You want to do everything you can to help your baby thrive. One way you can encourage the development of certain motor skills is by creating plenty of opportunities for tummy time.
Why the Need for Tummy Time?
Over a decade ago, experts recommended putting babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. As a result, the incidence of SIDS dropped by about 50 percent. Although that’s great news, if your baby spends all that time on his back, it can cause the back of his head to become flat.
Giving your baby opportunities to spend supervised time on his tummy can help prevent the flat spots from developing. But that’s not all. When your baby spends time on his tummy, it helps him strengthen his shoulder, neck and back muscles, which helps with the development or certain motor skills. In fact, research has indicated, that babies who spend time on their tummies may roll over, crawl and sit up without support earlier than babies who don’t practice tummy time.
Experts differ on exactly when to start tummy time. But placing your newborn belly down on your chest is one way to get her used to tummy time. Starting supervised tummy time early may help your baby get used to the position. Once your baby has a bit more head control, you may want to start formal tummy time.
Make Time for Tummy Time Every Day
Consider making tummy time part of your everyday routine. When your baby is awake, place her tummy down on a blanket or baby mat for comfort. Be sure always to supervise your little one during tummy time.
Keep in mind, your baby is probably used to spending time in other positions, such as on her back. So she may protest when you put her down on her belly, especially at first. Start slowly with a few minutes of tummy time a couple of times a day, and consider increasing a little at a time. Avoid putting your baby down on her tummy when her belly is full, which may be a little uncomfortable.
Placing your baby on a baby mat, which has different colors and textures is a great way to keep him distracted. Putting a mirror in front of your baby will also keep him interested when he is practicing tummy time.
Tummy time toys are also a good idea to capture your little one’s attention when he is belly-down. When your baby is a bit older, consider putting toys just out of his reach, so he tries to move towards them.
Of course one of the best things you can do during tummy time, is get down on the floor with your baby and hang out with her. Sing, play peekaboo and just enjoy this time together.
Written by Maryann DePietro @writerlady34
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.