When it comes to your baby’s development, learning tummy time is a crucial step to further milestones like crawling. With all the time your baby lies on their back, it’s easy to forget that tummy time is just as important. Though it’s difficult to see the benefits at first, all the wiggling during this time will contribute to their development in the future. Read on to know about everything you need to know about tummy time for your baby.
Tummy Time and Its Benefits
Most mothers usually say “back to sleep, tummy to play”. Tummy time is simply placing your baby on their stomach and letting them play. Remember to always be with your baby while they are doing tummy time and make sure they are fully awake.
This activity helps your baby develop strong neck and shoulder muscles. Also, it is a great way to promote motor skills at their earliest stages. On top of that, it prevents flat spots from forming on the back of your baby’s head, which is a side effect of all that time lying on their back. After a while, your baby will help the strength that is needed for sitting up, rolling over, and crawling.
When to Start Tummy Time
Parents can start this as early as their first day home from the hospital. However, you should start practicing tummy time 2-3 times each day for about 3-5 minutes each time.
You can gradually increase the time as your baby gets older and more comfortable with it. Also, starting tummy time early will help you avoid your baby fuss. By the time your baby is 3 months old, you should let your child work up to about an hour of time on their belly a day.
In addition, the best times to practice this activity are when your baby wakes up from a nap, after a diaper change or a bath time.
How to Do it Properly
Tummy time doesn’t require a lot of things to do. All you need is an area with a soft surface. You can start by clearing a small area of the floor. And, place your baby on their tummy on a mat or clean towel. Also, you should surround your baby with their favorite toys. Try to keep it short at first and do it a couple of times a day. Moreover, you can turn this activity into a mommy and baby exercise by having your baby lie on their back in front of you.
As your baby begins enjoying the time lying on their belly, you can work up to longer and more frequent sessions throughout the day. Remember, never put your baby to sleep on their stomach. And, it is normal if your baby doesn’t like this activity at first. Try to praise and encourage them. Seeing your happy face can be incentive enough for your baby to try lifting their head and wiggling. Don’t give up, just try it 1 to 2 minutes at a time until your baby gets used to it. Most babies begin to tolerate and even enjoy tummy time as they build the required muscles over time. In the meantime, you could also make it more enjoyable by changing locations, massage, or joining with them.
Although tummy time has been a recommendation for a long time, not all parents have their babies do it. Because of its important benefits, don’t let your baby’s cry during their first try stop you from letting them have more practice the next day. Let us know more about your baby’s experience with tummy time in the comments!