opposite them so they can see your face, which may be just enough distraction for them to forget their discomfort and try to look at you!

Benefits of Tummy Time

Tummy time has so many developmental benefits! Gross motor development is the most significant benefit of tummy time as your baby strengthens and develops all their muscles. Tummy time also helps develop hand-eye coordination and cognitive development, and it is a great time to sit and talk to your baby or sing songs!

Tummy Time Milestones by Age

Tummy time milestones will vary from baby to baby, but below is a general outline of when your baby should be able to achieve each new skill! 

0-2 Months

Your baby is just beginning and will likely fuss during early tummy time sessions. The duration of tummy time during these initial sessions should be short, so try to do it at least two to three times per day.

  • Head mainly lies down, but they may be able to lift and turn their head briefly with effort.
  • They may slightly round their back.
  • They are comfortable with either cheek touching the ground.
  • Your baby can bend their arms and tuck them close to their body.
  • They can bend their knees under their hips.
  • Your baby may crawl or push with their feet.
Tracking tummy time milestones using the Baby Daybook app.
Tracking Tummy Time

3-5 Months

Your little one’s gross motor development is rapidly improving, and they have the strength to support their neck. The duration of tummy time should be longer now, five minutes, moving up to 10 or even 15 minutes at a time. 

  • They can straighten their legs, and their lower belly touches the surface beneath them.
  • They will use their elbows for stability.
  • They can lift their head to a 45-degree angle and hold it briefly without bobbing (closer to 90 degrees by five months).
  • Your baby may be able to turn their head to place the opposite cheek down.
  • They may be able to turn their lifted head to look left, right, and straight ahead.

6-7 Months

Your baby is getting ready to crawl! They are getting stronger and more interested in reaching and grabbing toys.

  • They can press through their forearms to lift their upper chest.
  • They will begin to press up briefly with straight arms.
  • Your baby may bring their knees under their hips and dig their feet into the floor in an alternating pattern.
  • They might lift their arms and legs off the floor and rock back and forth in a flying or swimming-like movement.
  • Your baby will use their hands to reach for, grab, and play with nearby toys.

8-10 Months

Your baby is ready to move and may graduate out of tummy time! Once your baby can sit independently and begins to crawl, you can stop tummy time sessions. Remember to track these major gross motor milestones using the Baby Daybook. Once moving, your baby should still be offered plenty of floor play so they can practice their new movement skills!

  • Your baby might belly crawl and move forward and backward.
  • Your little one may be able to get up onto their hands and knees and rock back and forth.
  • They may do planks on their knees or feet, lifting their belly and hips slightly off the floor.
  • They may transition from their belly to sitting using their hands and knees.
  • Crawling might begin! (Some babies skip crawling, move about in other ways, or move directly to walking).

Tummy Time Tips

Hopefully, tummy time will go smoothly with your little one, and there won’t be too much fussing. However, if your little one seems resistant, try some of these tummy time tips to make it easier. You can use the Baby Daybook Development Tracker to record new tummy time milestones and your baby’s likes and dislikes during tummy time!

  • Wait 30 minutes after feeding before putting your baby on their tummy.
  • Start with short sessions, 2-3 minutes at a time, several times a day, and build from there.
  • Lay on the floor so they can see you, use a mirror, or place attractive toys just out of reach to motivate and engage your baby.
  • Try laying your baby on your chest for tummy time. (This method is excellent for newborns and allows dads and partners to get skin-to-skin contact time).
  • Use an exercise ball to roll them back and forth gently. (Wait until they can hold their head up before trying this tummy time tip). 


Tummy time has many milestones and stages your baby progresses through. Early tummy time sessions should be short and interactive so your baby doesn’t fuss as they begin tolerating longer and longer sessions. Toys should be placed within reach to encourage them to move and grab. Eventually, tummy time leads to sitting up and maybe crawling. Once they’re on the move, you can stop tummy time but keep tracking their milestones and giving them plenty of floor playtime!

Download now!
Start your parenting journey with confidence! With the Baby Daybook app, you can easily monitor your baby’s growth, development, and activities. Download it today and enjoy easier parenting!


Note: Our writers strive to maintain accuracy and quality in all content produced. However, it’s important to note that the information provided on our blog should not be considered professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. It’s highly recommended to consult a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions.

Article by
L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She holds a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, and gender development. She has written curricula for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside Annapolis, Maryland.
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