How To Help Your Baby Enjoy Tummy Time

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Emily

Emily

 

 

WHY TUMMY TIME? 

You don’t need fancy equipment to help your baby’s development. The answer to promoting infant development is simple… lots of quality floor and tummy time! 

Why is tummy time so important? 

Babies learn through play, and play time on the floor is essential to help babies reach their developmental milestones. As a baby’s gross motor skills develop from the head first, tummy time helps build this foundational skill and sets them up for success in their future milestones. 

 

BENEFITS 

What are the benefits of tummy time for infant development?

The time your baby spends playing in his or her tummy helps build their: 

  • Head and neck control 
  • Hand-eye coordination 
  • Strength of the shoulders, arms and hands 
  • Strength of the tongue and jaw muscles 
  • Sensory development. 
 
HOW LONG?
 
How much tummy time does my baby need? I often get asked this question and the simple answer is as much as possible, aim for quality over quantity!

“Begin with regular short bursts throughout the day when your baby is calm and alert. Aim for more frequent sessions of tummy time where your baby is actively participating. You can gradually increase the length of time your baby spends on the floor as they develop more strength and control.

TUMMY TIME ISN’T JUST ON THE FLOOR

Does your baby cry when placed on their tummy? Follow these 8 simple tips to help make tummy time enjoyable for your little one*!

  1. Tummy To Chest – lie down in a reclined position and place your baby on your chest or tummy
  2. Football Hold – hold your baby on their tummy, over your forearm as you move around the house
  3. Over the Lap – place your baby on their tummy over your lap, or lie down on the floor and bend your legs up to place your baby over your legs
  4. Rolled Up Towel – use a small rolled towel or tummy time cushion to place under your baby’s chest to provide extra support. This will help to raise them up against gravity
  5. Exercise Ball – place your baby on their tummy on an exercise ball and carefully rock forward and backwards, and side to side
  6. Nappy Changes – place your baby on their tummy with each nappy change for a few minutes, or for as long as they will allow
  7. Baby Wearing – time spent baby wearing or in a baby carrier can be a great alternative to floor time. Remember to follow baby wearing guidelines and keep them close enough to kiss
  8. Eye-Level Smile – get level with your baby and smile to encourage eye contact and social interaction. Including their favourite toy, book or a mirror can help to keep them entertained.

BACK AND SIDE TIME

Did you know that babies need time on the floor in varied positions, not just their tummy?

Babies learn so much about their environment and the way their body’s move when placed on their back to play. Make sure they have plenty of room to kick, and place toys on each side or safely above them to encourage head rotation and the reaching of their arms.

Time spent lying on the side during play is important for development. Place your baby on each side, with their hip, shoulder and ear in alignment. 

Would you like to find out more about osteopathy for babies and toddlers? Click here for further reading. 

Emily Jones, Advanced Paediatric Osteopath, IBCLC and owner at Align & Nurture

*References: pathways.org

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