Why Is Tummy Time Important?

When your baby comes home from the hospital, there is a lot that you are going to want to do. Probably the first thing you want to do is cuddle them and rest. After that, you should consider giving them some time to play around and look at their new home through tummy time. However, what exactly is tummy time and how can it benefit your baby. Continue reading to learn more about tummy time for babies.

What Is Tummy Time For Babies?

Tummy time is simply any time that your newborn baby spends on their tummy. This is also a time during the day when they are awake as you do not want your newborn baby to sleep on their stomach. The reason being is to reduce the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

How Long Should It Be?

Pathways.org, a trusted resource for parents and has given advice for over 35 years says that ” Your baby should work up to an hour of tummy time per day by three months of age.” This hour does not and probably should not be consecutive, but a total throughout the day. Try to split up tummy time in small 3-5 minute sessions throughout the day.  If your newborn gets fussy, you should try and do something else like holding them and singing.

When To Start

As previously mentioned, you should aim to have your newborn spending an hour each day on their stomach playing. However, how do you get to this point and when should you start your baby on tummy time? Healthychildren.org gives a simple answer by saying, “Beginning on his first day home from the hospital or in your family childcare home or center, play and interact with your baby while he is awake and on the tummy.” One thing to avoid when starting tummy time is to have it before you feed your baby as being on their tummy on a full stomach could cause them to spit up their lunch. Check out this article to learn more about some Foods For Your Baby: The First 12 Months.

How Tummy Time Helps Your Baby

Tummy time can help your newborn baby in many ways. It allows them to build motor skills and even develop muscles in their bodies. Some areas where the muscle is greatly developed are the neck and shoulders which allows them to eventually look around. It also can help your newborn baby build the strength that will allow them to roll over, sit up, crawl, and over time walk.

Tips For Better Tummy Time

Tummy To Tummy Time

If you still want to be able to cuddle your baby while they enjoy tummy time you can lay them down on your stomach. This allows you to get the cuddle you want while allowing them to build their muscles. You can even use this time for some skin to skin contact bonding.  This is best done for the first weeks or months when they have just come home from the hospital. It is also a great way to keep an eye on them and supervise them, which you should always be doing during tummy time.

Use A Towel Or A Blanket

Nationwidechildrens.org recommends that you “Place a small rolled towel under your baby’s chest from armpit to armpit. This makes it easier for your baby to lift his head and to push up.” The same outcome can be replicated by using a rolled-up blanket or a small body pillow.

Spice Things Up

If your newborn baby is one of the few that dislikes tummy time there are some things that you can do to make it easier for everyone involved. To start, you can provide them with some fun toys to play with. If you go for this route try to routinely switch the toys that you are giving to your baby. While your newborn that has just come home from the hospital may not grab for toys, any form of tummy time will help them develop muscles and motor skills.

Another thing that you can do to spice up tummy time for babies is to get them a mirror to look into. This will allow them to see themselves. Some babies will actually enjoy this more than having toys to play with.

The last thing that you can do to spice up tummy time is to get on your stomach and play with your baby. You can either talk to them or sing to them to stimulate their minds. This one is one of the best because along with your baby gaining strength, you and your baby will be bonding.

Conclusion

When it comes to tummy time for babies, there is a lot to know. Most importantly is to remember to always be supervising your baby during tummy time. Another thing that you should keep in mind is to know that you don’t need a strict tummy time schedule and it can happen whenever and wherever as long as they are in a safe place.

Sources:

https://pathways.org/topics-of-development/tummy-time/
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Back-to-Sleep-Tummy-to-Play.aspx
https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/tummy-time