Feeling frustrated and defeated by tummy time? You are not alone! Not every baby is made to love tummy time alone on the floor, but with a few simple tricks your little one can learn to love it.
Why is tummy time important?
Tummy time is vital to your baby developing neck, back, shoulder, and belly strength. The foundation for your baby's motor skills is with the development of head control. Babies are unable to progress with developmental skills such as cognitive, fine motor, and social skills, until they are able to hold their heads up on their own. Tummy time is where they develop this strength and ability. In addition to strengthening, tummy time is important for:
lengthening muscles to prepare to sit
sensory input and exploration
helping with gas or tummy issues
vestibular system development
learning to roll and move
Tummy Time Basics:
Start from birth or as soon as you can. The earlier you start, the better chance for success.
Do multiple times a day as part of your routine. You can do a couple minutes with every diaper change early on and then longer periods on the floor as they grow. If it is part of your routine, it is not something you will have to think about or need to remember.
By 3 months of age, they should be doing up to 60 minutes a day. This is not all at once, but spread out throughout the day.
Should be done when baby is awake, dry, fed, and happy.
Tips for Successful Tummy Time:
Tummy time should be the most fun time of the day for your baby. This is a great opportunity to get down on the floor or play mat and bond with your baby. Whatever your baby is most interested in, use at this time to get his/her attention for looking up. Babies love human faces more than most other toys or items. Get down on your baby's level or use siblings to help entertain. A mirror is invaluable for tummy time for your baby to interact with his/her own face.
Proper position is key. Make sure your baby's arms are under the shoulders. This allows the opportunity to push up for greater success with looking up. If arms are too far out to the side, too far in front, or not on a surface to push on, your baby will not be as successful with lifting his/her head to look around. Without success, babies quickly get frustrated and will not find this time enjoyable.
Use a towel roll under your baby's arms to give a little more support. If you take a towel or swaddling blanket, roll it up long ways and put under your baby's armpits. Your baby should have his/her forearms on the floor with upper arms under the shoulders. With a little extra support, your baby will not have to work as hard but will still have the benefits of tummy time.
Try tummy time on your lap or chest. Especially for younger babies, this can be more comforting to be close to you. Still make sure the arms are under the shoulders to help push up and still work on strengthening.
Create different areas in different rooms for your baby to do tummy time. This gives your baby different view points to explore. If you always do tummy time on the same mat, your baby will not have to opportunity for different sensory exploration. Even just facing your baby a different way can help keep him/her interested in tummy time.
If you are struggling or not feeling comfortable with tummy time, lets work together to gain success. You have all the tools you need for your baby and with one consultation session, we can help unlock what is necessary to help your baby thrive. Click here for more information!
If you are a new therapist or want some more detailed tips, a new E-book and webinar are coming soon! In the meantime, follow along on Instagram for tips and developmental information.