Alexis Sawyer, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
Tummy time is a very important exercise for babies. It's their first exercise that you're going to put your child through. The reason we do tummy time is we're trying to counteract the time that they're on their backs so much for sleep.
It's important for them to have tummy time so they can start to develop their neck muscles and upper body muscles to be able to pull up their head and to be able to stabilize their head while they're upright.
Parents should start, I think, from the moment they bring their babies home. Usually, I recommend starting with a minute or two to begin with, a couple of times a day and you work your way up from there.
Some babies are happier to be on their tummies than others. The ones that are a lot fussier on their tummies, you just really have to work on it. Try to give them some incentive to be on their stomachs. Putting toys or things that they really like to look at, at their level when they're on their tummy. Or getting down to their level and interacting with them while they're on their tummy can help that out a lot.
The dangers of not doing tummy time regularly, is your baby may not develop their upper body strength and their neck muscles the way that they should. They may not hold their head up as well as others babies at their age.
They can also get something called torticollis or a tightening of their neck muscles on one side. They can also get a flat head on the back of their head or one side or the other.
I recommend until your baby is consistently rolling off of their tummy, you should be really be putting in the effort to do that tummy time daily and that's usually between four and six months.
Tummy time is important in the development of your baby. Dr. Alexis Sawyer, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains why you should make time for tummy time, how tummy time helps your baby and what problems your baby may face if tummy time is not provided.