What is it?
- Tummy time is when your baby is laying on his or her stomach while supervised.
Why is tummy time important?
- It helps your baby develop their cervical and lumbar spinal curves.
- It helps your baby learn to push themselves up, roll over, crawl, sit up, and pull up to stand.
- It strengthens your babies suboccipital muscles (the muscles located right below the skull.
- It also strengthens other muscles of the neck, shoulders, and trunk.
- It helps develop the babies cervical facets by the neck rotation your baby does while in tummy time.
- It helps round the skull. (prevents flat head syndrome aka plagiocephaly)
- It aids in visual motor development and depth perception.
- It helps prevent twisted neck, also known as positional torticollis.
- Research has found that babies that don’t do tummy time are more likely to have developmental motor delays.
When do you start doing tummy time?
- You can start doing tummy time from the moment they are born.
- All babies should have some head control from the first day they are born.
- For example, babies that are placed in the NICU are placed on their bellies. (research has shown that our bodies function optimally when we are prone or laying face down)
What are some examples of tummy time?
- Dad or mom can lay down with baby stomach to stomach on chest.
- You can even do a step further and bring the baby away and towards your chest.
- Put the baby on a play mat or favorite blanket on their tummy. (you can place a rolled up towel/blanket under babies chest and shoulders for additional support) Get down there with them and offer them some eye to eye time and support!
- To take it a step further you can put their favorite toys, colored blocks, mirrors or anything that will catch their attention (you can start to do this around 3 months of age)
- Baby Wearing – when you wear the baby in a carrier and they are stomach to stomach with you; it is causing the baby to have to use their neck more to see all around them.
- Playing airplane.
- Burping over lap or lap sooth – place baby tummy down over lap. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
- Tummy down carry or football hold – Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Nestle baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.
How long and how often should you be doing tummy time?
- You and your baby should be doing tummy time EVERY DAY.
- Tummy time should be done, especially in the beginning, for 2-3 minute increments.
- Do tummy time as often as you can! You can never do tummy time too much!
- Always do tummy time while you are supervising!
- Always do tummy time on stable surfaces where baby is secure.