What's tummy time? Think of it as baby's first workout! Here's when and how to do tummy time and what to do if your baby hates it. #WhatIsTummyTime #TummyTimeTips #TummyTimeBenefits #Baby #MondayMorningMoms #MondayMorningMomsChildCare
Infants have a variety of reactions to being placed face-down on the floor. Until they develop the muscles necessary to lift their heads from an awkward face-plant position, many babies hate tummy time (and squall indignantly to let you know it!). Others seem to love the view. And still others are indifferent, cooing happily no matter which end is up.
Whatever your baby's reaction, tummy time helps your baby develop motor skills that eventually lead to crawling. Here’s what tummy time is, how to do it and tips to encourage it if your little one prefers to remain belly-up.
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is placing your baby on his stomach to play. Practicing tummy time helps babies develop the muscles necessary to lift their heads and, eventually, to sit up, crawl and walk. Remember, "back to sleep, tummy to play”: Your baby should always be awake during tummy time and under your careful watch.
When should I start tummy time?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies begin tummy time the very day they come home from the hospital.
How long should my baby do tummy time each day?
Encourage your baby to work his way up to about 15 minutes total on his tummy every day (or two to three sessions a day lasting three to five minutes each), always under your watchful eye. As your baby gets older, you can leave him on his belly for longer stretches, since older babies need more time on their tummies to build strength.
How to do tummy time
The ideal time to do tummy time is after your baby wakes up from a nap or following a diaper change.Clear a small area of the floor. Place your baby on his tummy on a playmat or clean towel.Surround your baby with a few favorite toys.Try to keep your baby belly-down for three to five minutes, two to three times a day.As your baby begins enjoying tummy time, work up to longer and more frequent sessions throughout the day.Never put your baby to sleep on his stomach. Sleeping in the prone position is a significant risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Concerned about your baby developing a flat head from sleeping on his back? Try not to worry: Most flat spots round out as babies grow older. In addition to tummy time, you can also vary up your baby’s sleep direction (place him in his crib with his feet facing one direction one week and the opposite direction the next week). And avoid too much time in bouncers, swings, car seats and carriers, which put additional pressure on the back of baby’s head.
Ways to boost tummy time
Get down on the floor with your baby, face-to-face or side-by-side. Chat him up and offer up a special toy for entertainment.
Place an unbreakable mirror in front of your baby so he can see his own fascinating face. Vary the position, from in front of your baby to either side.
Tempt your baby with enticing toys. Spread them around your little one in a circle so he’ll be tempted to reach for them, which helps develop all of the different muscles necessary to eventually sit up, crawl and walk.
Prop him up by placing a nursing pillow (or other firm cushion) under his chest and arms.
Place your baby on your own tummy while you lie on your back (watch out for drool!). Or raise him overhead as you lie down in a modified baby “bench press.” Don’t forget the silly noises and kisses!
What are the benefits of tummy time and why is it so important?
Spending awake time belly-down offers lots of benefits for your little one. Tummy time:
Helps prevent flat spots from forming on the back of baby’s head.
Allows your baby to work different muscles than those he’d use on his back. By practicing his push-ups, your baby will develop the muscles in his arms, shoulders, upper back and neck that will eventually enable him to lift his head.
Sets the stage for motor skills like reaching, rolling over, sitting up and crawling.
What can I do if my baby hates tummy time?
Lots of babies hate tummy time at first, but most begin to tolerate and sometimes even enjoy it as they build the muscles required to lift their heads. In the meantime, make tummy time less torturous by:
Trying several shorter stints a day. Aim for just 1 to 2 minutes at a time at first. With practice, your baby will work up to longer belly sessions.
Switching up the locations. A change in scenery is sometimes enough to keep tummy time tolerable.
Massaging his feet. If your baby enjoys it, a baby massage can encourage tummy time.
Inviting an older sib to join. Your baby might be feeling the pressure from you — plus a fresh face can make tummy time more interesting. Kids can get down on the floor more easily than adults, and they have more zip in their play when your baby needs an energy boost. Just be sure to keep a close watch on both kids.
Tummy time prepares your baby for the exciting developmental stages to come. By 3 months, most babies can lift their heads 45 degrees (leaning on their forearms); a month later, they can go to 90 degrees (pushing up on their hands). And around 9 months, many babies begin crawling (although some begin earlier and others never crawl at all — and that’s perfectly normal). So keep your eye on the prize and log that tummy time now!
Article courtesy of WhatToExpect.com By What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect the First Year.
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