Why is Tummy Time So Important?

baby on tummyIt is now recommended to lie babies on their backs for sleep. We also use carriers, car seats, things like rock-n-plays, and other useful and safe places for baby to be while we go about our daily activities. However, this can lead to a flattening of the baby’s head, called positional plagiocephaly. The use of tummy time helps reduce this flatness. It also helps baby develop muscles that assist in later movements. Babies use this time to learn about the world around them in addition to developing necessary motor skills. Their eye muscles become stronger as they view the world around them. Toys and lots of interaction help too! The following info from the Mayo Clinic offers useful tips on how to do Tummy Time with your baby: Mayo Clinic.

Our child hated tummy time at first and mostly cried. Using a play mat, mirror, and making different sounds, along with some time for her to adjust, helped change the our child’s crying to interested delight. But I believe it is so different for each baby. I also found this useful list of things you can do to help your baby enjoy his tummy time experience, so I am including it here:

Some tots seem to love playing on their tummies. Others might act like they can’t stand it. Keep trying! There are many things you can do to help your baby get comfortable and even have fun in this position.

  1. Go slow. Some infants will only tolerate a few minutes of tummy time in the beginning. That’s perfectly normal.
  2. Move to his level. “Tummy time can initially be scary because it’s new,” Wallace says. “Getting down on the ground and doing face-to-face encouragement will reassure a baby that he can do it and it’s OK.”
  3. Use plastic mirrors. Your baby will probably lift his head to admire his reflection.
  4. Put the baby on your tummy or chest. Newborns love to lay on a parent and gaze up at their face, Wallace says.
  5. Involve a sibling. If you have an older child, encourage him to get down on the floor and play with his little brother or sister (while an adult is supervising).
  6. Work it into other activities. Put your baby on his tummy while you dry him after a bath, smooth on lotion, or burp him (across your lap).
  7. Sing or tell a story. He’ll raise his head and move around when he hears your voice. Remember to make eye contact, too.
  8. Offer extra support. Make a bolster out of a thin towel or blanket. Roll it up, put it under your baby’s chest, and stretch his arms forward and over the roll. Be careful to keep his chin, mouth, and nose away from the bolster.
    Tummytime Tips from WebMD

In the beginning, play with your new baby on her tummy 2 or 3 times a day for up to 5 minutes or so each time. You can incrementally increase the length of time she spends on her stomach to help her grow stronger. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends beginning tummy time from the very beginning, rather than waiting until 3-4 months as was suggested when I was a new mom. Now that you know, consider how will you plan your baby’s tummy time, and maybe even make it fun too…


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