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Making Tummy Time Easier For Babies

4 min read

Till until early 90’s, tummy time was not something that many parents knew about. However, now research has it that tummy time is a must for babies, right from day one, to avert any developmental delays. Even if your baby cries or seems to hate his face-down time, you need to ensure that he gets it – as tummy time sets a foundation for many of your baby’s developmental milestones like lifting the head, pushing the chest off the ground, rolling over, sitting and crawling. Let’s learn more about it.
Infant tummy time

Why Is Tummy Time Important For Babies?

Tummy time is very important for your baby to set the tone for later developments. Most of your baby’s first year milestones are dependent on how much tummy time your baby has gotten. Tummy time also helps to prevent flat spots from forming in the baby’s head. Because the first year of life most movements involve the upper body, tummy time helps build strength and skills of the upper half. Apart from reducing the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), tummy time helps your baby’s head, neck and shoulder muscles become strong. Your baby learns to balance his head through tummy time, plus it is a nice break from his usual ‘on the back’ position like lying on the bed, car seat, crib, and bouncy seats.

What If My Baby Hates Tummy Time?

Babies, like us adults, hate to do hard work. Because they are more comfortable lying on their backs, they hate to be put on their stomachs where they have to try to balance their heads. Plus, the views face down may not be as appealing. It is, in short, physically uncomfortable, and they resist tummy time because they are so used to be on their backs most of the times. Babies generally act fussy or cry when put on tummys, however, experts recommend that with a little coaxing and following some tips, a baby can learn to enjoy his tummy time, as would you.
little girl tummy time

When Is The Right Time For Placing My Baby On Tummy?

Experts recommend giving about 30-60 minutes of tummy time everyday for babies younger than 3 months and about 90 minutes everyday after about 3 months of age. (Source) These spells need not be continuous, but spent throughout the day when the baby is active and alert. Do not put your baby on tummy after a feed, as it can be pretty uncomfortable and unsettling. Most parents try to give tummy time to their babies after a diaper change, when they are neither tired or hungry. If your baby cries immediately after being put face-down, coax him a bit and engage him down there. When your instinct tells you he’s had enough, pick him up. The resistance to tummy time will slowly diminish, provided you engage your baby enough. Gradually, your baby will start to enjoy his tummy time and once he starts to roll over, he may himself land on his tummy now and then. Make sure you are always around your baby and supervise him during his tummy time to ensure safety and security.

How Can I Help My Baby Get The Most Of His Tummy Time?

Though tummy time can be hard work for babies, yet parents are advised to adopt tips and strategies to coax them to spend some time off their backs. To make things interesting for your little one, you can try the below:

    • Engage him: Babies are hungry for engagement. They want to learn and learn more. Placing your baby’s favorite toy or some colorful stuff in front of your baby may get him interested in tummy time. These things would work as distraction from the hard work that your baby is putting in
    • Give him company: Get down on all fours, and yes we mean it. Make funny faces at your baby, clap and sing and give him company. Do some crunches and let your baby enjoy them. You can also place the baby tummy down on your tummy, and make yourself comfortable on a recliner or a couch propped with pillows
    • Dance and carry him: You can carry your baby horizontally with her back towards you and then roll him forward to his tummy. Put on some music and make some movements, though we’d suggest you to be slow so that your baby can register the movements and enjoy them
    • Use your legs: Place your baby on your legs with his tummy down and head in one side and then call his name and gain his attention. You can even sit with your legs extended in the front and place the baby face-down. This position is often used to soothe colicky babies

baby enjoys tummy time

    • Use props: Using activity mats with starry, blingy and clingy stuff hanging down, a nursing pillow, or a big exercise ball can all work as attractive props to encourage tummy time in babies. A rolled towel under the baby’s chest and forearms can also help your baby strengthen his forearms
    • Figure if something is wrong: Maybe the floor is too hard, or the mat or blanket under the baby crunches and feels uncomfortable. Maybe it is cold, or maybe your baby wants his tummy time with a bare butt. Try tuning in to your baby to figure what works best for him and let him make the most of it!

Always ensure that your baby’s caregivers know the importance of tummy time and practice the same. See if your baby likes to get massaged while being on his tummy. Keep playing and challenging your baby and enjoy the precious little milestones he achieves everyday.

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