Tummy time is an essential and exciting time during a baby’s daily routine. It is also an important developmental milestone. It is the time when you can encourage your baby to play, learn, and grow. You should make sure that your infant is at least getting 15-20 minutes of tummy time during the day. Once your child is comfortable with lying on their tummy, you can help them build their strength and motor skills via different activities. Once your baby gets used to tummy time, it will become a natural position for him/her and will learn to crawl, stand and eventually walk.
Why is tummy time important?
Infants spend a lot of time lying on their back, especially a few weeks after being born. If they’re not lying on their backs, they are being carried or swaddled. A few benefits of tummy time include strengthening of neck, back, and upper body muscles.
Spending time on the tummy will help the baby to practice and recognize movements that will enable them to crawl and learn how to balance.
Tummy time will also help avoid flat head syndrome. When a baby spends most of its time lying flat, she/he might develop flat spots on the head; these spots can be avoided if the baby gets adequate tummy time.
When the babies start rolling over, tummy time also introduces them to new sleeping positions.
This time can also be used to bond with your baby, by introducing flashcards or high contrast cards to infants.
You could even introduce them to new textures and sights during their tummy time.
You can place their favorite toy in front of them so that they can practice their motor skills and learn how to grab.
Tummy time fosters independence and a sense of learning in a baby.
Though there is no specific age or time to start giving your baby tummy time, it’s good to get a green signal from your pediatrician. Usually, parents can start tummy time as soon as they come home from the hospital. You could even use your lap as a support for the baby if they’re initially uncomfortable to be put flat on their tummy. Start practicing with 2-3 minutes and gradually build it up from there. The earlier you start the less your baby will be fussy about tummy time. Usually, by 3 months, the baby should be able to do 30 minutes of tummy time in a day. Try an incorporate tummy time in a baby’s schedule after a bath or their nap time. If you’re putting your baby on their tummy after a feed, make sure they have burped before you put them down.
There are different ways to do tummy time – You could put the baby on the floor, on top of a mat. When you are just getting started, make sure to take the baby’s arms in front. This will give them the required support. It’s very common for babies to feel uncomfortable in the beginning but eventually, they start liking time on their bellies. Try to lay down with your infant and look them eye-to-eye. This will reassure the baby.
Another way to do this is – Tummy-on-tummy, This position is great when you’re just starting out, try laying down flat on your back, now take the baby and place them on top of your tummy, tummy side down. Encourage the baby to look at your face, you can do this by talking to your baby or even singing to them. Tummy time is usually the workout time for your little one. So make sure you’re consistent with it.
While tummy time is great, it’s advised to create a safe space for the baby to practice tummy time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure the surface you’re keeping the baby on, is clean.
- Clear the space of any dangerous or sharp objects.
- Set up a thick blanket or a carpet; avoid putting the baby directly on the floor.
- Make a pillow fence around the baby when the baby is on the tummy.
- Make sure to keep the pets away during tummy time.
- Always give baby tummy time in adult supervision.
Here are a few activities you can do with your baby during tummy time to make it more interesting for the baby:
- Sing or talk in high pitched voice with your baby
- Give some eye-to-eye time to your baby
- Use toys to get baby’s attention and help them learn how to nod
- Introduce flashcards and high contrast cards to your baby
- If you have an elder child at home, use this time for some sibling bonding.
Tummy Time Takeaways
Though tummy time is essential if your baby is uncomfortable first reassure your baby and try again. It’s a process and it takes time for babies to get used to it. Don’t forget to have fun while at it! Have fun celebrating each milestone with your baby and make memories! Have more tummy time tips? Share this post with your favorites!