What is tummy time? How does it help a baby?

Tummy time is a great way to help your baby develop muscles for crawling

What is tummy time? How does it help a baby?

Exercise for babies? Yes! Your baby needs opportunities to lie on their stomach while you talk and play together. Have baby do this several times a day. Babies need daily tummy time until they can crawl.

Why tummy time?

  • Strengthens your baby’s neck and upper back muscles.
  • Allows your baby to discover a new view of the world.
  • Prevents the back of your baby’s head from developing flat spots.
  • Allows your baby to master lifting their head and turning over.
  • Helps your baby develop the muscle strength to begin to roll over, crawl, and sit without support.
  • Encourages your baby to practice reaching and pivoting which are skills needed to learn how to crawl.

 Tummy time for newborns:

  • Simply place your baby belly-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes.
  • Increase the time your baby spends on their tummy as your baby grows.
  • Listen to your baby’s cues of crying or being restless. These are ways your baby lets you know they have had enough tummy time.

 Tummy time for 3-4-month-old babies:

  • Most babies at this age can tolerate tummy time for five to 10 minutes at a time.
  • By this age, your baby will have better neck strength and control to lift and turn their head while lying down.
  • By 4 months, baby should be able to lift their chest off the floor and lean on their elbows while holding their head upright.

Tummy time tips:

  • Provide your baby a blanket or play mat to lie on.
  • Avoid tummy time right after feeding to prevent your baby from spitting up.
  • Your baby loves to see you. Get on the floor and be face-to-face while playing together.
  • Make tummy time a bonding time. Try silly noises, singing songs or making facial expressions.
  • A mirror in front of your baby can hold their attention. Babies love to look at faces.
  • Put a toy just within your baby’s reach and encourage your baby to reach and stretch for it.
  • Place your baby on their tummy for one or two minutes after every diaper change.
  • Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time.

Work up to a full hour a day by the time your baby is 3 months old. Sprinkle a few minutes of tummy time throughout the day to make sure baby is meeting their important developmental milestones.

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Posted In Children's, Digestive Health, Parenting, Specialty Care