Tummy Time – What, Why, When and How?

Tummy Time – What, Why, When and How?

Did you know that tummy time is really important for all babies and something that can impact their lives in the long term?

What?

Tummy time refers to the intentional time that your baby spends lying on their tummy facing the ground. Please note that tummy time is not safe practice if your baby is asleep, it is reserved purely for bubs who are awake.

An excellent addition to tummy time is to have time without a nappy on. For a new baby, time without a nappy allows for complete freedom of movement, leg kicking and full skin sensation, the first part of toilet training (yes, bubs brain is working on that from a young age without you even knowing it) whilst also helping to air the sensitive skin which helps to reduce nappy rash and discomfort. Try this tummy time mat next time bub goes nappy free, it’s waterproof and super easy to clean while allowing your baby time to explore and develop.

Why?

Two main reasons:

1. Giving your baby time on their tummy helps to reduce the chance of them developing flat spots on the back of their skull (Positional plagiocephaly).

2. Tummy time promotes and strengthens motor development. It allows your baby to work on their upper body muscles and strengths their neck and head control. A lack of tummy time will actually delay your baby developing skills such as lifting their head, rolling, crawling, sitting and walking.

3. Tummy time lets your bub stretch muscles that were shortened in the womb.

When?

International recognised research recommends that you start tummy time when your bub is a newborn, the sooner, the better. Tummy time is best when your baby is most alert and awake and preferably not after feeding (lying on a tummy full of milk tends to end up in a big mess). Tummy time should continue until your baby can roll independently and put themselves into that position.

How?

To start with the aim to have tummy time 3 times a day for around 3 minutes each time. Start by placing your bub belly down on your chest or across your lap so that they get used to this position and feel comfortable. If you can put some pictures of safe positions for a brand new baby in tummy time – just to be safe that people understand (as above).

After a few weeks, you will notice that your bub is getting a bit stronger and more comfortable, that means it’s time to move tummy time to the floor. Place a clean mat or rug down and build the tummy time sessions up gradually – working towards 20 minutes.

Around the 4 month mark, your bub should be starting to lift their chest off the floor and lean on their elbows. This will turn into pushing off the floor with their arms, arching of the back and eventually crawling – it’s totally normal to accidentally lean too far to one side and roll over by accident.

Around 5 months you will start to notice your bub pivoting on their belly and using their arms to reach around them – this is the perfect time to add some incentives… lay some books, toys and fabric around the edge of the mat, encouraging your bud to reach for them and start crawling.

A good tummy time set up looks something like this… If you could include a picture of a good set up like below, that would be really helpful! Bub in the middle of the mat, toys/books/ baskets around the mat to provoke bubs curiosity

Please note: for safety, stay with your baby at all times during tummy time.

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