Your Ultimate Guide to Tummy Time

tummy time

Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting time filled with numerous milestones, one of which is tummy time. This simple yet crucial activity aids in your baby's development, building the muscles needed for future skills like crawling, sitting, and walking. Here’s everything you need to know about tummy time to ensure your baby’s growth and enjoyment.

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time refers to the practice of placing your baby on their stomach while they are awake and supervised. This position helps strengthen their neck, shoulder, arm, and back muscles. It also provides a different perspective of the world for your little one, encouraging visual and sensory development.

Benefits of Tummy Time

  1. Muscle Development: Tummy time strengthens the neck, back, and shoulder muscles, essential for later motor skills.
  2. Sensory Stimulation: The different view encourages babies to use their eyes to explore their surroundings, aiding in visual and sensory development. 
  3. Preventing Flat Spots: It helps prevent positional plagiocephaly, a condition where flat spots develop on the back of the baby’s head from lying on their back too much.
  4. Motor Skills: Early practice on their tummy helps babies learn to push up, roll over, and eventually sit up and crawl.

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How to Start Tummy Time

Begin tummy time as early as your baby’s first day home from the hospital. Start with short sessions of 1-2 minutes, gradually increasing the duration as your baby becomes more comfortable. 

If your newborn doesn’t seem settled during tummy time, don’t force it on them too much. There’s plenty of time for them to get used to it. Try laying them on their tummy on your chest, so they still feel close to you.

Comfortable Positions:

  • Tummy-to-Tummy: Lay back in a semi-reclined position and place your baby on your chest. This is comforting and allows for bonding time during tummy time.
  • On Your Knee: Place your baby across your lap on their tummy. This can be reassuring and more comfortable for them.
  • Floor Time: Use a blanket or a tummy time mat on the floor. Place your baby on their tummy, and you can use a rolled-up towel under their chest for extra support.

Read More: What is Baby Babble and When Will My Baby Start Babbling?

Making Tummy Time Fun

  • Interactive Play: Engage your baby with toys, mirrors, or books. Placing colourful toys within their reach can encourage them to lift their head and reach out, combining playtime with muscle strengthening.
  • Join In: Get down on the floor with your baby! Talk, sing, or make funny faces to keep them entertained and engaged.
  • Use Props: Tummy time pillows or cushions can make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for your little one, providing support and elevating their view.

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Tips for Successful Tummy Time

  • Consistency is Key: Aim for short but frequent sessions throughout the day. Incorporate tummy time into your daily routine, such as after nappy changes or naps. If they get fussy or irritated, you can always try again later in the day.
  • Follow Your Baby’s Cues: Some babies may initially resist tummy time. If your baby gets fussy, try holding them upright instead or reduce the duration and try again later. Gradually increase the time as they get used to it.
  • Safety First: Always supervise your baby during tummy time. Ensure the surface is clean and safe, free from any objects that could pose a danger.

Read More: Baby Development By Month

Overcoming Challenges With Tummy Time

  • Fussiness: It’s normal for babies to resist tummy time initially. Try to make it more enjoyable by incorporating it into activities they like, such as after a bath or during playtime.
  • Spit-Ups: If your baby tends to spit up during tummy time, try doing it before meals or wait for a while after feeding.
  • Increasing Duration: As your baby gets stronger, gradually increase tummy time duration. By around 3 months, aim for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, split into shorter sessions.
  • Advanced Tummy Time: Once your baby gains more control, encourage them to reach for toys or move around more during tummy time, promoting further development of their motor skills and keeping it fun for them.

Tummy time is a key part of your baby’s development, providing a foundation for future milestones. With patience, consistency, and a bit of creativity, you can make tummy time a fun and beneficial activity for your little one!

Read More: Baby Development By Month

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