What is tummy time?
Mayo Clinic defines tummy time as “placing a baby on his or her stomach only while awake and supervised.” Tummy time offers a critical opportunity for infants to develop important foundational skills.
You can create tummy time by the infant on your stomach as you sit down (tummy-to-tummy), on a bolster or rolled towel, or on a flat blanket or play mat.
Why is it important?
According to the Zero to Three, infants need to spend time playing on their tummies to develop strong muscles that will be used for sitting up, moving, and crawling. “By playing on their bellies, babies develop the muscle strength in their shoulders, arms, back and trunk (torso) that helps them learn to crawl.”
When should we do tummy time?
A good time to try tummy time is right after a fresh diaper. It is important to make sure that the baby is not too hungry or tired. However, you’ll also want to wait if you have just fed the baby to ensure the infant has had time to digest. Always ensure that you are sitting by the infant during tummy time to ensure that he or she is safe.
How long should tummy time last?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended to start with shorter periods of time a few times each day. As infants builds strength, they will be ready for longer periods of time spent on their bellies.
When first starting tummy time, some infants do not like the position, and might have a hard time feeling comfortable. Try to offer a toy or set up a mirror that the infant can look into. This will help the baby to find joy in this activity. BabyCenter shares that as infants are doing tummy time, their tolerance “is likely to increase gradually with experience and a bit of coaxing. And many babies are more content on their tummy once they can roll over and it becomes a matter of choice.”