How To Make Tummy Time Fun For All
Some babies love tummy time. And some just hate it. But tummy time is essential to your their development.
In fact, babies need tummy time to to grow and develop their muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. It is the initial building block upon which they build other motor skills. It has also been noted that physiotherapists are seeing a sharp increase in babies with "flat head syndrome" because they’re spending so much time on their backs while they sleep due to safe sleep guidelines, so tummy time is a great way way to prevent this.
One saying is "back to sleep, but tummy to play".
So how much tummy time does your baby actually need? A good start is to aim for two or three times a day, for three to five minutes at a time, progressing to 10 minutes extra each month. So in the first month, aim for 10 minutes of tummy time, 20 minutes in the second month and so on until your baby is six months old and can roll over both ways. But remember, these are just guidelines - there is no such thing as too much tummy time.
It sounds like a lot but here are some simple ways to prevent boredom and make tummy time downright fun.
1. Go Chest To Chest
Relaxing against some couch pillows with your newborn snuggled on your chest and looking at your face actually counts as tummy time in the early days. You can start this activity (and bonding time) on day one. Just make sure that the upper part of your body is at a 45-degree angle. Now you can chat to your little one or study each other - you’re both getting to know each other after all.
2. Use Props
When your baby is two or three weeks old, it’s time to move down to the floor for tummy time. Put your baby’s chest against your nursing pillow, a rolled-up blanket or a beach towel at a 30- to 45-degree angle, so that she can get her arms forward to start to brace herself. As time goes on, you can use smaller props, such as a rolled-up kitchen towel. Place a book, toy or even yourself in front of her as entertainment. Now is a great time to break out your favourite nursery songs with hand motions.
3. Take A Seat
You can also sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and your baby’s chest against your legs. Talk, sing and rub her back - it will help soothe her and may even stop the tummy time tears if this isn't her favourite activity.
4. Rock & Roll
Get out your exercise ball (this was the only use ours ever got) and place your baby on top, tummy down. While keeping a firm hand on her so that she doesn’t slip, gently roll backwards, forward and side to side. You can even bounce a little. This helps your baby develop an awareness of where her body is in relation to her environment.
5. Take A Walk
Tummy time doesn't have to only be on the floor. Hold your baby face down in your arms and go for a walk around your home or yard, describing what you see along the way. This is also a great way for her to start learning about her environment.
6. Make A Baby Plane
Lie on your back with your knees up to your chest and hold your baby facing you, with her body on your shins. Hold her securely against you and let her arms rest on your legs. This activity requires your baby to have good head control, so it’s best to wait until she is about two or three months old. She’ll definitely laugh and giggle at this one as you make aeroplane sounds and pretend to fly her to infinity and beyond. WARNING: This one is best when your baby hasn’t just had a feed!
7. Get Naked
Before you put on a clean nappy after a change, place your baby on a soft blanket or towel on the floor. Let her stare and play with a stuffed animal, or lie on the ground with her and make funny faces. The best thing about this activity? You get tummy time and bare bum time at the same time, which is a serious parenting win!