When I gave birth to Atlas, I was so nervous about beginning tummy time! What if I was doing it wrong? What do I do if he screams the whole time? It was a very nerve-racking experience for me as a new mom. Slowly, I had to learn to be comfortable with the crying and find new ways to keep him enjoying tummy time. When it came for Axel, I felt like a pro! So I’ve decided to share with you how I encouraged my babies to love tummy time.
Disclaimer: Information found in this post is purely informational and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your family doctor or paediatrician for more information.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy Time is when you place your baby on his or her stomach while they are supervised and awake.
When to Start.
Babies can begin tummy time as early as the day they are born. To begin with, you should lay your baby on your own tummy or chest. As you notice your baby’s neck muscles begin to strengthen, you may move your baby to a solid, flat surface. Usually, your paediatrician will recommend starting tummy time on flat surfaces once your baby is about 2 months of age.
Reminder: All baby’s develop differently and you should contact your paediatrician if you have any concerns.
Why is it Important?
Tummy time is important to the development of your child because it encourages your baby to strengthen their neck muscles. It also helps your baby strengthen their upper body muscles. In order for your baby to hold his head up on his own, he needs to practice the skill frequently. It is also important is allowing your baby’s skull shape to form properly, preventing head flattening.
How To Do Tummy Time.
Begin with placing your baby chest to chest. As his muscles strengthen, muscles place him on a firm but soft surface (cushion, play mat, carpet, yoga mat, etc.) Your baby’s arms should be tucked under and be close to his chest so that he can lean on his elbows for support. You should try to avoid blankets though may smother your baby when he rests his head.
For more information on tummy time check out This What To Expect article: Tummy Time for Baby
How To Encourage Tummy Time When Your Baby Hates It.
Begin with remembering that crying is okay. Don’t let your baby cry hysterically, but lifting their head is a new skill, and as with any new skill, it can be frustrating before you start getting the hang of it. To encourage your baby to persevere, build up the skill in moderation. Start with 30 seconds and slowly increase the amount of time as your baby becomes more comfortable.
I found it helpful if you sit or lay your tummy in front of your baby. This encourages them to lift their heads up a bit more. While sitting there, talk to and encourage your baby. Let them know they’re doing a great job! Many people find that singing, or making other sorts of noise helps motivate their little one.
Lastly, I would encourage you to try shaking a rattle or holding a mirror in front of your baby. Having distractions and objects for your baby to look at is sometimes all the motivation that they need!
Do you have any other tricks to get your baby on his tummy? Let me know in the comments below!