Firstly why should your baby practice tummy time?
- Tummy time is the building block to developing good strength, postural control, and coordination. It will help them to develop their motor skills such as rolling, crawling, sitting, and standing.
- Provides an alternative position to lying on their back, side, or sitting which relieves pressure on their heads helping to promote a more rounded head shape.
- They can see their environment from a different perspective, which is important for visual development.
- Gives lots of options for play.
- It helps babies to increase their confidence with movement so they can move their bodies to eagerly explore their environment.
How to make tummy time a success:
- Try doing tummy time when your baby is most alert and when they’re happy e.g. just after a nap.
- Short but frequent. Tummy time doesn’t have to be done in one long slog, make it short and snappy with lots of opportunities for your baby to be placed or held on their tummy throughout the day, this way it will become part of their normal routine.
- Motivating interaction such as using mirrors, bright toys that light up or are musical, singing, reading a story, or involving siblings to play with baby in tummy time.
- Keep practicing, your baby will start to enjoy tummy time and so will you!
Ideas for newborn to 3 months old:
- Get yourself into a comfortable lying or semi-reclined position on your back with your baby lying on their tummy on your chest. At first, they will just rest their head to the side but soon they will be able to lift their head up briefly to look at you. This is a lovely position for face to face interaction so do lots of singing and talking when they are in this position.
- Carry your baby whilst they are on their tummy, give them plenty of support.
- Placing them on their tummy on a firm pillow on your lap after feeding/burping can be a good way to introduce tummy time for short periods.
Ideas for 3 months to 6 months old:
- Place a rolled-up towel or blanket under baby’s chest on the floor, this makes it easier for them to stay on their tummy and push up onto their arms.
- Holding toys off the floor in front of your baby will encourage them to lift their head/chest off the floor and they will start to reach for toys. A play mobile is great for this.
- Hold them on their tummies on an exercise ball. You can gently rock it forwards and backwards or side to side.
Ideas for 6 months to 9 months old:
- Make reaching for toys harder by placing soft toys on a higher surface, this makes them have to push up on straight arms.
- Place toys near your baby’s hips/legs whilst they are on their tummy, this will encourage them to pivot round on their tummies to reach for toys.
Ideas for 9 months plus:
- Place toys further away from them so they have to commando crawl forwards, you can help them at first to move their arms and legs forward.
- Make a baby assault course by placing small cushions and pillows on the floor for your baby to commando crawl up and over!
Things to remember:
- Only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert.
- Always stay close by when your baby is on their tummy, so they stay safe.
- Place your baby on their back for sleeping.
We hope these ideas will help you and your baby start to really enjoy tummy time! Talk to us if you have any concerns about you baby and their ability to complete these tasks.