Let’s talk about tummy time! Perhaps you’re not so sure what all the fuss is about? Lying them on their tummy surely can’t be that important, right? Or maybe your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy it and so you’re thinking it’s not worth the hassle… Or maybe you’re unsure how much tummy time your baby should be doing each day?
Well, tummy time might seem simple or like a bit of fun but it’s actually quite amazing when you understand just how much it can do for your baby’s development as they grow.
So, what is tummy time?
Tummy time is an activity that involves placing your baby on their stomach whilst they are awake and supervised. This is an important exercise to help them develop upper body strength in preparation for rolling over, sitting up, crawling and eventually those precious first steps.
Your baby needs to experience different positions throughout the day in order to get all their body parts functioning. In some cases, a baby who spends too much time on their back can risk developing a flattened or misshaped head.
Tummy time is a great time for bonding and connection with your baby, too, so don’t think this activity is all about them. Get down on the floor with them and get involved!
How much tummy time is recommended?
Start with short periods of 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day in the early weeks, then increase the timing as your baby gets stronger and more comfortable. Eventually, your baby will enjoy 10-15 minutes, several times a day.
Our top 5 tips for making tummy time fun
1. Introduce textures
Stimulating your baby’s senses is important from the very beginning. Lie your baby on a textured surface, such as a sheepskin rug, and watch as they enjoy the feeling. If it’s not too cold, leave their legs uncovered so they can truly experience the different sensations.
2. Baby mirrors
One of the most fascinating experiences for your little one is staring at their reflection. Whilst they may not recognise the ‘baby in the mirror’ as being themselves at an early age, they will enjoy lifting their head and, in time, start reaching out to ‘touch’ the baby.
3. Toys, just out of reach
Add a little fun by placing toys just out of reach to encourage grabbing and the beginnings of your baby’s fine motor skills. Remember to reward them with a clap or a smile when they achieve the little things.
4. Creating a special bond
Remember, you are your baby’s biggest motivation and they will enjoy nothing more than laying with you. To put a twist on tummy time, you can lay with your baby propped up on your chest and engage in some special bonding time. Making eye contact, singing, giggling and talking are just a few of the wonderful things you can do to enjoy this special time together.
5. Don’t rush it
At first, your baby may not seem to enjoy tummy time. This is simply because it is quite a challenging and unfamiliar exercise in their early development. Build their timings up slowly, and make sure not to rush them into the activity. Timing is important – don’t place your baby on their tummy if they have just had a feed, or at time of the day where they are slightly irritable.
Not only does this activity encourage healthy development and your baby’s overall strength, but it will give you the opportunity to stop and do nothing else but enjoy lying together.
Enjoy this special time as it certainly goes fast- the washing and laundry can wait!