Parenting is an incredible journey filled with new experiences for your baby and you.
One new experience you can give your baby is tummy time. In this article, we'll explore what tummy time is, when to start it, safety tips and the benefits it offers. We’ll also cover how long sessions should be and how to incorporate tummy time into your baby's daily routine.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy time refers to placing your baby on their tummy so that they can spend some time in that position while they are awake and supervised. Yes, it really is that easy. This simple activity helps your little one develop their muscles, improve control over their body, and reach milestones in their development.
When to Start Tummy Time
Tummy time can begin shortly after birth. In fact, many healthcare providers recommend starting as early as a few days after your baby's arrival. Initially, aim for just a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the length of each session, as your baby becomes more comfortable.
How Long Should Tummy Time Be?
The duration of tummy time should increase gradually as your baby grows. For newborns sessions should be just a minute or two while older babies do well with up to half an hour a day.
Here's a general guideline, by age:
• Newborns: Start with 1-2 minutes a few times a day.
• 1-2 Months: Aim for a total of 10-15 minutes per day.
• 3-4 Months: Work your way up to 20-30 minutes per day.
When to do tummy time with your baby
You can do tummy time with your baby at any time of the day that is convenient for both of you. It's important to have tummy time only when your baby is awake and alert. You may find it easiest to build it into your baby's daily routine, such as after nappy changes, naps, or playtime.
Tummy Time Safety Tips
Making sure that your baby is safe and comfortable during tummy time is key. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
1. Supervision: Always stay close to your baby during tummy time so you can keep an eye onthem to make sure they are safe and comfortable.
2. On a Flat Surface: Place your baby on a firm, flat surface such as a play mat or carpet. Avoid using soft or uneven surfaces like beds or sofas.
3. No Tummy Time Right After Feeding: Wait for a little while after feeding before starting tummy time to prevent discomfort and spitting up.
4. Engage and Encourage: Make tummy time enjoyable by interacting with your baby. Get down on their level, talk to them, and use toys to capture their attention.
5. Short and Frequent Sessions: Begin with a minute or so and gradually increase the time as your baby becomes more comfortable. Several short sessions throughout the day work well.
What Are The Benefits of Tummy Time
Tummy time offers lots of benefits for your baby's development:
1. Muscle Strength: It helps strengthen neck, shoulder, and core muscles, which are essential for achieving developmental milestones like crawling and sitting up.
2. Motor Skills: Tummy time encourages your baby to lift their head, reach for objects, and eventually roll over. These are crucial early motor skills.
3. Preventing Flat Head Syndrome: Regular tummy time can reduce the risk of developing flat spots on the back of your baby's head.
4. Sensory Stimulation: Being on their belly exposes your baby to different textures and viewpoints, which help develop their sensory skills..
5. Social Interaction: It's an excellent opportunity for bonding and interaction with your baby.
Do Babies Enjoy Tummy Time?
While not all babies initially enjoy tummy time, many come to appreciate it over time. To make it more enjoyable, use colourful toys, mirrors, and engage with your baby during these sessions. Some babies may be fussy at first, but with patience and persistence, they often become more comfortable and even look forward to tummy time as part of their daily routine.
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