Every month, as your little one grows, they hit new tummy time milestones, exhibiting delightful changes that indicate strengthening muscles and developing motor skills.
From the initial brief periods of lifting their head to more complex movements like rolling and pushing up, each stage in tummy time is a testament to your baby’s ongoing development.
Dive in as we break down these milestones month-by-month, helping parents know what to expect and how to best support their child’s growth.
Tummy time is an essential activity that helps your baby develop strength and motor skills.
From newborn age, start with a few minutes of tummy time per day and gradually build up to longer sessions.
By three months of age, aim to achieve at least an hour of tummy time total per day.
Tummy Time Milestones by Month
|Tummy Time Milestones
|Brief tummy time sessions, a few minutes at a time. Mostly observing surroundings, little movement.
|Lifts head for short periods. Movement is mostly reflex-driven.
|Can hold head up at a 45-degree angle. Begins to push up with arms.
|Starts to hold head steady. Pushes down on arms and can bear some weight on forearms.
|Can hold head steady for longer periods. Begins to push up on hands.
|Stronger neck and shoulder muscles. Can roll from tummy to back. Starts to play with hands and toys while on tummy.
|Begins to push up on hands and straighten arms. Can roll from back to tummy.
|Can sit up without support. Begins to move in a “commando” crawl on belly.
|Begins to move from sitting to being on all fours. Starts to crawl on hands and knees.
|Stronger upper body. More proficient in crawling, may start to pull up to stand.
At this stage, your baby can lift their head briefly while lying on their tummy. They may also turn their head from side to side. Start with short tummy time sessions of 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day.
Your baby can now lift their head higher and for longer periods, and they may start to push up on their forearms. They can also turn their head to look at you or other objects. Aim for 10-15 minutes of tummy time, 2-3 times a day.
Your baby can now lift their chest and head up higher, using their arms for support. They may also start to kick their legs and move them around. Encourage them to reach for toys during tummy time. Try to increase tummy time to 20-30 minutes a day.
Your baby can now lift their head and chest up even higher and may start to roll from tummy to back. They may also reach for toys and bring them to their mouth. Continue to increase tummy time to 30-40 minutes a day and change up the tummy time position.
Your baby can now push up onto their hands and knees and rock back and forth. They may also start to pivot in a circle while on their tummy. Encourage them to reach for toys and play with them during tummy time. Aim for 45-60 minutes of tummy time a day.
Your baby can now sit up with support and may start to crawl. They may also start to pull themselves up to a standing position. Tummy time is still important for strengthening their core muscles. Aim for 1-2 hours of tummy time a day.
Your baby may start to crawl or scoot on their tummy and may even start to pull themselves up to a standing position. Encourage them to play with toys during tummy time to help with their hand-eye coordination. Continue to aim for 1-2 hours of tummy time a day.
Your baby may start to crawl on their hands and knees and may even start to climb. They may also start to use their pincer grasp to pick up small objects. Encourage them to play with toys during tummy time to help with their fine motor skills. Continue to aim for 1-2 hours of tummy time a day.
Your baby may start to walk while holding onto furniture and may even take a few steps on their own. They may also start to use simple words and gestures to communicate. Tummy time is still important for strengthening their core muscles and promoting overall development. Aim for 1-2 hours of tummy time a day.
From Tummy Time to Crawling and Walking
Tummy time is an important developmental activity for your baby. It helps to strengthen their neck and core muscles, which are essential for crawling, sitting, and eventually walking. As your baby grows, they will reach important tummy time milestones by month. Here’s what you can expect:
During the first few months of life, your baby will spend most of their time on their back. However, it’s important to start incorporating tummy time into their routine.
In the beginning, your baby may only be able to handle a few minutes at a time. But as they get stronger, they will be able to tolerate longer periods of tummy time as their neck muscles beging to strengthen.
Around three months, your baby will start to lift their head and chest up while on their tummy. By four months, they will be able to lift their head up to 90 degrees.
This is a sign that their neck and core muscles are getting stronger. How much tummy time you give them will depend on how long they can hold their head up for. Keep lengthening the time bit by bit in the first few weeks.
By six months, your baby will be able to roll over from their tummy to their back and vice versa as they have full neck control. They will also start to sit up with support. This is an exciting milestone as it means your baby is gaining more control over their body.
Change up the tummy time position, particularly if you think your baby hates tummy time, so more muscles get developed.
Between six and nine months, your baby will become more mobile. They will start to crawl, which is an important milestone for their physical development.
Crawling helps to strengthen their arms, legs, and core muscles, which will eventually help them to stand and walk.
By nine months, your baby will start to pull themselves up to a standing position. They will also start to “cruise” along furniture, which means they will walk while holding onto something for support.
By 12 months, your baby will likely be able to stand on their own and take a few steps without assistance.
FAQs on Tummy Time Milestones
How long should tummy time be at 2 months?
At 2 months, most babies can handle brief periods of tummy time. Many parents incorporate this into routines, like after a diaper change, ensuring the surface beneath the baby is safe and comfortable.
What happens if you didn’t do tummy time?
Skipping tummy time can lead to flat spots on the back of a baby’s head. Tummy time is important because it helps strengthen the baby’s shoulders, arms, and upper chest. Without it, there might be delays in the forward movement and physical development.
What is a 2 month old tummy time milestone?
By 2 months, during tummy time, babies often begin to lift their upper chest off the floor with straight arms. It’s delightful to see your little one making such great effort. This is also a good time to play face to face or sing songs to your baby during tummy time, encouraging them to engage.
Is 3 months too late for tummy time?
No, it’s never too late to start tummy time. By 3 months, babies love to push their lower belly off the floor and practice new skills. Just ensure the child is awake and the surface beneath is baby-safe.
What are the stages of tummy time?
The stages of tummy time help your baby progress from lying on their stomach to making semi-circle movements with one arm, then both arms straight, moving in one direction or to the opposite cheek.
Over time, as the baby strengthens their arms and legs, they will begin lifting their lower belly and shoulders off the floor, leading to more complex movements.
Remember, every little one develops at their own pace, and it’s important to be patient and keep the environment baby-safe during these sessions.