As a new mom, each new milestones comes with its own ‘awww’ and ‘ahhh’ moments. Tummy time like all other milestones is an important one. Some babies will go along with tummy time willingly, and others will cry their heads off and make you feel like you’re putting them through legit torture.
If you are at the ‘tummy-time’ stage, here is everything you need to know:
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is time your baby spends on their stomach while awake and supervised. Placing your baby on their tummy encourages them to lift their head, which helps strengthen their head, neck and shoulder muscles and boost motor skills.
How to do tummy time?
Keep it simple: Put a clean blanket or mat on the floor and place your baby on their stomach. For safety sake, you should only do this while your baby is awake and you or another responsible caregiver keeps close watch.
What age should you start?
Aim for around 20 to 30 minutes a day of baby tummy time by the time they are 3 or 4 months old. Then keep the practice up until your baby can roll over on their own.
Why do some babies hate it?
Many babies are initially resistant to the new position and perspective of being belly-down on the floor. As a result, babies spend much more time face-up, and understandably find the whole face-down experience rather uncomfortable and demanding. It’s hard work lifting that little head. But rest assured that the tummy-time baby workout is really important for their overall strength and development.
Why is it important?
- Regularly spending time on his stomach also helps your baby avoid developing a flat spot on the back of his head
- It strengthens muscles in the neck, back, and upper body as they lift their heads and push up on their arms
- Boosts gross motor skills as babies reach for toys or other desired objects in their vicinity
- Engages lesser-used muscle groups and helps achieves milestones, such as rolling over and crawling
- It enhances visual development. Baby carriers block their peripheral vision. While on their tummy, their eyes are able to work together and scan, as they search for and focus on a mirror, parent’s face, or toy.
- Alleviates gas pain
Tummy time Tips
START EARLY : Try not to put it off. Starting a bit of daily tummy time soon after birth will make it habitual for both you and your bub.
MAKE IT FUN : If your baby doesn’t respond to tummy time on her own, try to engage her. There are lots of great play mats designed just for this, with lights and squeaky things for extra fun. Otherwise, a colourful blanket does just as well.
USE A MIRROR : Prop up a non-breakable mirror nearby, so your baby can see their own reflection. Shiny reflective toys also do the trick.
NOT JUST THE FLOOR: Tummy time doesn’t only have to happen on the floor. Get your baby used to being belly down by laying her on your lap for a few minutes at a time. Or, lay down with baby resting on your own tummy or chest, and hold on securely.
GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL : One of the best ways to help baby enjoy themselves while being stomach-side down is by getting down to their level and engaging with them.
MAKE IT COMFORTABLE : Lay your baby on a padded mat, soft blanket or even a towel rather than directly on the floor. For added comfort, especially if your baby seems unhappy, roll up a thin blanket or swaddle and tuck the extra padding under their arms.
Keep persevering, and remember that those cries are going to fade as soon as your baby gets their strength and is on the move.
How do you cope with tummy time? Tell us your tips!