Tummy time is a great position for babies to help with motor development, strengthen their muscles and protect their head shape.
What is tummy time?
Tummy time refers to the position of placing your baby on their stomach when they are awake and supervised. It is recommended to perform 30min of tummy time per day. Starting with short bouts of 1-5 minutes (as long as your baby can tolerate to start) at each awake window, and slowly building up as your baby feels comfortable. Babies can start tummy time from birth, and over time babies get stronger with practice and this gets easier and more enjoyable for them!
Why is tummy time important?
- Tummy time can help protect your baby’s head shape and prevent a flat spot on the back of their head (called plagiocephaly).
- Tummy time can assist in developing good head control as the muscles in the neck are strengthened.
- IT can also strengthen your baby’s arms, shoulders and back muscles which helps to develop their motor skills of rolling, sitting, crawling and eventually walking.
When awake and supervised, there are different options your baby can try to encourage tummy time.
Tips to encourage tummy time
- Spread out a mat/ blanket on the floor
- Place a rolled-up towel under your baby’s arms/ chest to help prop them up
- Chest to chest with a parent
- Over your arm or legs when older
- Put a toy in front of your baby to help distract them with play
- Have a familiar face in front of them talking/ playing with them to help encourage them.
It is often normal for babies to dislike tummy time to start with. Try short bouts of 1-2 minutes to start, and use various positions listed above to help them enjoy tummy time more. Remember, the more practice they have with tummy time, the better they will get!