If you are a first-time mum, ensure you incorporate tummy time into your baby’s schedule. Pediatric experts report that tummy time is essential in developing a baby’s motor skills.
Basically, tummy time entails placing your baby face-down on the bed. Unfortunately, the majority of infants hate tummy time. This is because they don’t have the necessary muscles needed to lift their heads from this position.
On the flip side, some babies love tummy time, especially if the surrounding view fascinates them. Regardless of your baby’s response to tummy time, you have to incorporate this technique into their routine. So, what should you do with your baby during tummy time?
Everything you need to know about tummy time
As mentioned earlier, tummy time is laying the baby on their stomachs to play. You have to practice tummy time when the baby is awake.
As they try to lift their heads and neck, they develop the necessary support muscles for crawling and walking. Note that placing your baby on their tummy to sleep is not considered tummy time.
When should you start tummy time?
Child experts report that you should start tummy time as early as possible. New parents can therefore start tummy time when the baby is one week old.
Some 6 tips on how to do tummy time
- It would be best to do tummy time after a diaper change or when your baby wakes up from a nap.
- Child experts always advise doing tummy time on the floor. So, place a soft baby mat or clean shawl on the floor. Then, lay your baby on it and leave them for several minutes. Always remove any objects around the area that could injure the child.
- Keep the baby’s mind occupied by placing their favorite toys around the area. This way, they won’t start crying or throwing tantrums if they find the position uncomfortable.
- It is advisable to practice three to four tummy time sessions of 5 minutes each. Laying your child by their tummy for 15 consecutive minutes on the floor might be unbearable.
- Once you notice that your baby enjoys tummy time, you can increase the stretching time. Alternatively, you can incorporate more tummy time sessions.
- When laying the child to sleep, do not place them on their tummy. Babies can roll and fall off. Also, putting your baby to sleep on their tummy increases the risk of experiencing sudden infant death syndrome.
Not to worry, babies rarely develop a flat head due to sleeping on their backs. Many flathead spots disappear as they grow up. However, ensure that your baby does not spend too much time in car seats, carriers, and swings to reduce the chance of getting a flat head.
What is the time needed for tummy time every day?
As a parent, it is important to know the right time needed for tummy time. Usually, you need approximately 15 minutes of tummy time during the day. However, it can be difficult to leave your baby on their tummy for 15 minutes consecutively.
So, it is advisable to place your baby on their tummy for three sessions of five minutes each; this is undoubtedly more practical. During tummy time, you have to watch your baby and support them where needed, carefully. Nevertheless, note that older babies need more tummy time to build on muscle strength.
How can you improve tummy time for your baby?
Join them on the floor:
Avoid leaving your child alone on the floor during tummy time. Get down with them to offer some entertainment. You can make funny faces or sing a song for them. This way, they will be less likely to throw tantrums.
Put an unbreakable mirror in front of them:
Another way to entertain your baby during tummy time is placing an unbreakable mirror in front of them. Babies get fascinated when they see themselves. Do this especially for children who hate tummy time. You will make tummy time more bearable for them.
Surround the area with toys:
Placing different toys around the area during tummy time makes it more interesting for your infant. Babies will try to reach for these toys. And this helps them develop the necessary muscles needed for walking and crawling.
Place the baby on top of your tummy:
You can make tummy time better for your babies when you place them on your own tummy. This makes them more comfortable since they know they have your support. Make funny faces, snuggle and kiss them as you do this.
Doing this helps you improve the bond you have with your baby. However, note that your baby is likely to drool.
Why is tummy time important?
Below are some of the advantages of incorporating tummy time into your baby’s schedule.
Preventing flat head spots:
Children spend most of their time lying flat on their heads. As a result, they may develop flat spots. Although these spots usually go away on their own as the child grows up, severe flat head spots may not go away quickly.
Tummy time gives your baby a break from lying on their back. Subsequently, they prevent flat spots.
Great for muscle development:
The major benefit of tummy time is muscle improvement. As your baby tries to lift their head or reach out for surrounding toys, they develop the necessary muscles needed for support. As a result, they’ll be able to walk and crawl faster.
How to make tummy time bearable for your baby
A good percentage of babies dislike tummy time. However, with time they get used to it. Infants hate tummy time because they struggle to lift their heads. But as they develop the necessary muscles needed to stretch, they find tummy time fun.
Below are some of the ways to make tummy time more bearable for your baby.
Practice short sessions at intervals:
At first, your infant can find tummy time as torture. So, avoid leaving them on their tummy for a long period. It would be best to place them face down on the floor for approximately one to two minutes at first. After some time, you can start practicing tummy time for about 5 minutes in each session.
Changing locations from time to time:
Babies often get fascinated by the surrounding view. So, ensure the surrounding view is attractive enough to keep them occupied. Also, change tummy time locations from time to time since children can get bored with one spot.
Give your baby’s feet a massage:
During tummy time, give your baby a massage on their feet. This makes the experience more bearable for them. However, note that some babies do not enjoy feet massages.
Encourage the older sibling to join:
Encourage them to join tummy time sessions if your baby has a sibling. Babies might feel pressured when you are around. So, they would be better off relating to their siblings during tummy time.
Children can also get down on the floor easily and entertain their siblings better than you can. Nonetheless, it would be best to monitor both your children during tummy time.
Tummy time is essential for all babies. Tummy time improves muscle development and strength in babies. Tummy time involves placing your baby’s face down on the floor for approximately 15 minutes per day.
During this time, babies struggle to lift their heads and stretch their hands. This fosters the development of the right muscles needed for crawling and walking. Even so, note that a good percentage of children hate tummy time.
So, always try making the experience enjoyable for your baby. You can do this by changing tummy time locations, giving your baby a massage and inviting an older sibling to join. Luckily, with time, your baby will enjoy tummy time.