Tummy time is an opportunity for your baby to play, learn, and develop. In the first few months of life, infants spend the majority of time on their backs, but spending just ten to fifteen minutes per day on their tummy helps to increase strength and motor skills. Tummy time works to build strength in their neck and upper body. They practice motions they’ll need later on and avoid flat spots on their head that can result from lying down too often.
The Benefits of Tummy Time
Taking a few minutes out of the day for tummy time is also a nurturing and bonding experience. It allows your baby to introduce new sights and textures and promotes reaching, grabbing, and holding onto objects. Tummy time also fosters independence and allows you to enjoy one-on-one time with your child. There are a variety of activities you can introduce during tummy time to encourage crawling, standing, and eventually walking.
When should I start tummy time with my baby?
While every baby is different, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s fine to begin tummy time as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital. Initially, just three to five minutes, two or three times a day, is plenty. You can slowly extend tummy time as your baby grows stronger and becomes more comfortable with it. You can work up to approximately an hour of time on their tummy by three months of age.
When to Practice Tummy Time
Right after a nap, diaper change, or a bath are ideal opportunities to practice tummy time. You want to be sure your baby feels comfortable and is kept totally safe. Lying down on the floor with them, getting eye-to-eye, and placing a firm pillow to support their tummy in a “superman” type position works well. You can also lie down on your back and place baby tummy-side down on your chest or stomach. This should be an active time. Try moving a toy from side to side and up and down, where the baby can track its location. Change the scenery to switch things up. Whatever you do, make the time enjoyable for both of you!