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Tummy Time: Benefits, Tips, and Recommendations


Exercise is beneficial for everyone, especially in terms of one’s health. Babies are no exception and regularly exercising babies is a must because they’re still in the initial stages of development.

Tummy time is considered as one of baby’s first exercises, possibly even the most important one. However, it must be done carefully, so your baby can reap the best possible benefits from it.

With that said, here are some tummy time tips that can help you use tummy time to develop your child’s muscles and motor skills. Check out what are the benefits of tummy time, as well as helpful tips and various recommendations to make the most of your baby’s first exercise.

 

What is tummy time?

First, let’s define what tummy time is. Tummy time is when you place your baby on their stomach or “tummy” and allow them to play in this position. This allows them to develop their muscles, especially the ones involved when they lift their heads.

Tummy time can also develop the muscles needed for sitting up, crawling, and eventually walking. Remember to only put them on their tummy when they are awake.

 

When should my baby start with tummy time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP recommends that babies should engage in tummy time as soon as they are brought home from the hospital. Therefore, tummy time for newborn babies is highly encouraged.

 

How to do tummy time with my baby?

One of the questions often asked is “how do you do tummy time with a newborn.” Ideally, it should be done right after your baby wakes up from a nap or after changing their diaper.

Remember to never put them to sleep while on their stomach as this can be a risk factor for your baby to suffer from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Moreover, tummy time after feeding is a big NO. You need to wait at least 45 minutes to an hour after feeding before you can engage your baby in tummy time.

Make sure to clean the area where they will be doing tummy time, placing a mat or clean towel for them to lie on.

You can place a few of their favorite toys around them so that they will feel more comfortable.

For newborns, tummy time should be done only be done for a few minutes at a time, gradually increasing the duration as your baby grows older. Once your baby reaches 3 months, they should be able to engage in tummy time for at least an hour.

 

When to stop tummy time?

Once they begin crawling at 7 to 9 months, tummy time wouldn’t be as necessary. However, allowing them to do tummy time even when they begin crawling can still be beneficial for their overall development.

 

Benefits of Tummy Time: Why is tummy time important?

In terms of benefits, your baby can reap several benefits from doing frequent tummy time, especially from the time they are brought home from the hospital.

They are as follows:

  • As mentioned, it can help develop the muscles and motor skills necessary for their growth and development.
  • It strengthens the muscles needed for babies to lift their heads and even crawl and walk.
  • It’s a great way for you and your baby to bond.
  • It can help alleviate pain from gas in the tummy.
  • It can prevent plagiocephaly or the dreaded “flat head syndrome.”
  • It allows them to be exposed to a different environment.
  • It engages the muscles that they otherwise don’t use, especially while lying down.

These are just some of the benefits your baby can reap from having constant dedicated tummy time.

 

Tummy Time Milestones

For you to further understand the importance of tummy time as well as how it’s beneficial for your baby, you can check out the following tummy time milestones and what each milestone entails.

  • Newborn Tummy Time: First two weeks

Here, you will observe that their tummy time is done mostly with their cheek pressing on the mat or towel. After some time, they’ll be able to lift and turn their head albeit with more effort.

The position typical for this phase of their life involves bent arms and knees. They may even make pushing movements with their feet akin to crawling. They don’t normally have their belly and pelvis flat on the floor.

  • 1 to 2 Months of Age

By this time, you can observe them having an easier time lifting their heads although not completely and they can already turn their head and cheek in the opposite direction. Moreover, by this time, you can lower their belly so it comes into contact with the surface underneath.

By the second month, you can already see them pressing their hands on the surface and attempting to push themselves up.

  • 3 Months of Age

By now, they can lift their head more easily and can turn to either direction with their head lifted. You can also observe them being able to push themselves up from the surface.

  • 4 Months of Age

They can now hold their heads more steadily during this time, and they can now lift their upper chest completely. They can even look down while keeping their chest lifted.

You can also observe them lifting their arms and legs off the floor, sort of like a swimming or flying position.

  • 5 Months of Age

By this age, they are more active and are starting to reach for various objects around them. They can also roll themselves to lie on their side.

  • 6 to 7 Months of Age

By 6 to 7 months, they will begin reaching with only one arm and can start to push themselves off the floor. They are also more comfortable with their palms on the floor and can turn in a semi-circle using their arms.

 

After this, your baby may start to crawl which means that tummy time can be lessened, but it’s recommended that tummy time be continued as this can still be beneficial for their overall growth and development.

 

Final Thoughts

Tummy time is an important activity for your baby as this can help them develop their muscles and motor skills that are needed for other milestones in their life. Hopefully, these tummy time tips and other information was helpful for you and that you can now engage your baby in more tummy time.