Tummy time

Babies spend a lot of time on their back and while this is the recommended sleeping position to help reduce the risk of SIDS, if a baby spends too much time lying on their back they can end up with a delay in motor development and a flat head, which is known as plagiocephaly. When a baby spends time on their tummy, they’re able to practice things like lifting their head against the force of gravity, bearing weight on their arms, move from side to side and gain strength in the muscles in their upper body.
All of this movement helps to prepare your baby for physical milestones like rolling over, sitting, and walking.

Holding the weight of their bodies this way; helps them develop strength in their hands and upper bodies. This is the foundation for later development of fine motor skills like grasping a pencil and holding scissors.

Tummytime is an important motor experience but also an important sensory experience. When they’re positioned on their tummies, babies get all kinds of great tactile input and proprioceptive sensory input on their hands, trunks, and legs. This kind of input gives important input to babies’ brains about how and where their bodies are moving in space.

Tummy time starts as soon as a baby arrives home from the hospital. The amount of tummy time a baby should be doing varies depending on age. Newborns should be doing 3-5 minutes of tummy time 2-3 times per day Once your baby starts to show a liking for tummy time, you can increase the amount until he or she starts to show signs that they’ve had enough. By the time baby is 3-4 months old, you should be aiming for at least 20-30 minutes of tummy time every day.

Some safety guidelines

  • Only do tummy time when your baby is awake
  • Make sure baby is always supervised during tummy time
  • Lay baby down on a soft, flat but firm surface, away from potential hazards

If your child has difficulty with tummy time;
roll up a small towel or blanket and place it under your baby’s chest for extra support or prop him up on a pillow or cushion so he or she can see and interact more with his environment. Gradually build up time he or she stays in this position. You can also carry her over your arm in airplane position to slowly build up tolerance for tummy time.

Make tummy time a fun part of your routine.