Tummy time is an important way for your child to build up the muscles in their neck that will eventually be used to support themselves when they reach other milestones.
As soon as you have your little one in the comfort of your home, you will most likely hear a lot about the ever-important tummy time. But how important is it and what happens if your baby doesn’t want a bar of it?
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy time is essentially just a cutesied-up phrase for placing bub on their stomach. Tummy time is designed to help baby build up the strength in their neck and upper body for activities such as crawling, lifting their head and standing later down the track.
When should I start Tummy Time with My Baby?
Experts suggest starting tummy time a week or two after birth. At first, you can expect your baby to only want to do it for a couple of minutes, if that. The best way to begin is when your baby is still a newborn and do tummy time on your stomach, lying chest to chest. You may find that they try to lift their head to see you or squirm up your chest to be closer to you.
How long should Tummy Time be?
For the first couple of weeks, tummy time will only be for 1 or 2 minutes. Make it part of your baby’s awake routine. Place them on their tummy for a couple of minutes during their awake/alert time. Increase this to 15 minutes per day over the upcoming weeks.
How do I Actually do Tummy Time?
Placing your baby on their tummy is only part of tummy time. It is best if you stay with them so that they have something to focus on. As your baby gets older and is able to lift its head you can place toys close by for them to grab or look at. Lay down on the floor with your baby. Sing songs, read a story or simply make funny faces to keep them interested in remaining in this position. Make sure your baby has a soft blanket to lie on as this will keep them more comfortable in this position.
What happens if my baby hates being on their tummy?
Not all babies are going to enjoy tummy time. Some will like it for a couple of minutes before screaming for attention while others will hate it as soon as they are placed face down. Let your baby be your guide. Just be persistent. Your baby may hate tummy time in the morning but try again a little bit later. It may take them a few weeks before they feel comfortable playing on their tummy.
Some experts suggest that it is better for a baby to spend more time on their tummy than propped up in bouncers, in car seats or in other devices. However, if your baby hates being on their tummy and would prefer to look around while rocking in a swing, then don’t fret.
Another reason why tummy time is considered so important is that it can help with the baby’s skull development. Babies will spend a lot of time on their backs as this is how the baby is supposed to sleep. Because of this, many babies will develop a flat or misshapen head. Letting baby play on their tummy balances out the head position and prevents flathead.