Hubbub- “I should put my baby on his back.”
Truth- Spending time on their tummy is crucial for baby’s development.
We have all heard "Back to Sleep," but often missed the other half of that slogan, "Tummy to Play."
Tummy time is for babies who are awake and being watched. All babies need this to develop strong muscles and prepare for milestones, like crawling.
When can it start?
Beginning on your baby’s first day home, you can play and interact with him while he is awake and on his tummy a few times a day for a few minutes. As he grows and enjoys the activity, increase the amount of time to a goal of 1 hour a day in spurts, by 3 months of age.
A few things to understand first~
Start with a soft, comfy, secure surface with your baby on his back. In the early weeks, it may be easier to place the baby on a table top so he can see you better. Let him settle into the back lying position. You can try bringing his hands together onto his chest and talking or singing to him. Most babies respond more favorable if they are moved to the belly down position gradually when they are calm and relaxed. Stay close to his face where he can see you, then slowly roll him onto his side. Support him and hold his hands close to his chest. Once he is settled and relaxed in the side position, slowly turn him onto his tummy. Keep a reassuring hand on his back and help him bring his hands near or under his shoulders for comfort and lateral stability. He may wiggle or make grunting sounds, but unless he's crying you can just continue to offer comfort and encouragement as he does the hard work of learning about his new body and the world around him. As you know, never walk away from an infant on a table top. Newborns can instinctively roll even in the early days.
Here are some ways to start~
Lay your baby face down across your lap while holding or burping. You can elevate the leg closest to his chest. Place a hand on the baby’s bottom to help calm him.
Encourage eye contact by getting eye level. A blanket can be rolled up and placed under baby’s chest for support. Smile, talk or sing to your baby.
Place your baby on your chest or tummy so that the baby is face to face with you. Lay down flat or propped up on pillows. Always hold firmly under his arms or across his bottom for safety.
Slide one hand between baby’s legs and stomach and rest the palm of your hand on the baby’s upper chest. Use your other forearm or hand to support the baby’s head and neck. Nestle your baby close to you for comfort and support.
Place your baby on their tummy for a minute after every daytime diaper changes. The routine can help you remember to practice the position and build your babies strength and endurance.
Why is it important?
· Tummy Time is essential for infants’ core, neuro-motor, and sensory development and the achievement of milestones
· Helps improve neck and head control and strengthens swallowing muscles
· Strengthens his back, shoulder, and core muscles needed for rolling over and crawling
· Prevents flat spots on baby’s head and Torticollis (contracted neck muscles that cause the head to twist to one side)
· Promotes cognitive development
· Develops play and bonding among family
· Can be a part of creating a “routine”
· Stimulates senses, especially touch and vision
· Allows improved balance and postural control