Tummy time for babies is important, and not many parents realize this. Having tummy time is one of the few methods to make your baby exercise and develop their muscles so that they can start to look up, roll and sit, and it is also a significant baby development milestone.
What Is Tummy Time
It is a time where your baby lies on his tummy! We recommend to start at 1 month of age so that you can complete your confinement (if you do it), had sufficient rest after labor, adjust to your latest condition, and have had enough time for you and your baby to get to know each other.
Preparation For Tummy Time
Put your baby on a comfortable surface like in his cot, a playmat, your bed. You want something that is not too hard or soft. It is helpful to put a breastfeeding pillow underneath his elbow for support, so he doesn’t tire too quickly, see picture. Make sure you put him in a safe place because you won’t know when he will start to roll.
Let’s Do Tummy Time!
Place him on his tummy. Refer to the picture below for an example. The first week is introductory for him, so limit tummy time to 1-2 minutes a day. You can gradually increase the time as he becomes comfortable.
Our boy is not a fan of tummy time; he didn’t last 10 seconds before he started to cry. Some babies don’t like it, nevertheless continue to persist in doing this for him. You can talk to him during this time or attract him with some toys.
- For a newborn, this activity will train his neck muscles. Your baby will naturally try to lift his head, and this exercise will strengthen his neck muscles. When his neck muscles are strong enough, he can then raise his head to look around. He won’t be able to lift his head in the beginning though, this is normal.
- When he is 2 months old, move his elbows in front of him for him to learn how to use his hands to support himself. This activity will train his arms and chest muscles, in addition to his neck. Developing these muscles will prepare him to roll, some babies can roll earlier than others because their muscles are already strong.
- Tummy time will also help your baby to develop the necessary muscles so that he can sit up. Sitting up without support is a development milestone your baby wants to reach by 6-7 months. Some babies can sit up earlier because their muscles are sufficiently developed.
What To Avoid
- Don’t wrap your baby during tummy time. His hands need to be in front of him to support himself.
- Don’t have tummy time after feeding.
- Don’t have tummy time when he is cranky, sleepy, tired, or about to sleep.