The experts at Baby Begin know a lot about tummy time and how it can be beneficial to physical development. We know you have a lot of questions about how it works, so we’ve come up with some FAQs from past Baby Begin mommies to help you out.
1. When should I start tummy time?
You should start tummy time the day you get home from the hospital. As long as the baby is awake and being monitored, you can do as much as you want. Try to incorporate it into your normal routine (whatever “routine” means to you at this point). For example: Sleep, eat, diaper, tummy time, nap. This would mean the baby gets a little tummy time several times throughout the day.
2. How long should the baby be on her tummy?
We believe it should be a pleasant time, not torture. And guess what? It’s totally possible. Be positive and supportive, always saying what fun this is and how strong she is getting (this will help you too!). Early on, you can put the baby on your chest but also do floor time, or a flat surface to get the baby used to it. Once the baby shows discontent – not just a “little” struggle and certainly not screaming – roll her over, don’t pick her up. Praise her and tell her how proud you are. Then, here’s the kicker, do it again! Roll her onto her tummy and repeat the process. You can do this as many times as she will tolerate. Don’t be afraid to push just a little but not cause unnecessary stress on either of you. Each day will be better and better.
3. What if my baby doesn’t like it?
Remember that this is an essential part of development. It does not hurt, it’s just hard work. Gravity is a strong force, you know! Starting when the baby is newborn will help but if you’re past that point, just do little sessions frequently. You will need to do it more, not less. Break it up in little increments. Get down there with her. Get a sibling to jump around and be silly. Use a mirror or a really cool musical toy. iPhones and iPads can work very well.
4. What’s the big deal? Why is it so important?
Tummy time is important for a number of reasons. Prone positioning (tummy time) helps with strengthening the neck and back muscles. It is critical for rolling and crawling. Tummy time puts pressure on the palm of the hand to form the arches, which in turn, helps with fine motor skills. It prevents plagiocephaly (flat head) because it takes the pressure off of the back of the head. It encourages motor planning skills. It provides good cognitive stimulation, in that, the baby sees their world from a whole new dimension. It can even help with tummy issues!
Tummy time is essential to your baby’s development, so be sure to make it a part of your daily routine. If you have more questions, the experts at Baby Begin are always happy to help!