Does your baby cry during tummy time?

WHY do babies need to do tummy time?

These are 2 questions I get asked a lot.

Tummy time in infants is vital for both their motor and brain development. So yes, it’s very important! Placing babies on their tummies encourages neck and back strength. By 3months old they should be starting to push up onto their elbows or hands and look around comfortably for 5-10minutes without crying. Tummy time helps with developing correct spinal curvature and motor development, facilitating rolling and crawling.

 In addition, many people aren’t aware that a vast amount of baby’s brain development comes from spinal movement. (1) Thus, the strengthening of back and spine during tummy time not only drives brain development but also fires up the cerebellum (a part of the brain important for movement, learning and fine motor skills).

Some babies HATE tummy time. I see this regularly. Often the reason they cry when on their tummy is because they are in pain. It may be they have stiff or tight neck muscles/joints preventing them from holding their head up, or sore shoulders. These are 2 common areas that can be injured during birth. (2)

 If your baby is struggling with tummy time, don’t just give up on it. It’s a great idea to have them checked by a paediatric trained physio or chiropractor. 

Yours in Health,


1) Eyre et al (2000) Functional corticospinal projections are established prenatally in the human foetus permitting involvement in the development of spinal motor centres, Brain, 123 (1) 51-64

2) Dickman et al (1989) Pediatric spinal trauma: vertebral column and spinal cord injuries in children, Paed Neurosurgery, Vol 15 no 5

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Daniel Rothenberg

Daniel Rothenberg is a Sports Chiropractor with a Masters of Chiropractic and Masters of Exercise Science majoring in Strength & Conditioning. He works closely with a range of athletes in Brisbane and Ipswich.