Are you a new parent looking to support your baby’s development?
If so, tummy time may be just what your little one needs!
Not only is it fun and engaging for your baby, but it also helps strengthen back and neck muscles, develop motor skills and encourage head turning,
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of tummy time, how to do it and different positions to do it in.
Key Takeaways on Recommended Tummy Time Positions
- Tummy time helps promote healthy development for newborns.
- There are a variety of tummy time positions to try with your baby, including chest-to-chest, football hold, and eye-level tummy time, all of which can be adapted to your baby’s needs.
- Besides doing tummy time in different positions, you can also use toys and engage in baby exercises to make the activity more fun for you and your little one.
What is Tummy Time and How Does it Benefit Baby’s Development?
Tummy time is the practice of placing your baby on their stomach while they are awake and supervised. This position allows your babies to lift their head, push up with their arms, and strengthen their core and neck muscles. It also helps prevent flat spots which can develop on the head if the baby spends longer stretches on their back while asleep or when they’re in the car seats or strollers.
Definition and Benefits of Tummy Time
Tummy time refers to any position where your baby is on their tummy while awake and supervised. This simple activity can have numerous benefits for your baby’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development, including:
- Tummy time supports your baby develop the neck and shoulder muscles necessary to hold their head up, which is an important precursor to crawling and sitting up. At 3 months old, your baby should be lifting their head.
- Stronger muscles: As your baby pushes up with their arms and legs, they are also building strength in their core muscles, which will be essential for sitting and walking.
- Enhanced cognitive development: Tummy time encourages your baby to explore their surroundings, reach for toys, and interact with caregivers, all of which promote brain development.
- Improved social-emotional development: Tummy time provides an opportunity for bonding with caregivers and can help your baby feel more comfortable in different positions and environments.
Recommended Tummy Time Duration and Frequency
Experts recommend starting tummy time as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital and increasing it gradually over time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least 30-60 minutes of tummy time per day, spread out in short intervals throughout the day.
However, every baby is different, and it’s important to follow your baby’s cues and adjust the duration and frequency of tummy time to their individual needs.
How to Get Started
Tummy time is an essential activity for your baby’s growth and development, and there are many different positions you can try to make it fun and engaging, even if your baby hates tummy time. All these positions are comfortable for most babies.
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your baby on your chest with their arms and legs tucked under their body. Talk to your baby and make eye contact to keep them engaged.
Hold your baby like a football with their tummy against your forearm. Use your other hand to support their head. You can also use a pillow to prop up their chest and make the position more comfortable.
Hold your baby across your body with their head resting on your bicep. Use your other arm to support their body and keep them steady.
This position involves propping your baby up on a pillow or cushion so they can look around at eye level.
Prop your baby up on a pillow or cushion so they can look around at eye level. Use toys or a mirror to keep them engaged and encourage them to lift their head.
This position involves propping your baby up on a pillow or cushion to support their upper body.
Prop your baby up on a pillow or cushion to support their upper body. Make sure the pillow is not too high, and your baby is comfortable.
This position involves sitting with your legs outstretched and your baby lying on their stomach across your lap.
Sit with your legs outstretched and your baby lying on their stomach. Use your hands to support their body and keep them steady.
Tips for Getting Started with Tummy Time Positions
- Start with short sessions of tummy time and gradually increase the duration as your baby gets more comfortable.
- Use toys or mirrors to keep your baby engaged and encourage them to lift their head.
- Make sure your baby is comfortable and adjust the position or cushioning as needed.
- Supervise your baby at all times during tummy time to ensure their safety and well-being.
How Often Should I Switch Tummy Time Positions?
It’s a good idea to switch up your baby’s tummy time positions every few minutes to keep them engaged and avoid discomfort. You can also try alternating between different positions throughout the day to provide variety and promote all-around development.
How to Do Tummy Time: Tips and Strategies for Success
Many parents want skip tummy time because its challenging. What they don’t know is that tummy time is important for the baby’s physical development. Sure, it can also be challenging, but it doesn’t need to be. There are many ways to make tummy time interesting for many babies.
Here are different tips to turn tummy time sessions from challenging to fun.
- Choose a safe surface for practicing tummy time.
- Place baby on their tummy on a soft, flat surface.
- Place a toy or colorful object in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head.
- Get down on the floor with your baby and talk to them, make eye contact, and offer encouragement.
- Keep tummy time toys, mirrors, or other colorful toys close to your baby’s face.
- Sing songs, make silly noises, or play peek-a-boo to keep your newborn engaged.
- Get down on the floor with your baby and interact with them to make tummy time a bonding experience.
- Place your baby on top of your old exercise ball while holding them in position.
- Always remember that “tummy to play, back to sleep.”
Strategies for Overcoming Common Challenges and Difficulties
- Start tummy time early, especially during the first month. Lay baby on your tummy, then hold baby on eye level and talk to them during the early days of tummy time. Make funny faces to make your baby laugh or smile.
- Let your baby practice tummy time for brief periods. For instance, you can start with multiple sessions of three to five minutes at a time in a day. Gradually increase their time on the floor once you baby is comfortable with the activity.
- Use a nursing pillow or cushion such as a rolled-up towel or a soft blanket and place it under your baby’s chest.
- Carrying baby tummy down or face down when moving from one room to another is a good alternative to carrying your baby upright.
- Link tummy time to other routines such as diaper change.