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Tummy Time Tips – Making Motor Development a Fun Activity!

Regardless of the age of your baby, they should definitely be spending some time on their tummy. Tummy time helps with your baby’s development but at the same time limits the chances of developing plagiocephaly (flatness of the head) or torticollis (adaptive shortening of the muscles on one side of the neck), which are common if a baby is solely on their backs. The goal is to spend at least an hour per day on the tummy. This may seem like a lot, but we’ve included some tips to make tummy time more tolerable and eventually it will end up being fun!

Cushion Under Chest

One simple solution, especially for those with good neck control, is to use a cushion under the baby’s chest. You can also use a rolled up towel or a small pillow. Having the cushion adds an element of support which makes it easier for the baby to see the world around them and interact with the things surrounding them. This is also very beneficial for the baby as it provides an opportunity for them to strengthen the muscles in the neck and back. Eventually, they will be able to get into the cobra position which will provide the opportunity to reach for toys.

Use Small Toys as a Distraction

If you notice that your baby is getting a little fussy, you can use small toys as a distraction. This is why baby toys either have mirrors, different textures, rattles, or they crinkle or squeak. The baby’s attention will be diverted towards that, allowing for longer time on their tummy.

Tummy Time Toys

Placing Baby on your Leg

Another option to ensure that your baby doesn’t get too fussy about being on their tummy is to hold them over your leg. You could be sitting on chair, or in a partial squat position, but this allows you to angle the position of your leg providing the baby with an option to see more of their environment.

Placing Baby on your Chest

As you are lying on your back, place the baby on your chest. This is generally a happy place for them, and they are comfortable – especially around mom and dad. This is a great opportunity to talk to the baby and bonding time with them but still encouraging them to be on their tummy and developing their muscles.

If you are struggling with putting your baby on your tummy, don’t worry. Usually a session or 2 with a physiotherapist can provide additional strategies or even assess if there is a bigger problem at hand. Our team of physiotherapist with a special interest in pediatrics can help you along the way.


Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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