Tummy Time for Your Baby: How to Do

One of the most important things about being a parent is ensuring your baby grows up strong and healthy. A balanced diet, breastfeeding, and adequate attention are important for healthy growth and development. While a lot of babies spend most time lying on their backs, it is important to train your child to stay on their tummy too. Tummy time is important for growing babies as it helps strengthen the child’s back and improves coordination. For this reason, you need to take time every day to train your child how to do tummy time.

The Why and When of Tummy Time

Why Babies Need Tummy Time

Babies need to have tummy time as it helps them to develop strong back and neck muscles. With a strong back and neck, your child will be able to reach milestones like crawling, sitting and even walking with ease. At 4 months, most babies are able to lift their heads to see what is going on around them. Tummy time helps to train the baby to lift their head and hold this position for longer. When you train your baby to stay on their tummy, they will start to crawl and scoot much sooner.

Tummy time also allows them a chance to move their legs and arms freely. This helps to develop motor skills that enable them to start rolling over. As he continues to grow, you will notice that your baby will start trying to push up to a crawling position. This strengthens the baby’s arms.

When to Start Tummy Time

A baby can start enjoying tummy time soon after birth. It is advisable to wait for the time when the baby is awake and alert for you to place them on their tummy. You can start by placing them on your lap or hands. Eventually, you can start placing them on a blanket on a flat surface.

At first, your child will seem a bit uneasy and most of the weight will go to his face and upper body but this will change once they get used to it.

When starting out, allow your child just a few minutes of tummy time. You can repeat it two or three times a day. Keep increasing the length of the sessions with time.

How to Do Tummy Time Correctly

Like most exercises, tummy time is easy and straightforward.  Here is how:

  1. Create a Tummy Time-Space

This place should be a soft, flat and safe space. You can use a baby blanket or a tummy time mat.

  1. Engage the Baby

In the beginning, the baby will seem uncomfortable doing tummy time. If they find it hard to do it on their own, you can help by staying near the baby. Seeing a familiar face can help as they will try to lift their head.   

  1. Make It a Habit

In order for your child to get used to tummy time, you need to make it a habit for them. Make it part of their everyday routine. With time, your child will grow to love this position as it helps them do and see more.

Always ensure there is someone around to supervise the baby. This is especially important during the first few days of learning how to do tummy time. Also, avoid putting your baby on tummy time when they are asleep. This increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.  

Must Watch: 1: How to Do Baby Tummy Time Safely

2: Five Essential Tummy Time Moves to Make It More Fun and Effective

 What If Baby Doesn’t Like Tummy Time?

There are times when a child simply won’t like tummy time. Here are things you can do to make it more pleasurable for the baby.

  • Go slow – as mentioned above, some babies will only want to be on their tummy for a few minutes. Don’t push them beyond what they enjoy doing. They will learn to love it with time.
  • Use a plastic mirror – you can place a plastic mirror in front of the baby. This way, they can enjoy their reflection each time they lift their head.
  • Start with your lap under tummy – if your child is not comfortable lying on their stomach on the floor, you can start with training them on your lap.
  • Involve a sibling – if you have a child that is older, encourage them to lie with the child on the floor. Seeing a familiar face can help them to get comfortable.
  • Give more support – you can fold a towel or a blanket and place it under the baby’s chest. Stretch the baby’s arms over the roll. This will make it more comfortable for them.