The first few months of babies determine one’s development in his or her whole life, and thus experts highly suggest babies get tummy time before 6 months of their ages. It helps strengthen the muscle of the upper body and prevents early motor delays.
Sleeping on the stomach is the basic position during tummy time, but how much time should baby stay in that position?
What if the baby hates it?
Having tummy time is not as easy as you imagine. However, in this post, we will make it easy for you by giving a detailed introduction and guide.
Now, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What Is Tummy Time
Tummy time refers to the time the baby spends on stomach under supervised while the infant is awake. (Never do it when baby falls asleep.) AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) strongly recommend back to sleep, it reduces the possibility of baby death in sleep, and also avoids multiple sleeping disasters.
However, they also suggest that babies under 6 months need tummy time each day, which is crucial for baby’s development.
Michael Khalifa, the experts in baby health institute, states that “With the training of tummy time, baby gets great development on the neck, back and shoulder muscles.” This position encourages baby to lift their head, “And what’s more, it adds up more sweet time you can spend with your little baby!”
Benefits and Importance of Tummy Time
Tummy time does more than just warming up the intimacy relationship between you and baby, but most importantly, helps prevent the flat head syndrome. With belly down, position, baby’s head gets to rest from longtime supporting.
Also, by reaching out for a soft plush toy, baby can work different muscles the same time, such as head, shoulder, and arms. All of which is the preparation for motor skills as baby grows up.
Why Do Baby Need Tummy Time?
There is no question that babies need a lot of sleep, a healthy newborn should sleep a total of 14-17 hours per day, (these hours are not consecutive, of course) and adequate sleep helps them grow rapidly.
However, lying belly up for a long time may delay motor development and gives less chance for babies to work their muscles in the upper body. That is why they need tummy time each day.
It helps prevents early motor delays and conditions such as flat head syndrome and twisted neck;
It is a warm-up training for other important milestones, such as rolling, climbing, crawling and sitting straight up;
It helps the baby to strengthen the muscles on the neck, head, shoulder, and also helps the baby to master head control;
It exposes babies to a different environment, develops their adaptability;
It pushes gross motor skills, and alleviates gas pain;
And additionally, as the expert said, it grants a sweet time to spend with your baby in his or her crucial stage of life.
When to Start Tummy Time?
Tummy time should start as soon as the baby comes home from the hospital, and accomplishes typically around 7 months.
You may find that your baby is sick of getting tummy time, actually, hardly do babies love it. (After all, there are no other positions more comfortable than sleeping on the belly.) There is no need to get panic; you need to get them used to it, perhaps 3-5 minutes a time, and prolong the sessions gradually.
How Much Tummy Time Do Babies Need?
The ideal tummy time lasts for one hour per day by the first 3 months. You may as well try a few minutes a day (3-5 minutes), and several times a day, It helps babies to get used to it soon.
As babies grow, their muscles get stronger, and you can ramp up the number and duration the tummy time sessions. Especially when babies reach 3 to 4 months old, you can boost the tummy time to 20-30 times a day.
Keep the practice until babies can roll over themselves, you usually can stop around the age of 6-7 months.
How to Do a Tummy Time?
The optimal time is when the baby wakes up from a nap, or by the time he or she gets a diaper changed. You can clear a small area of the floor, or put the baby on a soft and safe place to lay him down. A tummy time pillow or a tummy time cushion can be a wise choice either. You can surround the baby with soft, colorful toys.
However, it is totally meaningless if the baby does not respond to tummy time, you need to engage her, and encourage her to raise the head. There are also activities that can do with baby, which we will talk in detailed later.
There is also a position for a newborn baby to use if he or she is unwilling to attend by oneself. You can place your baby on a blanket, lay on her side and set a roll-up towel behind her back, under her head, you can also put a rolled-up cloth for support. Bring baby’s arms in front of her and knee bent for comfort. It is precisely the design principle of tummy time pillow, as Babocush newborn seat does.
Remember, you need to roll over him or her every 10-15 minutes if you choose the last position.
Once baby gets sleepy and attempts to sleep, you need to stop tummy time immediately and put him on the bed or the bassinet. Sleeping on the stomach can never be a good thing for a baby!
