As a new parent, you might have heard the term "tummy time" before. And if you haven't, don't worry - it's not some bizarre fitness routine for your little one. In fact, tummy time refers to the simple act of placing your baby on their stomach while they are awake and supervised. But why is this so important? And when should you start?
The Importance of Tummy Time
Tummy time is essential for healthy development in babies. It helps them exercise their neck and back muscles, which can strengthen their ability to lift their head and eventually crawl. This type of activity also helps develop gross motor skills such as rolling over and sitting up.
But beyond physical development, tummy time has many other benefits too! For example:
- It can help prevent flat spots from forming on the back of your baby's head.
- It can improve visual tracking skills by encouraging your baby to lift their head to look at toys or faces.
- It can strengthen hand-eye coordination as well as encourage exploration through play.
So there you have it - tummy time packs a pretty powerful punch, huh?
When Should You Start?
Now that we know how beneficial tummy time is for our little ones' growth and development let's talk about when exactly we should start incorporating this activity into our daily routines.
You may be surprised to learn that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting tummy time right away after bringing home baby from the hospital!
Yes, even newborns who seem like tiny immobile potatoes benefit greatly from being placed on their belly!
During those first few weeks after birth though (especially during periods where sleep takes priority) try setting goals like doing 2-3 short bouts (30 seconds each) a few times a day with supervision. Slowly lengthen these sessions until you get to the recommended 60 minutes per day by three months old.
Tips for Successful Tummy Time
Now that you know when to start tummy time, let's cover some tips for making sure it's enjoyable and beneficial for your little one!
Just like any new exercise/activity, it doesn't always come naturally at first. Start small with just a few seconds at a time and gradually increase the duration as they get acclimated working their way up to longer periods of time each day.
Placing Positioning Matters:
To make things more fun mix it up - try different holds (cradle-like or over-the-shoulder) during short sessions throughout the day until they become comfortable in these positions.
This can also help relieve fussiness associated with gas or colic since baby is elevated, which may promote easier burping or passing gases.
As an idea use various items such as rolled towels under your baby’s chest/arm pits if/when necessary; think outside of the box!
Soft Place To Land
Make sure you place a soft blanket or padded playmat on the floor where your baby will do tummy time so they're not lying directly on hardwood or tile – this prevents discomfort from hard surfaces while still providing proper support needed during exercise.
By now you must have guessed how essential comfort is important in tummy time considering babies don't have much 'meat' yet!
Engage With Your Baby:
Tummy Time should be playful! You can lie down next to them within reach -- reading books or playing peek-a-boo are perfect bonding opportunities. For babies who might need extra motivation add toys(small enough to grasp) near their arms/hands, giving them something fun and colorful touch/grasp/explore right up close--conveniently placed out of mouth-range(-We want safety first!)
And there you have it -- an easy way to help your baby be Healthy and Strong from an early age!. From newborns who feel like a bundle of joy in your arms to older infants ready for new challenges, tummy time plays a vital role in promoting healthy growth and development.
While you might worry that you’re not doing enough or aren’t sure what approach is best, keep in mind these helpful tips. Gradually aim at increasing time on their belly every day – mixing positions up--remembering comfort-ability always! And remember have FUN and watch them grow as they explore the world right before our eyes.