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What is tummy time?
Tummy time is time when your newborn baby spends some time on their tummy when they are awaken and supervised by their caregiver. There are many question that comes in parents mind like when to start doing tummy time, how to do it, what are the benefits of it, how long to do it and so on.
The importance of tummy time can’t be ignored, it helps baby to strengthen their neck, hand and leg muscles as well as helps them to crawl and walk. Tummy time doesn’t mean that your baby can sleep on tummy: Sleep time should be only on back to reduce the risk of SIDS and play time can be on tummy.
When to start doing tummy time for babies?
According to the American Academy of pediatrics, you can start doing tummy time from the very first day of their birth if baby born at full term and is absolutely healthy. In the beginning it should be short and sweet like 1 to 2 minutes and as your tiny baby will get used to it, you can extend the duration of it. Tummy time for newborn should always be supervised by an adult.
What are the benefits of doing this activity?
Tummy time have many benefits for newborn babies. A baby spend most of his time on his back and doing tummy time for few minutes a day will give them lots of benefits in terms of their overall development and prepare them to achieve big milestones.
Here are few of the benefits of tummy time play for babies:
- By spending some time on tummy encourage baby to practice skill needed for big development milestones like rolling, crawling, and walking.
- Babies spend most of the time on their back; when you start doing tummy time for few times a day, it will give them totally new experience and help them to improve motor skills also.
- Practicing tummy time will help them to strengthen their neck muscles and help them to build strong core, hand and leg muscles. This will help them to build upper body strength.
- Tummy time will encourage baby to achieve milestones early and it will help in their timely growth.
- Playing tummy time will reduce the risk of flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly) in babies which is because of spending lots of time in sleeping on back.
Important tips to start tummy time
You don’t need to do tummy time the traditional ways like only lying down on belly. There are many ways in which you can make this time enjoyable for baby and you both. Here are some tips to make this time enjoyable:
- You can also lie down on the floor with baby and have a chit chat with him, Show some colorful books and read with him to keep them engage while doing this.
- Try to play with them, you can use some toys, sing song for them, and encourage moving their neck from side to side and stay active.
- When you start doing tummy time for the very first time with baby, you can use a soft pillow or blanket to support their tummy with the arms in front of them. Earlier it can be uncomfortable for them so stay near to them and make them feel comfortable.
- Some babies loves to see their own reflection in mirror, you use a baby safe mirror in front of them so that they can enjoy watching their own reflection as well as tummy time.
- Try to change position of tummy time like sometime outdoors in park or near to their play area or any other area in your house to make it interesting for them.
- Sometimes babies don’t like tummy time on the floor in that case you can use a soft pillow or blanket or you can use your lap.
- Make sure to clean the area before doing this activity with babies.
How often and how much tummy time baby should do?
- For Newborn babies you can start with 1-2 minutes of tummy time for 2 to 3 times a day and gradually increase the duration of each session as they feel comfortable. You may need to use a soft pillow initially to make them comfortable.
- Around the age of 2 month a baby can play on tummy for 15 to 20 minutes or more during each session. Around this time they might have a better head control and can keep their head up for longer.
- A 4 month old can play on tummy for a full hour. Try to give some interesting toys at that time to encourage them to crawl. This is the time when they start playing more and they might start rolling from back to stomach or stomach to back.
- Babies need tummy time several times a day until they start crawling.