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Your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping on their back with their head in one position. Spending time on their tummy can help to prevent babies from getting a flat spot on their head. Tummy time should be started soon after birth. 

Giving your baby time on their tummy will help to build up strength to hold their head and body up. In the first 8 months of life, this will help them to roll over, crawl and sit up.  

The more practice your baby gets, the easier it will be for them to learn and remember. 


24 hour movement guidelines


For a newborn, lie your baby face down on your chest, lap or arm like the picture below.


tummy time


For young babies, try placing a rolled up towel under their chest. 

tummy time

Tips for tummy time: 

  • Choose a time before feeds and when your baby is awake and alert 

  • Stay with your baby during tummy time to ensure that they are safe 

  • As your baby grows stronger you can put them on a rug on the floor to play 

  • Try different locations including outside in warm weather  

  • Use toys, bubbles and mirrors to help keep tummy time interesting and fun 

  • If your baby becomes sleepy put them on their back to sleep in their cot 

  • As your baby becomes stronger and has better control of their head and arms, give them a ball to play with 


Starting to move 


From 3-6 months, babies may start trying to roll from their back to their tummy, or tummy to their back.  

To help babies learn to roll: 

  • Cross one of your baby’s legs over their body, roll gently backwards and forwards. Do the same on the other side 

  • Place a toy just out of reach on the side they are rolling to 

  • Set up a slope using a cushion and assist baby to roll down (give them practice on the left and right side) 



From 6 months, babies may learn to sit with your help, or without any support. Start by sitting and supporting your baby upright on the floor.  

Play with your baby while they are sitting by: 

  • Encouraging them to clap their hands 

  • Move a toy in front of them to encourage them to follow the toy with her eyes, reach for it and grasp it 

  • Roll a ball between you and baby which will start to teach them how to catch 



Babies may need a little help when they are first learning to crawl.  

You can help by: 

  • Sitting or lying behind your baby during tummy time and placing your hands against their feet. Your baby’s legs should be a little bent so they can push on your hands to move forward 

  • Set up a slope to help your baby crawl down. 


For more information on Tummy Time and play ideas for newborns visit Raising Children:  


[Source: Raising Children Network; NSW Health Munch & Move] 


Related pages 

Movement for 8-12 month olds 

Baby play time