Young babies are such fun to cuddle, that’s why everybody wants a go when you visit family and friends! There does however, come a time when your little one won’t want to be cuddled all the time anymore, and they will want to sit, crawl, stand, and walk for themselves. Tummy time is an essential activity which helps your young baby build the core strength which will stand them in good stead when it comes to learning to roll over, push themselves up, and begin to crawl.
Aim to start practicing tummy time when your baby is between 3 to 4 months old and their core and neck muscles have already developed a little.
Tummy time can be uncomfortable at first, and you may find your baby cries after a short period of time. Start gradually, with only a few minutes a day on a comfortable surface and be ready to roll them on to their back when they have had enough. With time, you will be able to extend tummy time to 40 – 60 minutes.
Here are some tips to help you and baby on your tummy time journey.
As with anytime you lay your baby on a soft surface, be sure to supervise at all times when they are on their tummy as they may not be able to get themselves out of trouble should their head slump. The floor is an ideal place, as it negates any risk of a fall when your baby suddenly learns to roll!
• Keep them company.
Babies can feel a little bit uneasy on their tummy as they won’t have such a good field of vision and it’s a new and unusual experience. Position yourself at their level and in their line of sight and talk with them, sing to them and play with them. Anything to keep them enjoying tummy time for as long as possible!
Have a colourful toy or book ready for your tummy time sessions. The longer you can keep your baby engaged, the more benefits they will receive from doing it. As soon as baby starts to get uncomfortable, re-position to avoid negative associations with time on their tummy.
• Try different Positions
Try some of these alternative positions to simply laying baby the floor to keep their attention.
The Football Hold – Position baby so they are laying on their front along your strongest arm, with your hand between their legs holding their bum securely. Their head should therefore be up near the crux of your elbow. Tummy time on the move!
Tummy to Tummy or Tummy to Chest – Lie down on your back and place your baby on their front on your chest or tummy. As an advantage over laying them on the floor, they will be able to see your face, and are comforted by the closeness to mum or dad.
Pillow Propping – Prop your child up on a soft towel or a pillow under their chest with their arms out front. This is easier if your baby already has strong neck and head movements.
Follow these tips to make tummy time as fun and comfortable as possible. Aim for a little longer each day and keep practicing. Developing strong neck and core muscles will help them explore their new and exciting world in no time at all!