Intermountain Healthcare

Why Tummy Time Is Important for Baby's Development


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/31/2021 --To help babies develop strong muscles and good motor skills, Intermountain Healthcare pediatric experts recommend babies spend time on their tummies when they are awake.

"When babies are on their tummy, they start trying to lift their neck, move their arms and legs and work their core abdominal muscles, which helps them develop motor skills and better balance," says Peter Lindgren, MD, a pediatrician with Intermountain Medical Group.

Studies show only 30 percent of parents follow these recommendations. Dr. Lindgren suggests parents spend three to five minutes a few times a day interacting with baby on their tummy.

"Place baby on your chest to talk and play, but don't let baby sleep there," he said. "Place baby in a safe place on the floor where you can watch and play with your baby for a few minutes. Some babies might not like being on their tummy at first, but gradually work up to 30 minutes a day of tummy time."

Dr. Lindgren gives some suggestions for fun ways to help your baby exercise during tummy time:

- Place a toy just out of baby's reach, to see if they'll move their head or arms.
- Place several toys in a circle around baby to encourage baby to roll over, scoot or crawl.

But Dr. Lindgren also joins the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommended that infants be placed on their backs to sleep at night and during naps. The Back to Sleep and Safe Sleep campaigns have contributed to a 40 percent decrease in sudden infant death syndrome in the U.S.

He says babies should be placed on their backs to sleep at night and for naps until they reach their first birthday. "Once baby can roll over both ways, from back to tummy and tummy to back, you do not need to return your baby to the back position," says Dr. Lindgren.

Dr. Lindgren adds a few more suggestions for safe sleep. "Nothing else should be in an infant's crib. Do not put blankets, pillows, bumpers or soft toys into the crib."

Dr. Lindgen says pacifiers are ok, but parents may want to delay their use for the first two to three weeks after birth if mom is breastfeeding. "Make sure there is nothing that could cover a baby's mouth or nose while sleeping."

And if baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier or sling, Dr. Lindgren suggests moving them to a firm sleep surface on their back as soon as possible.

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,700 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit For helpful advice for expectant moms and new parents, see Intermountain Moms online or follow us on,, or