Don’t we all get tired of sitting or sleeping in one position and need to stretch out every now and then? Similarly, babies also spend so much time looking at the ceiling and lying on their backs. They, too, need some stretching, and in comes newborn tummy time!
What is tummy time for babies?
Tummy time is the time your baby spends awake and on their tummy during the day. It is the first exercise that your baby needs. Infant tummy time helps them develop motor, sensory, and visual skills. Flipping them over on their tiny bellies lets them have a change of view and also plays a detrimental role in their growth.
Why is Tummy Time Important for Your Baby?
It is always recommended that infants sleep on their backs to prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Because of this, your baby spends most of their time on its back. Infant tummy time allows your baby to try out new positions and prevents flat spots on their heads from prolonged lying down. Tummy time benefits include:
- Build strength in their neck, trunk, arms, and shoulders.
- Prevent muscle tension in the neck.
- Hold up their heads, roll over, and crawl.
- Discover a new view of the world.
- Develop hand and eye coordination.
When can you start tummy time? For how long?
You can start infant tummy time from the first day of birth. It is safe and easy. Start tummy time with a few minutes, and you can gradually increase the time. By the end of three months, you can give your baby about an hour of tummy time every day at intervals. When your baby reaches seven to nine months of age and starts crawling, giving them tummy time is not very important.
How To Do Tummy Time?
Here are some tips for giving tummy time to your newborn:
- Make your baby lie on its stomach, on your lap, or on your chest. Always use a blanket or mat.
- The best time is when your baby is happy, alert, and has had their diaper changed. To make newborn tummy time more enjoyable, lie with your baby and chat with them. Simply sing to them or stroke their back with your hand. Keep toys in front of them that they can reach out for and focus on. You can also keep a mirror so that the baby can see their reflection and be entertained.
- Infant tummy time can be given a few times a day. However, avoid giving it after feedings to prevent spitting up.
- Place your baby on a safe surface during tummy time. Avoid putting them on a bed or sofa, where they may suffocate or rollover.
- Do not use the same location for tummy time. Keep on changing the place so that your baby gets to see something different each day.
- If you want to start a schedule for tummy time, do it after every diaper change or any other activity. This will help your baby to start expecting it, and even you will get used to it.
Sometimes, your baby may get restless during this time. You can simply change the location or activity. If your baby is not comfortable on the floor, put them on your chest and play with them. If your baby falls asleep, make sure to put them to sleep on their back. Always be with your baby during their tummy time. Never leave them unattended.
Not all babies will enjoy tummy time, but understand that it helps the development of your baby. You and your baby will eventually get used to it. Cherish all the moments with your baby, because your little one will not stay little for long!
Cleveland Clinic. 3 benefits of tummy time for newborns + how to do it safely (2020).
Pathways.org. Tummy time (2020).
Pregnancy birth & baby. Tummy time (2020).
Nationwide Children’s. Tummy time (2020).
St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Tummy time is important for your baby .
Sanford Health. What is tummy time? How does it help a baby? (2020).
KidsHealth. Tummy time .