When to Start and How Often to Do Tummy Time
Tummy time should begin when your baby is just a few days old. It’s important to start early, as this will help your baby get used to being on their tummy and develop the necessary muscles to crawl and roll over later on.
At first, start with short sessions of tummy time, lasting just a few minutes at a time. You can gradually increase the duration of these sessions as your baby gets more comfortable. By the time your baby is three months old, they should be spending around an hour a day on their tummy.
It’s important to note that tummy time should always be supervised, and that your baby should never be left on their tummy to sleep. This is because sleeping on their back is the safest position for babies, and reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Tips and Techniques to Make Tummy Time Fun and Engaging
Tummy time can be challenging for babies, especially if they’re not used to it. However, there are several things you can do to make tummy time fun and engaging for your little one:
Get down on their level: Lie down on your tummy next to your baby and talk, sing, or play with them. This will encourage them to lift their head and engage with you.
Use props: Place toys or a rolled-up towel under your baby’s chest to provide some support and make tummy time more comfortable. You can also use a baby mirror to stimulate their curiosity and encourage them to lift their head.
Make it a part of your routine: Incorporate tummy time into your daily routine, so that your baby gets used to it. For example, you could do tummy time after a diaper change or before a nap.
Try different positions: Tummy time doesn’t have to be limited to lying on the floor. You can also hold your baby over your shoulder, or lay them across your lap, to provide some variety and make it more interesting.
Remember, tummy time doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is to provide your baby with plenty of opportunities to develop their neck and shoulder muscles, and to have fun while doing it!
Why Tummy Time is Important for Your Baby’s Development
Tummy time is crucial for your baby’s physical and cognitive development. Here are a few reasons why:
Develops neck and shoulder muscles: Tummy time helps your baby develop the muscles in their neck and shoulders, which are necessary for crawling, rolling over, and sitting up.
Prevents flat spots on the head: Spending too much time on their back can cause flat spots on your baby’s head. Tummy time helps to reduce this risk.
Improves motor skills: Tummy time allows your baby to practice pushing up, reaching, and grasping, which improves their motor skills.
Enhances visual development: When your baby is on their tummy, they have to lift their head and look around, which helps to strengthen their eye muscles and improve their visual development.
Boosts cognitive development: Tummy time provides your baby with a new perspective on the world, which can stimulate their curiosity and enhance their cognitive development.
Overall, tummy time is an essential activity for your baby’s growth and development. By providing your baby with plenty of opportunities to practice, you can help them reach important developmental milestones and set them up for success in the future.
What to Do If Your Baby Doesn’t Like Tummy Time
Not all babies enjoy tummy time, and it can be frustrating for both you and your little one if they resist it. Here are a few things you can try to make tummy time more appealing for your baby:
Start slowly: If your baby is resistant to tummy time, start with just a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the duration as they get more comfortable.
Use props: As mentioned earlier, using a rolled-up towel or toys can make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby.
Get down on their level: Lie down on your tummy and play with your baby, or place a favorite toy just out of reach to encourage them to lift their head.
Try different times of day: Your baby may be more receptive to tummy time at different times of the day. Experiment with different schedules to find what works best for your baby.
Stay positive: If your baby is upset during tummy time, stay calm and positive. Try to make it a fun and engaging experience, rather than a source of stress or frustration.
Remember, every baby is different, and some may take longer to get used to tummy time than others. Be patient, and keep trying different techniques until you find what works best for your baby.
Gradually Progressing Tummy Time for Maximum Benefits
As your baby gets more comfortable with tummy time, you can gradually increase the difficulty level to provide them with even greater benefits. Here are a few ways to progress tummy time:
Increase duration: Once your baby can handle several minutes of tummy time, gradually increase the duration of each session.
Add movement: Encourage your baby to reach for toys, roll over, or crawl during tummy time to add more movement and challenge.
Remove props: As your baby gets stronger, remove the rolled-up towel or other props to provide a greater challenge.
Try different surfaces: Once your baby is comfortable on the floor, try tummy time on different surfaces, such as a bed or a padded mat.
Encourage play: Use tummy time as an opportunity to play with your baby and provide them with new experiences and challenges.
By gradually progressing tummy time, you can help your baby develop their muscles and cognitive skills, and prepare them for important developmental milestones like crawling and rolling over. As always, remember to supervise your baby during tummy time, and never leave them unattended.