Terrific Tummy Time
Tummy Time has become an increasingly important activity in a baby’s daily routine. Now that infants are required by pediatricians to sleep on their backs, it is critical that parents provide tummy time several times a day.
A tummy position is one of the best ways a baby builds muscles. When on the tummy, your baby’s neck, shoulder, arms, fingers, torso, legs, feet, toes all get plenty of exercise for building strong muscles. It also allows baby to practice balance. Tummy time gets baby in shape to sit, crawl, stand, and then walk. There is even speculation that this early exercise of fingers pushing into a surface, effects handwriting skills later on.
Tummy Time also gets your baby off of the back of her head on a regular basis. Soft little heads will start to flatten if they spend too much time against the mattress, the car seat, bouncy seat, and swing. Make sure baby is upright in your arms or having tummy time part of the day.
Make Tummy Time Fun!
I recommend tummy time three times a day, twenty minutes at a time, or until baby doesn’t like it any more. Tummy time should be as much a part of baby’s daily routine as feeding, diapering, sleeping, and playing. It’s our job to make tummy time a fun experience and that is what we talk about next!
You will hear Moms say that their baby doesn’t like tummy time, so they just don’t do it. Now that you know how important it is, let’s think of a variety of ways to get the benefits.
A traditional tummy time will look like this; A blanket is on the floor and baby is laid face down on the blanket. In order for baby to have any control of the situation, she needs to be placed so that her elbows are under her shoulders. Her hands will be together at midline and she can lay her head on her hands to rest. She is now in the position to lift her head and to push fingers and hands into the blanket for a baby work out.
You can make it more interesting by getting down on the floor to show her your face and to talk with her. Now you are adding trust and attachment to this work out!
Add a colorful toy or set up an open book in front of her, about ten inches away from her eyes, and you have given her some variety. Now you are adding brain power to this work out!
Try This For Babies Who Don’t Like To Do It Alone:
Sit on the blanket with legs crossed. Place baby so that her chest is balanced over the top of your leg. Her legs should be INSIDE your crossed legs. That way, she can push against your other leg for comforting support. Her elbows should be under her shoulders and hands together. Now she can raise her head to look around at her world or lay her head on her hands to rest. She is touching her beloved caregiver and is all warm and connected. Perfect! Over time, even a baby who does not like to be separated from Mom can be slowly moved onto a blanket. Try adjusting baby to the outside of your leg, bodies touching, as you sit with her. Eventually, she will be happy not touching you for a while.
Remember, tummy time is very important learning time when an infant is alert. Conversation and engaging with a loving caregiver makes her like the game and builds her brain!
Most babies love this position. And for some reason, Daddies like to do it. Sit Dad on the couch with his feet on the coffee table, knees high. (Now you understand what I am talking about). Baby is placed on his tummy on Dad’s legs. His head is close to Dad’s knees. Baby’s feet push up against Dad’s stomach and allow the child to stretch and lift his head and look around. Add a little bounce and a song and VOILA, this is fun!
Tummy time is over when your baby gives you cues that enough is enough. I hope that you will transition her through all of these positions so that the time will last a little longer. See What Baby Is Trying To Tell You for tips on when she needs a change or a rest.
Watch the Tummy Time Video!