Tummy time certainly offers several important benefits, from strengthening your baby’s muscles up to reaching significant developmental milestones. The truth is, most babies aren’t exactly appreciative of their tummy time activities, but with our advice, you can help make this a more enjoyable activity for your baby. Here is a rundown on what tummy time is, how to improve tummy time, and of course when to start tummy time.
What is Tummy Time
Tummy time is the activity when your baby is placed on his or her stomach. It helps your baby develop muscles needed to lift his or her head, and eventually crawl, sit up, and finally walk. Remember, your baby needs to be awake during tummy time and supervised at all times. This is to ensure your little one is doing it in the correct manner and for the suitable amount of time.
When Do You Start Tummy Time?
Although there is no exact instruction for when to start tummy time for your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents should start early. Moreover, babies born with no health complications can start as soon as you get him/her home from the hospital.
It would be best if you keep in mind that babies hate tummy time, and initial attempts might be met with some resistance. You will probably have to start short sessions with your baby and then work your way up.
Ways to Make Tummy Time Fun
Tummy Time Prep
Firstly, make sure your baby is well-fed, burped, and rested before tummy time. A tired, cranky, hungry baby will not be in the mood for doing any exercise, no matter how fun it is. Secondly, if your baby is a big spit-upper, you may need to wait a little longer after feeding if you don’t want to end up with a mess.
Where to do Tummy Time
Your chest is the debut tummy time place, but you are eventually going to move your baby somewhere he or she can move and explore. The idea is to find a surface that strikes the right balance between firm and soft. An easy option is a tummy time mat, which is soft, firm, and comfortable for babies. Make sure it’s easy to clean, and you can swiftly store away. You can find some high-quality tummy time mats at My Urban One.
Keep Essentials Close
As your little one gets settled on their tummy, and once your baby is happy, there are a couple of things that come in handy which you might want to place within arm’s reach. To be ready for any unfortunate events, you may want to bring wipes and diapers just in case. The wipes will be used to clean “spit up” – this is bound to happen due to all the pressure on your baby’s tummy. This is why it’s important to buy a mat that’s easy to clean and that is washable.
Fun and Games
During tummy time, you will mostly be playing with your baby. You’ll need a couple of valuable toys to keep your baby engaged for longer periods of playtime. My Urban One sells multiple toys that light up and include different textures, which will keep your little one delighted and occupied. These unique toys can promote sensory and visual discovery, adding more value to tummy time.
Moreover, older babies will enjoy moving their weight in the direction of the toys to reach for their favorite one, and this could help prepare him or her for crawling. Overall, the more fun you make the tummy time experience (with lots of face to face and with exciting toys), the less your baby will fight being placed on their belly.
Tummy Time Abilities by Age
Tummy Time Activities for Newborns to 3 Month Olds
You can start tummy time from as early as day one. Newborn babies can be placed in tummy time 2-3 times a day for 3-5 minute sessions each. Make sure you are right by your baby and don’t hesitate to stop or take breaks from time to time if your baby is having a tough time.
To make it easier for your baby to lift his or her head, place a pillow or rolled-up towel under your baby’s armpits and chest. Prop your baby up on a hand towel or pillow and let him or her watch you play a musical instrument or read a picture book to your baby.
Tummy Time Activities for 3 Months Old
By now, you should start putting weight on your baby’s arms, while the elbows are below your baby’s shoulders. You can also spend a total of 60 minutes every day for tummy time activities. Put your baby facing down on a ball and make sure you hold their sides for extra support. Slowly move the exercise ball back and forth to stimulate their core muscles.
Tummy Time Activities for 4 Months Old
If you are thinking about how to make tummy time fun for a 4 month old, you can start by using mirrors during tummy time to engage with your baby and have fun. While at it, your baby will lift his/her head and neck to track voices, toys, and faces during tummy time.
Tummy Time Activities for 5 Months Old
Place your hands under your baby tummy and chest and do baby push-ups. Use calm lifting cues to get your baby to do push-ups on hands with straight elbows for a short period of time.
Tummy Time Activities for 6+ Months Old
By now, you can start encouraging your baby to practice moving and rolling around while on his/her tummy. You can use stimulating toys to keep your baby motivated. At this age, your baby becomes more used to tummy time and might even prefer it.