Tummy time is an essential activity that helps baby develop strong neck and shoulder muscles. It also carries benefits like developing motor skills and prevents flat spots in baby’s skull. You should aim for 3-5 minute sessions at least twice a day. Here’s how to get the most out of tummy time and how to make it fun for baby.
You should only practice tummy time when you and baby are fully awake. Even though it’s recommended to place baby on her back for sleep, it’s encouraged to place her on her stomach when she’s alert, even if it’s just a few seconds at a time. This will give her a new perspective and will help build strength in her growing body. Also, it’s extra important to monitor baby during a tummy time session, so don’t leave her unattended!
Start off easy
You can start tummy time right away in the newborn stage. Tummy time is a new sensation for baby which means they may be a little fussy at first. If baby can only last a few seconds, that’s perfectly fine. Challenge your little one to reach out of his comfort zone by trying for longer tummy time sessions each time. You can always try again when baby is fed or well rested. You should aim to make tummy time a part of a your daily routine.
Get on their level
Placing baby on her tummy and watching from a far won’t help anyone. Get down on her level! Maintain eye contact, sing, play peekaboo, or make a silly face. By getting on the floor with her, you’re encouraging her and keeping her focused.
Try other surfaces
If you want to change it up, you can do tummy time on your (or your partner’s) stomach. Make sure you’re laying on a surface where baby can’t roll off of your tummy and get injured (laying on the floor or middle of the bed are great choices). Put on your favorite Netflix show, lay flat on the floor, and get the tummy time in! When baby is a little older, you can do tummy time on an large exercise ball and gently rock them forward and back.
Lay out a fun scene
Baby will love looking at their environment in this position so place fun objects in front of their gaze. This is also wonderful for their brain as they’ll begin to understand distance (and when they get older, they’ll start reaching for objects). You can place toys and books nearby, but I’m a big fan of the Play Gym by Lovevery.