Read This Later - Click Here

In the early months of your baby’s life, they aren’t very mobile, which means they need help developing the strength and skills to move about on their own and support their own weight. How do we help them do that? One of the most efficient exercises to help them develop is known as tummy time and it’s something you should aim to do every day once your baby is at least three months old.

Tummy time is a pretty straightforward practice — it involves placing your baby on their stomach for a certain number of minutes. During this time, they’ll begin to lift their head and eventually use their arms to push themselves up. The purpose of this practice is to build up the muscles in their neck, head, upper back and shoulders. Once these muscles are more developed and strong, your baby will be able to hold up their head on their own, turn over and progress to sitting up without assistance and crawling.

As previously stated, the process of tummy time is simple, but you still have to take precautions to ensure your child’s safety. Here are some tips for success with tummy time:

  • Begin by laying your child across your lap.
  • Lay your baby on a soft surface like a carpet, towel or mat.
  • Avoid tummy time after feeding, which could lead to indigestion or spitting up.
  • Never leave your baby unattended.
  • Position yourself in front of them and hold out your hands so they can see you. Or lay on the ground looking into their face.
  • Keep them on their tummy as long as they’re alert and awake.
  • Shower them with praise and affection during and after tummy time.

Now that you know the basics of tummy time, how long should you practice it? Make tummy time a part of your daily routine, scheduling several short sessions, maybe five minutes or so, throughout the day. As your child progresses and gets older and stronger, they can work up to 20 minutes at a time. Add a little extra time each day. Short periods of quality tummy time are more beneficial than leaving baby for longer time and risking an upset child.

An added benefit of tummy time is it may reduce the likelihood of your baby’s head becoming flat on the back. This condition, known as positional plagiocephaly, is a side effect related to how much time they spend laying on their backs, which is the preferred sleeping position for young babies. While this can’t always be helped, daily tummy time is one way to prevent it.

Practicing tummy time on a daily basis will help your child develop physical strength as well as coordination. They will learn to pivot and turn from side to side and reach for what they need, encouraging them to take off. Some studies suggest tummy time helps children crawl more quickly. Also, when babies learn to make their body do new things, they feel a sense of accomplishment and so gain more confidence to try new skills as they grow and their coordination improves.

Do what you can to make tummy time fun and get everyone in the family involved. If you and your spouse get down on your baby’s level with them, clapping, singing and cheering them on, they’ll feel happier and more confident during tummy time. It’s hard work being so small, but with your help, your baby will get stronger each and every day.

Read This Later - Click Here