Tummy Time Tactic
So what is this “tummy time” that everyone is always talking about? Quite simply, it is an important part of a babies development and a special time that a baby needs to spend laying on their tummies. It helps build neck and upper back muscles, enabling them to be able to “push up” and eventually, crawl and move onto other physical milestones.
Since doctors nowadays advise to place baby’s on their backs to sleep, tummy time has become even more important. A lot of babies spend time on their backs not only sleeping, but while riding in car seats or sitting in bouncy chairs or swings. This increased amount of time on their backs can lead to flat spots on the back of their heads. Allowing them to spend time on their tummies, helps prevent this from occurring.
You may have noticed that your little one does not like to be on their stomachs. A lot of this has to do with the fact that they just aren’t used to it. It takes a little bit of time and practice for them to feel comfortable being in this new position. It also helps if you get them used to tummy time as early in their life as possible. This way that position won’t become so strange and scary to them.
The best thing to do is introduce tummy time for a short periods of time and then gradually increase the duration and amount of times per day your baby spends on their tummies. You want to make this time enjoyable for your baby so it’s best to find a warm, comfortable spot for them to lay down. Also, if you have a baby that is prone to spitting up, you might want to wait a little while before you place them on their tummies. Otherwise, you might have a big mess to clean up afterwards.
Tummy Time Activities
Here are some ideas for some tummy time activities:
- Join in the fun! – Get down on the ground and join in the action. You can also have an older sibling get down on the floor with the baby. Lay down on your tummy facing the baby and make funny faces or silly noises. Try to encourage them to lift up their head and look at you.
- Invest in a floor gym or mat – See if you can find a good floor mat that has bright colors or interesting things for the baby to look at. Something that dangles down with lights or music will help the baby to look up and build those neck muscles.
- Place toys within reach – Find some rattles or musical toys and place them just within reach. Encourage your baby to reach for them or look up for them. Mirrors work great too since baby’s love to look at themselves.
Prop them up – Once your baby has had some practice and his/her neck muscles are able to support their head, you can try propping them up on a pillow or rolled up towel/blanket. Place the support under their chest and have their arms out in front. This will help give them a better view and it might be a bit more comfortable for them.
If you find your baby simply doesn’t like tummy time no matter how much you try, you can help them get used to being in that position several ways.
- Lay down on your back and have the baby lie down on your tummy. Sing a song or make some silly faces to help distract them from their worries.
- Play a game of airplane. Carefully rest the baby on your legs while you lay on your back and gently move them around like an airplane
- Give them a massage. Lay them over your lap on their tummies and give them a nice back massage
Your baby might not be to sure about tummy time to begin with. If they begin to get fussy, see if you can distract them for a little while longer with toys or music. If they really seem to be getting upset, pick them up and try again another time. With a little time and practice, your baby will be a pro at tummy time before you know it.