For our first post, let’s start at the beginning shall we?
Tummy time is the one of the first gross motor developmental activities that almost all parents know is important to do with our babies… However, tummy time can also be something that some parents feel like they, or their baby, struggle with. Here are my top tips for successful tummy time:
- Start early. You can start placing your baby on their tummy from their first day of life. Even though your baby won’t lift their head at all, they will still be getting lots of benefit from taking weight through their arms and chest. Just turn their head to the side, and make sure any tummy time is done when they are awake and you supervise them at all times.
- Lie baby on your chest. Lots of babies prefer to be close to Mum or Dad, so a nice place to start practicing tummy time is with baby lying lengthways on your chest. This also makes it easier for them to lift their head, and they can look up at your face.
- Aim to increase their tummy time slowly. If your baby doesn’t like tummy time, you can start out by placing your baby on their tummy for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and gradually built up that time as their strength and endurance improves.
- Do it often, and build it into your routine. Frequent short bursts of tummy time are equally as good as one or two long sessions of tummy time. Build regular tummy time into your daily routine – after every nappy change, after a feed (make sure you burp your baby first!), or every time you put your baby down for play start with tummy time.
- Use your face, your voice, and bright toys to motivate your baby to lift their head and to gradually increase the length of time they lie on their tummy. Babies love nothing more than to look at your face and listen to your voice, so get down to their level and talk or sing to them – they will love it!
- Seek help if your baby has reflux. Reflux can make tummy time pretty difficult – when your baby lies on their tummy there will be more pressure which will potentially make their reflux worse. So see your GP for help with managing the reflux, and make sure you burp your baby well after a feed, and wait at least 20 minutes after a feed before putting your baby on their tummy. Babies with reflux also often tolerate lying on your chest better than lying on a flat surface.
The main aim with tummy time is just to start, slowly build up your baby’s tolerance and endurance gradually, and keep persistent. Over time, your baby will get stronger, and before you know it they will be choosing to play on their tummy. However, if your baby is struggling with tummy time or is not progressing with their motor milestones as expected, please seek out the help of a health professional.
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