Tummy time for newborns is a crucial activity as it helps strengthen their neck, shoulder, and core muscles, which are essential for their overall development.
It’s natural to overlook the value of tummy time while the baby sleeps on their back because there is so much emphasis on this position. Although it may be difficult to see initially, all those little wiggles and half-lift attempts greatly assist the baby’s development.
They help to avoid flat spots on the back of their heads, which can happen when a baby spends a lot of time on their back, and they get the baby ready for some future milestones like rolling over and crawling. However, if you’re new to parenting, you might have questions about tummy time and how it works.
We have all the answers to the questions you didn’t even realize you had, so don’t worry. So, when should you begin doing stomach exercises? And how frequently should the baby do it? Continue reading to learn about tummy time, a crucial developmental activity.
Tummy Time: What is it?
What exactly do we mean when we refer to “tummy time”? Tummy time is when a baby spends time on their stomach while awake and under adult supervision. Babies are prompted to lift their heads when placed on their stomachs, which improves motor skills and strengthens the muscles in their head, neck, and shoulder.
What are the benefits of tummy time?
Tummy time benefits include:
Newborns and infants under three months old are still learning to regulate their necks. The muscles they will need to roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk are developed through tummy time. When your infant is doing tummy time, always be present.
Babies that are 4 to 7 months old. Even if they can roll over and sit with some assistance, they should still spend time under supervision on their bellies. They try elevating their head and chest by keeping their arms straight during tummy time. This tones the muscles in the back, chest, and arms.
Torticollis is a neck disorder that affects newborns (tor-ti-KOLL-iss). The newborn cannot turn their head because of tight neck muscles. Tummy time and the exercises your pediatrician will show you can help relax your baby’s neck muscles. Tummy time helps babies to look about.
Infants who have positional plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. In the first several months of life, this occurs when infants spend excessive time on their backs. This may result in a flat patch on the back of the head or on one side. Tummy time for newborns also helps prevent flat head syndrome by encouraging babies to spend time off their backs and evenly distribute the pressure on their heads.
Babies can experience many body positions and movements when on their bellies, and they can begin to understand how their arms and legs move. Additionally, it shows them a radically different perspective on the world. Since babies initially spend almost all of their time on their backs, this causes them to turn their perspective upside down temporarily.
As the skin on her body’s various parts interacts with the surface she is on, it exposes your baby to various textures.
There aren’t many opportunities to enjoy yourself with your newborn at first. Tummy time could be more interactive, but as your baby’s skills advance, they will become more involved. Tummy time is a particularly important opportunity for interaction and play with your baby, a bonding activity.
When should I begin Tummy Time?
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to start practicing tummy time as soon as possible, even if there is no set time. As long as you and your infant are both awake and alert, you or another caregiver is present to monitor. Newborns born at full term with no health complications can begin tummy time as soon as their first day home from the hospital.
If your infant detests lying on his or her stomach, don’t be shocked if your first attempts are met with some resistance. Babies typically dislike it and become irritable over it. They might stay there for a minute the first time before shouting. It’s important to acclimate them to that situation. You’ll need to begin with brief sessions and work your way up.
How to do Tummy Time?
Older babies and newborns may experience tummy time in slightly different ways. Keep on reading to learn more about the specific tummy time methods.
Newborns’ Tummy Time
Follow these instructions for conducting tummy time for babies from 0 to 3 months old while your child is just starting to gain head and neck control:
While she is awake, lay your newborn belly-down on your chest or in your lap.
Interact with her by gazing into her eyes, flashing her a wide smile, and speaking to her in a cheerful sing-song voice to make her feel more at ease.
Keep tummy time brief at this point—about three to five minutes. As you notice The baby is enjoying herself, you might gradually lengthen it. Put your baby on his or her stomach about two to three times daily. A nice time for it can be right after a diaper change or a nap.
By the end of the first month, your baby may have more control over her head movements and stronger neck muscles, but you should still support her head when holding her. Until she is roughly 4 months old, she won’t be able to keep her head up on her own. Thus, parents and caregivers must supervise tummy time for newborn sessions to ensure the baby’s safety and make it an enjoyable and engaging experience for their little ones.
Tummy Time for Older Babies-
When she is between 4 and 7 months old, your older baby should have tummy time as described below:
Lay your infant belly-down on a section of the floor that has a blanket, towel, or playmat covering it.
Get on the floor and play with her; you could even dangle a toy before her.
Provide tummy sessions for three to five minutes at a time; gradually lengthen the sessions when you notice that she enjoys the exercise. Following a diaper change or feeding, you can practice being on your stomach about two or three times daily.
Your baby will be able to lift her head entirely while lying on her stomach at this point, and she may also begin pushing up on her arms, arch her back, and try to lift her chest. The newly acquired upper body strength will aid her ability to eventually sit up.
You might also catch her rocking, kicking her legs, or even “swimming” with her arms when she is on her stomach. This frequently occurs at around five months and shows that she is developing the strength and skills to roll over and perhaps even crawl.
What are some tips for tummy time?
The ideal moment to pick is when your child is content, awake, and engaged in their environment. Make tummy time more enjoyable by:
Slowly roll your infant onto their stomach with their arms tucked beneath their shoulders.
To recreate their position in the womb, newborns like to rest on their bellies with their heads tilted to one side.
Turn your baby’s head sometimes so it rests on the other side to prevent flat patches and stiff neck muscles.
As your infant gains strength, put high-contrast cards in front of them so they can lift their chin to see the pictures.
Lie next to your infant and talk to them. A picture book could be turned through and discussed as you go.
By signing or giving your baby a back or hand massage, you can let them know they have company.
So that your child can see their reflection, hold a sturdy mirror next to them.
Place safe toys nearby and move them from side to side to encourage your baby to move their head, focus their eyes, and maintain attention.
Try doing tummy time in various settings, including being in the shade on a rug during warm weather.
What if my baby doesn’t like tummy time?
Change the activity or location if your baby starts to fuss during tummy time. If your infant prefers not to be on the ground, lie down with them on your breast and engage in gentle hand-and-foot play with them. Rock them gently, sing, or give them a back rub.
Babies with Down syndrome frequently have hypotonia or decreased muscular tone. Encourage your infant to spend time on their tummy with one of their favorite toys to aid their growth. It has been demonstrated that doing this encourages head raising in babies with hypotonia and Down syndrome.
Tummy time is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby and may be enjoyable for both of you. Your infant has the opportunity to acquire the muscle control necessary for all future development, including sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking. Daily practice of tummy time for newborns will reap several benefits for your baby’s continued growth.