The Benefits of Tummy Time

First of all, let's get this straight -

 

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy Time is one of the baby's first physical exercises - and the most important one!

It is the period of the day that the baby spends awake and on their stomach.

The importance of it cannot be overstated.

 

Why is Tummy Time so important?

Here are the main reasons why you should be serious about your baby's Tummy Time activity:

  • Helps prevent flat spots on the back of your baby's head (also known as 'flat head syndrome')
  • Makes neck and shoulder muscles stronger so your baby can start sitting up, crawling and even walking!
  • Improves your baby's motor skills overall

When to start Tummy Time?

Some say that you should start when your LO is two weeks old, but The American Academy of Pediatrics says that you can start as early as the first day from the hospital. In the beginning, babies should benefit from two or three short sessions (3 to 5 minutes each).

As the baby grows older, you should increase the frequency and length of these sessions.

"Is it too late to start at 6 months old?"

Short answer: no. It's never too late to start. But the earlier you start, the more comfortable and easier it will be for the baby. He will meet his developmental milestones much quicker.

How to make Tummy Time easier?

Here are some tips that will help you make Tummy Time seem like the most relaxing thing:

  • Start by spreading out a blanket in a clear area.
  • Try short sessions right after a diaper change or after the baby wakes from a nap.
  • Make it interesting by placing toys around the baby so he/she can interact with his surroundings.
  • Ask someone that you trust to sit in front of the baby so they can bond
  • As your baby grows, your Tummy Time sessions can last longer, and you can have them more often throughout the day.

However, the most important thing that will help you the most: START EARLY!

Trust me on this one.

(Babies playing with our Premium Water Mat™ during Tummy Time)

What should I do during Tummy Time?

First of all, never let your baby be unsupervised, especially during Tummy Time.

From birth to 3 Months: (focus on getting the baby used to Tummy Time)

  • Lap Soothe: Lie baby face down across your lap when holding or burping. Place a hand on the baby's bottom to help calm them.
  • Eye-Level Smile: Encourage eye contact by getting down at the baby's level. You can roll up a blanket and place it under your baby's chest for support.
  • Tummy to Tummy: Place the baby on your chest or tummy so that he/she is face to face with you. Lay down flat or propped up on pillows. Make sure to hold firmly for safety.

3 Months to 6 Months: (work on getting a total of an hour of Tummy Time daily)

  • Use toys to encourage head turning and visual tracking
  • Practice after diapering or bathing so it becomes routine

6 Months to 12 Months: (continue developing the baby's neck and trunk strength)

  • Baby Push-Ups: Place your hands under the baby's chest and tummy. Use gentle lifting cues to get the baby to push up on his/her hands for brief periods.
  • Reach 'n Roll Play: Encourage the baby to practice rolling and moving while on their tummy. Use toys to motivate the baby to reach and rotate on their tummy to get the toys.

 

Hope you now understand why Tummy Time is so important and how you can make it much easier!

See you next week,

- Martha

Sunvalley Baby

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/safesleepbasics/tummytime
  2. https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/the-benefits-of-tummy-time/
  3. https://pathways.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/TummyTimeBrochure_English_LEGAL_2020.pdf