Tummy time sounds so simple. Although, for many parents, tummy time turns out to be not so simple! Often times tummy time is easy to skip especially if you have a baby that doesn’t enjoy it. So, what is the deal with tummy time anyway and why do doctors and therapist’s encourage it?
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In the early 90’s parents were advised that they needed to put their babies on their backs to sleep to prevent the occurrence of SIDS. With this change there was a decrease in the occurrence of SIDS, which is wonderful. Prior to back to sleep many babies slept on their stomachs and not their backs, so when you hear parents or grandparents say that they never did tummy time that’s probably the reason why. Tummy time became a popular concept after the back to sleep change.
In 2008 a survey of 400 physical therapists was conducted on the behalf of Pathways Awareness. It found that two-thirds of those surveyed felt that they had seen an increase in motor delay over the past six years. Pathways Awareness is a great resource for several different research articles. Research has found that with the decrease in tummy time, here has been a large increase in plagiocephaly (flat head), torticollis, and a delay in motor skills as a result of babies spending too much time on their backs!
Tips For Tummy Time
Tummy time should be performed when your baby is awake and with parental observation at all times!
- Right from day one our baby was doing tummy time on our chest. We found this to be a great calming position for him. Think of a baby who has just come out of the womb all nice and curled up and now we throw them onto their backs with gravity coming down at them on top of all the sounds, lights, smells etc. No wonder they don’t fall into as deep of a sleep.
- After Big C was a few days old we moved to tummy time on the blanket on the floor. (I know that some people are hesitant if their umbilical cord has not yet fallen off – then keep working on it on the chest.) Here we would lay right next to him so we were in his line of sight.
- If it’s hard to get down on the floor to get in baby’s line of sight use an elevated surface! Even a sibling can participate It works awesome. Just don’t leave baby there without full supervision.
- I incorporated Big C’s baby gym (similar to this one) while on his tummy. We have a Boppy Newborn Lounger pillow that we use as a tummy time pillow with slight elevation so he could see his gym. We don’t really use it too much for lounging but more for tummy time.
- Reading books with tummy time was huge for us! We used the newborn lounger (affiliate) for Big C to lay on when reading his books. It is literally amazing how focused he is on the book when reading in this position. It was a great way to combine two excellent activities for babies!
- A mirror is a great option to place in front of baby. You can place it directly on the floor or right in front of their faces. Who doesn’t love to look at a cute baby? They love to look at themselves too! My baby would do tummy time with toys or something interesting out in front of your him. As your baby starts to get older you can get your baby’s arms are under them to help them work on building that upper body strength.
- Contrasting objects are great for babies. There eyesight is still developing so contrasting objects are perfect for them. We opted for contrast cards. Check out the DIY version .
- My favorite is getting down on the floor with your baby. Your newborn loves you and loves to be near you and look at your face. Get down and help them not make tummy time so miserable!
At minimum be sure that tummy time is done for 1-2 minutes after every nap, diaper change, and feeding.
There is never too much tummy time. Continue to work to incorporate it into other aspects of the day!
Supervision with tummy time is a must and should be done with an awake baby.
Make tummy time fun and not miserable for baby or parents!
In summary, keep working on that tummy time! It’s important for your baby! Hopefully some of the ideas in this post will simplify tummy time for you and your baby and help you understand its importance!
Favorite Baby Equipment
Your Tummy Time Resource
Get all your tummy time needs in one handy guide. This is a great reference to help take the struggle out of tummy time and the constant late night Google searches! I get it I’m a mom of three too and life with a new baby is not easy! I’m hoping to take one less thing off your plate for you in this guide!