In the world of social media and parenting you may read or hear a lot of different things about tummy time.
When do I start?
How long is necessary?
Why does my kid scream through it all??
Today, tummy time is necessary because you should be placing your baby flat on his back for sleeping. Since they sleep a lot when they are small you want to make sure they have time on their tummies for a few reasons;
1- To help prevent flat head.
2. To develop strong neck and shoulder muscles.
3. To build strength for skills like sitting up, crawling and walking.
So, when should you start? There is not a specific age to start, but the earlier the better. If your baby was full term and has no health issues then you can start right away. If they were a preemie or have underlying health issues then make sure to get the all clear from your doctor.
Here are a few ways you can do tummy time.
- Lay out a blanket and roll your child gently on their tummy for 3-5 minutes. Flat on the ground is the best option for development.
- Place them propped up on a boppy pillow or similar. Have their chest on the pillow and their arms over the edge. This isn’t ideal as their arms aren’t being used to push them up, but it may help them feel a little more comfortable.
- Some parents like to lie down on the ground and lie their baby on their chest on their tummy so they feel comforted. Just make sure to be very awake and alert and have a good hold on your baby.
Tummy time should be repeated 2-3 a day. Every time you do tummy time make sure you and your baby are awake and alert. Your baby also may hate tummy time. It’s ok. Being upset for a short period of time won’t hurt her, but starting for shorter periods of time and working your way up will help them get used to it.