When it comes to mastering tummy time, every parent wants their baby to achieve success. But how long should your newborn be doing tummy time? And what are the benefits of tummy time anyway? Don't worry; we've got you covered with all the information you need.
What is Tummy Time and Why is it Important?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, let's first understand what tummy time is all about. Simply put, tummy time involves placing your baby on their stomach while they're awake and supervised. This activity helps develop crucial motor skills such as neck strength, head control, and upper body strength.
But wait there's more! TUMMY TIME also:
- Helps prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).
- Encourages eye development.
- Promotes crawling readiness.
- Aids in digestion.
In short - if you want a strong-necked baby with excellent vision who never backs down from challenges (and has smooth bowel movements), make them do some tummy time!
When Should You Start Tummy Time?
Now that we know WHY it's so essential for babies to do some serious chest-to-floor airtime let’s discuss when to start watching them work up that little sweat. Although every baby develops differently depending on various factors like birth weight or preterm labor complications -- pediatricians recommend starting between 1 - 2 weeks old.
However ~~(newsflash)~~ don't expect too much endurance right off the bat because specifically at two weeks old aim for just one session per day of around three minutes total before increasing over several days/weeks gradually. So why not grab yourself an egg timer during those sessions?
Tips For Starting Off:
Here are a few pointers for initiating those early sessions:
- Choose an engaging spot where natural entertainment options are readily available.
- Gather plenty of colorful toys/books to place in front of them.
- Prop up their arms with a swaddle blanket or small pillow so they can comfortably lift their head without strain.
If you adhere to these three steps, your little one will begin enjoying themselves from the get-go and if for some reason things go south (ie baby has had it) then simply stop/sit them upright/on your chest and give it another go later on!
How Long Should Each Tummy Time Session Be?
Now that we've covered off when tummy time should start let's ask ourselves how long each session/title well be for such fresh crawlers? Generally speaking, aim for three minutes per day around that age-tag but do gradually add more as they grow stronger and develop an interest in spending l o n g e r stretched out sessions/daytime activities.
So begins the chart:
|Age||Total Daily Duration|
|Week Two - Three Weeks Old||Three Minutes Split into Multiple Sessions|
|Four Weeks Old - Six Weeks Old||Fifteen Minutes Split into Multiple Sessions|
As you'll notice starting at four weeks old perform multiple fifteen minute sessions throughout the day -- whichever works best!
Eventually, they're going to love tummy time, making it easier over/merging longer or often sessions slowly thus allowing you both play along until reaching maximum efficiency probably within about six months since every baby develops uniquely (and therefore gains skills like rolling at different rates.)
Also: resist the temptation of always putting a machine/mobile screen nearby while exercising! They will have a lot more fun trying new movements with natural surroundings/background-music options instead of confusing screens all around them.
What If My Baby Doesn't Enjoy Tummy Time?
Ultimately of course, we want the tyke to continue smiling and enjoying tummy time but as mentioned above if they have had it /or it is getting too much for them, just pause and resume later on/down-the-road when they are more settled/energy levels are up/and around again.
It's important not to force a tummy time session where you will encounter negative crying/moaning experiences ~~(talk about adding fuel to flames)--not worth trying. Instead aim for small amounts at first or even use some soft towels or washcloths placed underneath them while gradually removing such props in the following weeks -- thus giving baby something nonsmooth/cuddly under their chest area. So who has anything smooth nearby anyway!?
How To Keep Your Baby Entertained During Tummy Time
If your little one can't seem to maintain interest during a tummy sesh, try these tips:
- Sing songs.
- Pull faces/smiles/mock happy faces throughout showing encouragement.
- Use toys/books (preferably with tags) that are positioned near his/her head so he/she can focus on those things closer than farther away since chances are the eyesight still needs adjusting from far off objects.
- Put several books/large pictures in front of him./her so he/she sees different images/textures whilst becoming hands-free!
Remember: babies love routine/different options yet same overall plan with regular changes now-and-then!
Let' recap --- know what TUMMY TIME is (essentially, placing your baby on its stomach), why we need/heavily encourage this activity (neck strength/head control/promotes crawling readiness/aids digestion), when you should start initiating sessions specifically 1 - 2 weeks old starting with three minute stretches once-per-day slowly expanding over next few months till reaching an average15 minutes/day by the time they are five weeks-old.
If baby does not enjoy, work gradually down or add something cluttering/smooth under his/her chest to encourage and bolster excitement levels during TUMMY TIME! Your newborn will soon learn to love tummy time being seduced with awesome picture books/songs/temporally changes throughout the day using great soft toys of interest all around them: a recipe for success!
We hope this article has helped you set your little one up for success now it's over to you and your favorite eggtimer!