Tummy Time: Five Steps to Getting Your Baby Lying on His Tummy
When and How to Train Your Baby for Tummy Time
Tummy time is important because it is a building block for the next fundamental movements of your baby, such as rolling over, sitting, crawling, and walking. Tummy time for babies is given more significance since the back-to-sleep movement in 1992.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy time initially takes place when the baby starts lying on his tummy using the strength of his forearms. The benefits of tummy time include building of upper body strength, increased control of head and body movements, and fine motor skills development. Since a lot of babies spend most of their time on their backs during sleep, they often develop flat spots on the back of the head. To avoid this, learn the basics of baby tummy time, and help your baby accomplish his first milestone.
When should babies start tummy time?
Start as early as a few days after birth. When starting out the first time, make sure that your baby is not sleepy or hungry. If he just had a big feed, give it an hour before putting him on his stomach to avoid acid reflux. Gently place him on a flat yet soft surface like a tummy time mat. When he starts wobbling and crying, entertain him through singing a nursery rhyme, or flipping a colourful book. Give tummy time a few tries each day until the baby gets comfortable with this new routine.
How much tummy time does your baby need?
Make tummy time a part of your baby’s daily routine. For the first month after delivery, give each session a few minutes before you pick your baby up. Do this two to three times a day, so your child can have up to fifteen minutes tummy time each day.
Tummy Time Activities
Some babies cope with tummy time a lot faster than others. If your baby doesn’t adore the time he spends on his tummy, you have to come up with activities and tummy time toys to make it more bearable for him. Understand that this is hard work for a baby as he has to keep his head up, support his upper body using his arms, and is not able to move his legs as much. Below are some ideas to help you coax your baby into spending more time on his tummy:
- Talk with him, or sing a nursery rhyme
- Play peek-a-boo, and make funny faces
- Shake his rattle, or get a small toy that makes a cute sound
- Place a non-breakable mirror so he would see his reflection
- Flip through a magazine or a book to keep the baby’s interest
Trying out new things with your baby is part of parent-child bonding. Make the most out of these moments to get to know your child better. Let your baby feel your presence when doing something new like tummy time. There is nothing more comforting than a mother’s company, and nothing more fulfilling than watching your child progress.