What If Baby Hates Tummy Time?
Tummy time helps boost muscle development, which means the baby needs much power to support himself on raising the head. That is why the vast majority of babies hate it.
In such conditions, you can place several tummy time toys and put them out of reach, lures the baby to reach and grab. It gives them stimulation to engage. Apart from that, you can also switch up the locations, perhaps moves him or her from floor to a comfortable basket. Massaging her back and feet is also a good idea.
The infant is fond of playing with older sibs; you can get your neighbor kids to join the activity. Anyway, there is always a time to get used to it, once baby overcomes, you can prolong the tummy time gradually.
Activity Can Do with Babies
To help the baby better adapt to the tummy time, here are some activities that you can take:
- Lay down on a soft sofa or bed with back, put your baby on your stomach and then talk to her. This adds up intimacy between you and baby, gives him or her a sense of security, and also reduces much repulsive feeling to tummy time.
- Place some colorful stuff animals around her. Colored animal toys are pretty attractive to babies; they also benefit the baby a lot in distinguishing colors around. You can put toys nearby and lures baby to reach for them.
- Put an unbreakable mirror in front of the baby. Mirror attracts baby and also improves baby’s ability on self-recognition.
- Do the tummy time together with your baby. You can also lie down on the floor, do the same position, and make goofy noises and expressions. Seems a bit fool though, it does give your baby great encouragement.
- If you are tired of doing such activities with baby, getting a tummy time nursing pillow can be the right choice. It is more professional and spares more energy.
Tummy Time Safety
- Make sure to put her or him or a flat and stable surface, such as a hard floor or pillow, or he or she may unintentionally roll off a couch or a bed.
- Take care of your pets (If you have).
- Never leave him or her unattended on one’s belly.
- If the baby falls asleep in tummy time, you need to move him or her to a sleeper right away. Getting him to sleep on the belly can be a dangerous thing.
Tummy Time Products
Ok, now, you have mastered all the necessary knowledge on tummy times, then what accessories can be helpful?
Tummy Time Mat
Heavy-duty PVC materials add up joys in tummy time, the bright colors, sharp contrasts, and lovely floating toys help baby easier to get used to the tummy time. Attempt to use it outdoor? Fold it up and empty into your toy bags or purse, then you can bring along anywhere you want.
Tummy Time Pillow
Giraffe-like tummy time pillow offers solid support for baby during the tummy time; it also gives support when baby sits on his or her own. The light-up piano keys introduce music and short tunes; durable plastic toys stimulate the baby to reach in tummy time.
Tummy Time Cushion
Rewarded as the Best Product For A Newborn 0-4 Months In 2018, this tummy time cushion, with unique design, serves as a fascinating tool for baby to strengthen his muscles around the neck, back and shoulders. A detachable ring rattle and a teether can lure baby to reach out in tummy time.
Tummy Time Blanket
Instead of placing baby on the hard floor, you may consider laying them down on a soft tummy time blanket, it offers support for baby’s kicks and wiggles. It features a baby-safe mirror, a soft supporting pillow, a tummy time toy and teether. In a word, This tummy time product satisfies all your need in boring tummy time.
Tummy Time Activity Gym
A playmat is what you needed in helping the baby’s development on muscles and brain. It features a supporting pillow, detachable toys, and a removable baby-safe mirror. On safety issues, it meets and even exceeds safety standards as ASTM, CPSIA, and EN71.
Tummy Time Baby Seat
5-point harness offers multiple cares to your baby’s safety. Along with gentle vibration and heartbeat sound, it brings a strong sense of security to baby. You can also attach it to your rocker or a bouncer, which makes it a great newborn baby seat for colic and reflux baby.
We have made detailed reviews on this product,
Do my baby need tummy time? After reading through this post, I am sure you have mastered the necessity of getting tummy time for baby. Yes, it helps strengthen baby’s muscle, makes preparations for motor skills, and also prevents baby from the flat head syndrome.
By doing different sorts of activities, you get baby used to the tummy time pretty soon. Make it as long as 1 hour per day, and always keep an eye on your baby during whole tummy time.
Now, it is your turn! Go and get your baby into tummy time with multiple tummy time products and stuff!