It is important to lay your baby on their tummy and encourage them to lift their head to look around. Doing this helps to strengthen the muscles in their neck, shoulders, back and hips, which will help them learn to hold their head up, roll over, sit, crawl and eventually walk. Tummy time also reduces the risk of developing flattening at the back or one side of your baby’s head.
How you can help
You can start doing tummy time from birth by lying your baby on your chest – but only do this when you're wide awake and unlikely to fall asleep.
Little and often is best to begin with. Gradually increase the amount of time you do this day by day. Then, when your baby is ready, try doing tummy time on the floor. If your baby has difficulty lifting their head, you can roll up a towel and put it under their armpits. Put some toys nearby for them to reach out to.
Only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert, and you're there to keep an eye on them.
Aim for around 20 to 30 minutes a day of tummy time by the time your baby is 3 or 4 months old, until they are able to roll over on their own.
If they can’t lift their head and prop themselves up on their forearms when you put them on their tummy and this doesn’t seem to improve speak to your health visitor.
If your baby is not turning their head very easily you might need a referral to Children's Physiotherapy. Ask your Health Visitor or GP for advice or visit Bromley Children's Physiotherapy to find out how to access the service.
You might also find the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapist's leaflet Head Turning Preference and Plagiocephaly useful.