You’ve heard about the importance of tummy time for your baby, but what exactly is it? No, it’s not when you fill up their tummy with yummy foods – it’s the daily routine of placing your baby on their stomach to help them grow big and strong.
Tummy time does a few things. It helps your baby strengthen the muscles in their neck and shoulders that they need to eventually sit up, crawl, and walk; it improves motor skills; and because it gets them off their back for a few minutes, it helps prevents flat spots on your baby’s head.
We’ve got some tips to make tummy time as successful as possible for you and your little squirmer.
- Make sure your baby is always awake and supervised during tummy time. This is a must to ensure that they stay safe during the few minutes they’re on their tummy. If your baby starts crying or resting his face on the surface, it’s time to take a break.
- According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, babies benefit most from two or three tummy time sessions each day that last from three to five minutes. Once they get stronger, you can lengthen the sessions.
- Place your baby on a hard surface on a blanket or play mat to make sure he or she is cozy and comfortable during tummy time.
- To get your little one to look up at you, try incorporating their favorite toys into tummy time. Place them within arm’s reach or dangle them within eye sight so they stretch and work those oh-so-important muscles.
- If your little one loves listening to you, try singing, reading a book, or even just chatting with him or her during tummy time. This will keep your baby engaged and aids in their early language skills at the same time.