Tummy time starts from day one! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby should always sleep on their back for safety reasons.
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Tummy time is the time that your baby is awake and actively spending on their stomach to build strong bones and muscles necessary for sitting up on their own, crawling, and head control that will occur as your baby gets older.
Tummy time helps prevent flat spots on their head, strengthen head control, and develop the strength and coordination required to meet new milestones. It is a foundation for the skills required for rolling over, crawling and playing. Most babies can begin tummy time as newborns, but it is important to check with your baby’s pediatrician for specific recommendations for your baby.
Tips for Supporting a Positive Tummy Time Experience
• Babies may cry during their first experiences with tummy time and will need extra help getting used to it.
• Don’t stop tummy time if your baby cries
• Supporting your baby in tummy time for 5- minute increments, 3-4 times a day will make a difference
How to Do Tummy Time
• Place your baby in a safe environment and monitor him/her during tummy time.
• Try different positions for tummy time: place yourself in a seated or lying position on the floor near them or by positioning your baby on your chest, lap or stomach.
• You can utilize a Boppy, if needed, as an additional tool to support your baby into an elevated tummy time position.
• Tummy time can be incorporated into normal day-to-day routine, such as after diaper changes, after bath time or after waking up from a nap.
• Use objects that attract your baby’s attention, even just the sight of your face near theirs will promote them to lift their head and look around.
• As your baby becomes more comfortable with tummy time, you can engage them to reach and grasp in different directions by holding up a favorite toy or placing multiple toys spread out around their blanket or area they are on.
• Tummy time can promote bonding. Make sure to encourage all family members and caregivers to participate in tummy time as this will allow new faces, voices, and interactions for your baby during this experience.
If you have concerns that your baby is not tolerating tummy time, not reaching for objects, or is having difficulty with head control, please speak with your pediatrician regarding these concerns.
For any other questions, please feel free to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A timely response will be provided within 24 hours.
Aubrey Kohler, OTR/L, DRS