Are you frustrated because you baby hates tummy time? Or do you have so many questions concerning the same such as;
- When should you do tummy time?
- When is the right time to start tummy time?
- What are the best tummy time activities?
- What is the best tummy time mat?
- Can tummy time hurt baby?
What ever concerns you have, don’t sweat it mommy! I got you! Today I will share with you several tummy time basics that will help your baby enjoy the time spent on their bellies. But first off, what is your definition of tummy time?
Tummy time is simply placing the baby on their bellies only while they are awake and supervised.
Why is tummy time important?
Tummy time helps in the development of your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles while promoting motor skills. In some cases, the time babies spent on their tummies will help prevent your baby’s head from developing a flat spots or positional plagiocephaly
Experts recommend that babies spend a lot of time sleeping on their back to prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Thus, indulging in some tummy time for your baby offers them the opportunity to try out new positions that strengthens their upper body.
Tummy time activities will also help your baby in developing skills that will come in handy when they are ready to crawl and sit up.
When to start tummy time
Tummy time should start immediately after birth. When starting out, it’s recommended 3-5 minutes several times a day. Then with time and as your baby gets used to it, you can gradually increase the duration to about 15-30 minutes each time.
I started tummy time when my second baby was 1 day old. He was tiny so I would lay him on my laps while seated in the hospital bed and pat him on the back; for just about a minute or two; nothing more than that.
Since babies are squishy and tiny, you don’t want to hurt them or have them struggle to breath.
Then I’d sing him a slow song or gently shhhhh him while slowly massaging his back. This is a great way to bond with your baby when both of you are only concentrating on each other.
Your baby isn’t feeding and you are not struggling to latch them properly.
Tummy time tips
Some babies absolutely love tummy time, but the majority of them hate it. My first-born hated tummy time to be honest and so did my second boy. But as a mom, I tried to make that time bearable for them, and even as much as I did, I was only successful with my second boy.
I guess it was not a huge success with my first born because I was a new parent and didn’t know so many things.
However, i still somehow managed albeit with tons of frustrations. Hopefully, these tummy time tips I am sharing will make tummy time a no tears affair for your baby.
Before you begin, choose a time when your baby is happy, alert, and well fed (not immediately after feeding). In addition, make sure to change your baby’s diaper right before tummy time.
This way, you will be sure if they start crying it’s not because of a wet diaper. Once that’s taken care of, then its time to get your baby on their tummy for their tummy time.
One thing I realized is that my babies would cry immediately I placed them down. So, I had to learn to be creative. I hope, these tips will help you fix your tummy down woes and baby will enjoy the time spend together.
- Chest to chest
Get yourself into a comfortable position and lie on your back. I preferred sleeping on my carpet or my bed. If you love sleeping on a pillow, put one beneath your head.
Ensure that your upper body is at a 45-degree angle and that you are comfortable.
Lift your baby and place him on your chest. You can actually start tummy time from day one this position.
You and the baby will face each other and you can talk to your little one or even stare at each other’s faces. It makes an awesome position especially on the early days since your baby is not too heavy.
- Grab a seat mommy
Sit upright in a comfortable chair and put the baby on your laps. Ensure the baby’s chest lies on the laps and that the head is well supported.
Gently rock your laps back and forth as you talk and rub the baby. This will help soothe him and put him at ease so that he enjoys all those tummy time activities you have lined up.
- Remember your exercise ball?
I have always had an exercise ball for as long as a can remember. And when I delivered my babies and was struggling with tummy time, I tried using it and boy! did my second baby love it!
Here is how to incorporate an exercise ball into your tummy time schedule. Place your baby on top of the exercise ball with the tummy down.
Hold your baby firmly on the back so that they do not slip then gently start rolling the ball, forwards, backwards, and then side to side.
This makes it fun for the baby and you will notice they will be all giggly. It also makes them aware of their surroundings. Try the exercise ball technique when the child is at least 2 months old.
- Shoulder to shoulder
We naturally hold our babies on our shoulders when they are young, especially after feeding to burp them. But did you know the same position can be used for tummy time?
Hold your baby in this position as you gently rub their backs and let them explore their surroundings while in an upright position. Ensure you are supporting their head since they may not be able to do that on their own.
- Use a boppy pillow
A boppy pillow is a must have baby essential. It has so many uses for newborn moms. For tummy down time, place a blanket on the floor then put your boppy pillow on top of it. Then prop the baby on the “C” in the boppy pillow while they lay on their belly.
Make sure the hands and shoulders are supported on top of the pillow. This will prop him up and he will be able to look around his environment as he plays.
You on the other hand will engage him as he explores and also reposition him if he seems uncomfortable.
- Use a tummy time mat
This is perhaps one of my favorites because there is a lot of bonding with baby and also the tummy time mat I used came with several toys that kept him busy.
I would place my boy on the play gym on his stomach then lay opposite him; just close enough so that our faces almost touched.
He would be excited by the toys on the tummy time mat for a while and then his attention would shift to me, then back to the toys.
While his attention was on me, I would hold his little hands as he tried to grab mine as well. You can get some of your baby’s toys and incorporate them in your tummy time activities.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you and baby enjoy tummy time. Always remember that tummy time should always be supervised!
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