Did you know that there are many different stages of tummy time? They’re not talked about as much as the activity itself. But knowing your baby’s tummy time milestones by age can make a big difference to the way you interact with them when they’re on their front. Because let’s face it, babies find tummy time hard. And it’s difficult to see our baby’s struggle when we know that we can help them.
So we’ve put together a guide of tummy time milestones by age to help you. It has everything you need to know. It will help you learn what to expect and when to expect it. This in turn will help you feel more relaxed and confident when your little one is laying on their stomach.
Our tummy time milestones by age are organized by month. You can skip to a specific month by clicking on one of the links below.
Newborn Stages Of Tummy Time
It takes a while for your newborn baby to adjust to life outside the womb. You’ll notice that they’re still in the fetal position a lot of the time. And it’s no different when they’re having tummy time.
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For Newborns?
Here are the normal things you can expect to see when your newborn is in the belly down position:
- Knees are tucked into their tummy
- Bent elbows and arms are close to their chest
- Bottom is high in the air
- Head is turned sideways
Tummy Time Milestones By Age At 1 Month Old
Tummy time development at 1 month old is not that much different to the newborn stage. It will still be a while before your baby uses their arms when lying on their front. Their legs and arms will still be tucked under. But not quite as much.
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For a 1 Month Old Baby?
Here are some other important tummy time milestones you’ll notice when your baby is 1 month old:
- Bent arms and legs
- Bent elbows that are now away from their body. This means their hands are further away from their body
- Head is turned to the side. But they may try and lift their head for a few seconds
- Bottom is still in the air but not as high as it was
Stages Of Tummy Time At 2 Months Old
Tummy time milestones at 2 months old are similar to the 1 month old milestones above. Expect your baby will now start tilting their head to one side.
You may notice that they prefer one side more than the other. If this is the case, try to encourage them to look to the other side too. Lay next to them on this side so that you’re at their eye level. Talk to them and sing songs to get their attention.
Tummy Time Development At 3 Months Old
Your baby is getting much better at tummy time now they’re a bit older. Their legs are starting to uncurl from the newborn position. And straightening them now helps them during tummy time.
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For a 3 Month Old?
Here’s a breakdown of what tummy time will look like for your 3 month old:
- Starting to put weight on their forearms so they can support themselves
- Often scratches the surface with their hands
- Their bottom is now flat with their tummy fully touching the floor
- No longer tilts their head and is able to lift it between 45 and 90 degrees
4 Month Old Tummy Time Milestones
You’ll notice that your 4 month old is more aware of what’s going on around them. So they’ll start moving their head and neck to learn more whilst they’re in the prone position.
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For a 4 Month Old?
Here’s a list of all the other exciting things you’ll noticed your baby is able to do during tummy time at 4 months old:
- Lifts their head up to 90 degrees and is able to keep it centered
- Lifts their head and moves their neck to follow toys, voices and faces
- Pushes up on their forearms which brings their chest off of the floor
- Their elbows are under their shoulders or in front of them at a 90 degree angle
Tummy Time Milestones By Age – 5 Months Old
Your baby is starting to become more active and tummy time starts to become more interesting for them at 5 months old. And it’s a great age to play more games and try fun activities.
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For a 5 Month Old Baby?
At around 5 months old, your baby is starting to do the following things when they’re in a prone position:
- Push up on their hands which means their elbows are straight
- Move their hands forward so they can reach for toys that are close to them.
6 Month Old Tummy Time Stages Of Development
Tummy time at 6 months old is the most exciting time. Your baby has come such a long way and they’re now good at tummy time. They’re much more active and you’ll soon see that they look like they’re swimming when they’re laying on their stomach. This movement helps them move forwards on their tummy and it’s the first step towards crawling!
What Does Tummy Time Look Like For a 6 Month Old?
Here are some other exciting things you can expect your 6 month old to be able to do during tummy time at this age:
- Lifts head and chest right up
- Fully extends their arms and pushes up on their hands
- Able to pivot in a circle
- Shows swimming motions that helps them move forwards slightly on their belly (as mentioned above
- You may also find that your baby prefers to be on their tummy because they can play, move and explore more easily.
Chart Of Tummy Time Milestones By Age
There are only a few differences in tummy time milestones when your infant is little. But as they get older, their achievements are more noticeable. Here’s a chart showing you what tummy time should look like throughout the months, which will help your expectations.
We hope you found our guide to tummy time milestones by age useful. It’s fascinating to see how much progress your infant will make in just a few short months. And knowing about the different stages and the importance of each one will allow you to help your baby when they’re in the prone position.
This is just a guide to help you know what to expect at each stage. Don’t worry if your baby hasn’t met the tummy time milestones at exactly the suggested months or ages. Every child is different and they all develop at their own pace. Just keep giving them plenty of time on their front to help them strengthen their muscles.
However, make sure you speak to a healthcare professional if you do feel your baby isn’t meeting their tummy time milestones or you have concerns.
Looking to learn more about tummy time or ways to help your little one?
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Tummy Time. It includes how long tummy time should last at each age. As well as helpful tips and tricks.
Or take a look at our tummy time activity ideas by age (link)
Sharma A. & Cockeril H. (2014) Mary Sheridan’s From Birth to Five Years: Children’s Developmental Progress, 4th Edition. Oxon: Routledge (Accessed 20th February 2021)