It’s recommended by pediatricians to begin tummy time within your baby’s first month. Typically around two weeks you’ll notice your baby lifting their head more often. Your baby continues to gain strength in their neck and continuous tummy time will help strengthen further muscles and development. Below I will list out why tummy time is important to incorporate in your baby’s daily routine and some ideas on how to make it a good experience.
- Strength Training: Tummy Time is not only new and different for your baby, but it’s also a workout. It’s normal if your baby gets fussy during this time. They are uncertain about what’s going on and getting worn out from the exercise. It’s all good though because your baby is strengthening their back, legs, arms, and neck.
- Development: With the help of strengthening all muscles, your baby will be able to develop further in their motor skills. Tummy Time leads to your child being able to push up, roll over, and eventually sit up, crawl and pull themselves up.
- Prevention: The more your baby is on their tummy; the more you are preventing any flat spots from evolving. You might see minor flattening on your baby, but tummy time is key to prevent the spots from getting more severe. There are different types of flat spot syndromes that can develop in extreme cases. Each one is based on the positioning of your child. *I used to work with a company that developed cranial remolding orthotics for babies with flattened heads. These ‘helmets’ allow the skull to grow to its natural shape.
- Entertain: Make this a fun time with your baby. Get down on the floor with your child. Make silly faces, sing or just say some sweet affirmations. They will be determined to raise their head up to look at you.
- Support: Prop a blanket or cushion under your baby’s arms. Sometimes a baby can lay flat on their face and might need an extra boost to get their head more upright. Once they gain more strength you’ll notice they won’t need the added assistance.
- Encourage: Place an object or favorite toy in front of your baby. They’ll want to raise up and see what’s in front of them. *This will also come in handy when they learn to crawl.
Brinlee has always tried holding her head up. Even when we were in the hospital. She was so curious about the world around her and probably wondered where the heck she was. We have always held her on our chest after feedings and she would get some good tummy time on us, but then we realized that the majority of the time she’s lying on her back. She’s either sleeping 6 to 8 hours at night or in her swing during the day. So, gradually there has appeared some flattening on the back of her head. After yesterday’s pediatric appt. we are determined to make more of a routine with tummy time. Trying to add it a few times in the day for a couple minutes at a time. I’ve been doing it after feedings when she seems to be awake, but I also might try after diaper changes. She has taken to it very well, but gets a little fussy after a few minutes when she starts getting tired. I’ve been propping her blanket for added support too.
*I’ll be sure to post an update later on and talk more about the flat head syndromes.