I was wondering when to start tummy time, as I have heard from a few friends how important it is to a baby’s development.
This is a very good question and one that all parents should be aware of. As you will read below, giving your baby an ample amount of opportunities to have tummy time is vital to her development.
Baby Tummy Time
Years ago it was recommended that babies be put to sleep on their tummies, so they naturally were getting plenty of tummy time and it was never something that parents had to concern themselves with. However, studies began to link babies sleeping on their stomachs to SIDS, which is why it is now strongly recommended by all experts and pediatricians that you put your baby to sleep on her back.
This of course means that your baby will not be spending very much time on her tummy unless she learns how to roll over. This is of course a catch-22, as tummy time is an extremely important exercise for helping her to roll over.
Whenever your baby is lying on her tummy, it helps her to develop important muscles in her neck and arms that will allow her to eventually roll over. Your baby is essentially doing little push-ups to strengthen her arms and by continuously raising her head she is strengthening important muscles in her neck. You will notice that the more tummy time you give to your baby, the higher she will begin to lift her head and push herself up.
Not only does tummy time help prepare babies to rollover, but also to crawl, sit up, and stand. Needless to say, it is an extremely important exercise that all healthy babies should be doing.
How To Do Tummy Time
There are several variations of tummy time, and these can include:
- Placing your baby on a flat, albeit safe surface
- Holding your baby on your chest, while you’re lying down
- Holding your baby in your arms
It is important to note that many babies can become quite uncomfortable with being on their stomachs. This is a new perspective for your infant, and can be quite terrifying and upsetting, especially in the beginning when it is difficult to lift her head to look around.
You can help ease your baby into this process by propping her up on a rolled up towel or a pillow, and also interacting with her. As an example, if you have your baby on the floor (be sure to lay down a blanket first), you will want to lie on your stomach as well and allow your baby to see you and hear your voice. This goes a long way towards helping to comfort your baby.
You will also want to avoid giving your baby tummy time when ever she is fussy, hungry or after she has just eaten. Most importantly, never try to force your baby to lie on her stomach when she is crying or upset.
How Often To Do Tummy Time
In general, you want to give your baby about 20 to 30 minutes of tummy time every day. This can be all at once if your baby is tolerant enough, or it can be broken up into smaller sessions throughout the day.