Tummy time is one of the most important activities you can do with your new baby. It is critical for proper infant development, especially now that babies spend so much time on their backs. Sleeping on the back has also led to a dramatic increase in cases of plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, or flattening of head, which now affects nearly half of all babies today. Tummy time can help prevent and even treat mild cases of these conditions.
Tummy time is a very important activity for your baby’s physical development as well as to keep pressure off the head. If your baby doesn’t spend enough time on the tummy, it can lead to delays in reaching important developmental milestones like rolling over and crawling.
The problem with tummy time is that many babies hate it! It’s so hard to make them do it when they fuss and cry. Here are some strategies you can use to make tummy time a better experience for you and your baby.
The sooner you can begin doing tummy time with your baby, the better. Ideally, you can start while your baby is still in the hospital! The earlier you begin, the easier it will be for the baby to get used to it.
Try different positions
Tummy time doesn’t have to mean the baby is lying on a playmat or blanket on their belly. You can put them belly down on your lap, or on your chest when you are lying down. Being close to you will help your baby feel more comfortable. You can also try placing your baby chest down on a boppy pillow, so they are more elevated and can see better. Some babies really like this position more.
Do frequent, short sessions
You don’t want to push your baby to stay on their tummy when they are clearly unhappy. If your baby doesn’t like tummy time, try doing shorter sessions, and do it more often. As soon as your baby starts to fuss or get uncomfortable, move on to something else. You can even wait just a few minutes and try again. If it helps, try to keep track of how many times a day you do tummy time by marking on your calendar, in a notebook, or on your smartphone. Set yourself a goal of having a few sessions a day, and keep increasing.
Make it fun
Get some of your baby’s favorite toys to play with. You can even read them a book when they’re on the tummy! Sing, play, make funny noises and faces, just remember to keep interacting with them. A playmat can really help as there is plenty for your baby to look at. Try to have your baby look in different directions to see toys and other objects, so you can make sure to develop strength evenly in the neck. http://www.babyflathead.org/
All of these strategies can help make tummy time a more pleasant experience for your baby. The key is to try different strategies, and don’t give up!
Get more tips on tummy time, and information on preventing and treating plagiocephaly and brachycephaly on our website www.babyflathead.org.