Babies benefit from being placed down on their tummies as it encourages neck control, helps them learn to use their arms and legs to push themselves up and can help them learn to crawl. It is also a good opportunity to inspect the world around them, seeing things from a new angle.
Now that parents are strongly recommended to always place their baby on their back for sleeping (to reduce the chance of SIDS), it is recommended that babies have tummy time during each day to develop these important muscles and to reduce the chance of flat spots forming on the back of the head. Newborns can have tummy time while lying on your tummy or chest, this can be more comfortable for them while the umbilical stump is still there and while head control is poor, but you can start tummy time on a mat or bed right away.
Some babies love tummy time and take to it right away while others resist and take a while to get used to it. There are ways you can make tummy time easier for your baby so they can enjoy this very important part of their day.
Tummy Time Tips
? Play mats ? there are lots of fun play mats you can use for tummy time, many are specifically designed for tummy time and have lots of things for baby to look at and touch. You can use a soft blanket or rug to make tummy time more comfortable and warm.
? Always supervise your baby when they are on their tummy. Not only is it safer not to leave them (for the same reason as we no longer place babies on their tummies to sleep), but being with your baby and interacting with them as they are on their tummy can make it more fun. Talk to baby and encourage them with toys and books, or try some baby massage.
? Take care of draughts ? check that there are no cool breezes at floor level; draughts you wouldn?t notice otherwise can come under doors. If it is cold, have tummy time on a firm bed; just take care older babies cant roll off!
? Don?t try tummy time when baby is hungry or has just had a feed. Being hungry will take precedence in baby’s desires and he may be put off tummy time, making the next session more difficult. Having a full belly can be uncomfortable and could make any reflux worse, and if your little one is particularly bouncy on their tummy they could make themselves sick.