Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One

Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One Welcome home, little one! What’s the best way to introduce your baby to life outside the womb? By making tummy time an everyday adventure that develops your little one’s essential motor skills. Tummy time focuses on letting your little one develop neck strength and head control independently. Simply lay your baby on his or her stomach for a significant period of time each day and let them explore the mechanics of pushing up, rolling over, and eventually crawling. Of course a newborn is not going to have the same range of motor skills as a 5-month old, but starting tummy time earlier is developmentally favorable compared to waiting a few months for baby to grow.

Dedicating time for your little one’s motor skills development is very important considering how much time your baby spends on his or her back. At night, your baby should sleep on his or her back because it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and while you’re on-the-go together during the day your baby is toted around in a stroller or car seat, both of which typically place your little one in a reclined position. Because your baby isn’t used to spending a lot of time front-facing, he or she may be distressed or upset during your first tummy time attempts. This is a typical infant reaction and shouldn’t make you feel as though your baby isn’t ready for tummy time; developing head control is uncomfortable for your baby but a necessary development phase.

Put your little one at ease during tummy time by joining in the fun. Playing together will help distract your baby and encourage more time spent front-facing. Peek-a-boo is a great way to engage your little one while lying down and a lot of fun for you as well. You can try laying your baby on your own stomach to help ease discomfort if your baby seems to fuss a lot while on your carpet or a special play mat. Make your tummy time space a fun, colorful area to further encourage play. Play mats with mirrors and lights can be enjoyable for baby, or you can place soft toys nearby to encourage more movement.

Be patient with your little one while they move through the pre-crawling movements and actions. Pushing up, rolling over and sitting are all small moments you will enjoy watching your little one accomplish. Make sure that your little one isn’t sleepy or hungry before starting tummy time though, as your baby should be alert and ready to play to make the most out of your time together. Your baby will be less fussy if there’s no wet diaper or hungry belly getting in the way of playing during tummy time.