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Tummy Time: How To Get Started

Baby laying down while looking into the camera

Tummy time is essential for your baby! It improves the speed of their development and skill growth. Babies need tummy time. It is linked to their motor and total development and can positively affect their ability to move in certain situations. 

A consistent tummy-time routine gives your baby the best start with developing their mobility. Your baby can build up and strengthen muscles as she becomes better at moving. 

We’ll show you everything you need to know about tummy time and how you can get started right away. 

What is tummy time?

Tummy time is when you have your infant lay on their stomach for short periods. You should always supervise your baby during tummy time. When facedown, babies become more at risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In addition, during these brief periods, your baby begins to build muscles, including those in the neck and shoulders. 

The idea behind tummy time came about as a response to A. A. P.’s 1994 “Back to Sleep” campaign. This campaign recommended that babies never be put to sleep on their tummies. As a result, this campaign halved the incidence of SIDS-related deaths. 

Related: Baby Sleeping on Stomach? Here’s When it’s Safe

Why is tummy time vital for development?

Tummy time is vital for your baby’s overall development. And by not doing tummy time with your baby, you raise the chance of them developing specific skills and abilities at a slower rate. 

This exercise improves their motor skill development and mobility abilities and has been shown to reduce the risk of illnesses. For example, researchers are confident that tummy time reduces the risk of plagiocephaly and torticollis. It can also help relieve gas.

Tummy time builds your baby’s muscles and helps them develop the ability to crawl and walk more quickly. It also helps them further develop their abilities to sit and roll. Tummy time also gives your baby a chance at a different position while they’re supervised and alert. 

How to get started

 

parent holding their baby in their lap

To get started, place your baby down on their stomach. Ensure the area has all items cleared away and is firm enough for your baby to push themself up. If you’re doing this with your baby on the floor, lay down a blanket. This can f to keep them comfortable.

Always make sure your baby is awake and alert during tummy time. Do not lay your infant on their stomach during their sleeping! You should aim to do this two or three times a day if your baby is still a newborn. But over time, you’ll want to increase the frequency and length of these sessions

You can find different items to help your baby during tummy time or lay them on their favorite blanket. This will also help them to stay calm during the session. In addition, you can keep your baby on their tummy longer by entertaining them and showing them toys or other sensory toys. 

Want to keep your baby entertained and on their tummy? Check out 123 Baby Box for the best toys and more for your baby!

Sleep routine for your baby

Before you begin practicing tummy time with your baby, it is essential first to establish a sleep routine with your baby. Because your baby’s risk for SIDS increases by 18 times when it sleeps on its stomach, it is vital to lay it on its back to sleep. 

You can protect your baby from rolling onto its back by buying beds designed to keep it in one position or other products that can prevent it from moving off of its back. You can also snuggly swaddle them, making it more difficult for them to roll over. 

Related: Tucked In: How to Dress Baby For Sleep

When should you begin 

You can begin these sessions as soon as you’d like. But wait until your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off. After that, it’s best to start when your baby is a month old. 

A great way to do tummy time with your newborn is by laying them on your chest. So you’re not only helping your baby develop better, but you’ll also get some cuddly time with your little one.

How long should you do it for

If your baby is a month or less old when you begin, aim for sessions of 3-4 minutes. Then, slowly add more and more time to these sessions. When your baby is 3-4 months old, their sessions should last for 20 minutes. After your baby is four months old, the sessions should last for at least 30 minutes. 

But don’t worry if your baby can’t complete the whole session. You’ll want to try soothing techniques to keep them calm while on their tummy. If your baby falls asleep during the session, roll them onto their back and let them continue sleeping. 

Related: What To Do When Your Baby Fights Naps

What if my baby doesn’t like tummy time? 

 

baby lying in a crib

Some babies don’t like tummy time! That’s okay! 

They can’t push themselves up or lift their neck, which can be uncomfortable at first. If your baby hates tummy time, we’ve got some tips! 

  • You can give your baby a pacifier to soothe them during tummy time. 
  • Show them their favorite toy. Then, you can give your baby a little show with their toys to keep them engaged and happy.
  • Avoid always holding your baby on your side. By holding your baby on your chest, they have more opportunities to build up their muscles and make it easier to lift their head or push themselves up. 
  • Sing songs or dance for your baby! Now’s the time to break out those dance moves and give your baby a show. 

There are some alternatives that your baby can do instead of tummy time. Some of these are laying your baby on your chest or side-laying. You can do these several times a day and still receive many benefits of tummy time while preparing them for future tummy time sessions. 

Want to try laying your baby on their side? Find great products to keep them comfortable at 123 Baby Box!