A Helpful Guide to Decide When to Start Tummy Time and Why?
Tummy time is considered as the first and the best exercise for babies. This article explores the ideology behind this baby’s first workout, when to start tummy time, its benefits, and how the routine should be followed.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy time means placing your baby face down, that is, on her stomach. This can be done at any time of the day but make sure that your baby is awake during that time. You can start from 5 mins and extend this session to up to 15 mins. Some babies enjoy this time while others may get a little cranky. But, do remember, all that you are doing is for the benefit of your child. So, even if your baby doesn’t enjoy this time much, you must continue this practice as it ultimately develops her motor skills.
I remember how cranky my daughter used to get as soon as I used to put her on her tummy. But eventually, we started doing little activities and she started enjoying this time to the most. And the days she rolled herself on her own or started lifting her neck.. a wonderful feeling I got!! 🙂
When to Start Tummy Time?
Tummy time helps in overall growth of the babies. When to start tummy time is an important consideration and should not be neglected.
Well, doctors recommend starting tummy time as soon as your newborn gets home. Some parents do prefer to wait at least 2 weeks after the baby is home before they start tummy time. So, that is personally your choice – You can start it right on or wait for 1-2 weeks.
I started the day Ananya was home. Initially, I started with 1-2 mins and extended up to a maximum of 15-20 mins (depending on her preference) as she turned 4-5 months.
How to do Tummy Time?
You should always make your baby do her tummy time when she is awake. Never let your baby sleep on her tummy as this may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some points you can consider are:
- Prefer the time when your baby has just got up from her nap. This is the time she is feeling most fresh and will reduce her crankiness.
- Lay your baby on her tummy. You can make her lie down on a play mat (such as this one – it’s a wonderful mat that my baby enjoys very much), a play gym (check out this play gym from fisher-price) or you can even place a clean sheet on the floor and lie down your baby over it.
- Surround your baby with some of her favorite toys (Need some good and unique toy suggestions? Check out this link: Best Toys for Your 0-6 Months Old).
- Never let your baby sleep on her stomach.
- Start with a short duration and gradually extend to longer intervals.
Benefits of Tummy Time
- The most important benefit is that it prevents flat head (an asymmetrical development of the baby’s head) in babies. Flat head (read more about it here) may result due to babies lying all the time in a ceiling facing position. Ample tummy time helps in reducing this condition.
- It helps in improving their motor skills and reach including sitting, rolling over, and crawling. They also try to reach out for their toys which eventually helps to stimulate their senses.
- It helps in strengthening the bond between you and your baby. You can lie down with your baby or even make them lie on yourself. The skin to skin contact can make them feel safe and be less cranky.
- It develops the baby’s upper back, neck, shoulder, and arms muscles which are essential for making them lift their head.
Tummy time is essential for the overall growth of the baby and makes them achieve their developmental milestones. Regarding, when to start tummy time, you can start it as soon as your baby gets home. It has several benefits and should be a part of your baby’s daily routine.
Some suggestions from newmum.life: