Most of us parents have heard of “Tummy Time”. If you haven’t, that’s okay, I will explain it for you. It’s when you put the baby on their tummy. Pretty self-explanatory. With two kids I feel like I have gotten a grasp on Tummy Time and I’ve decided to write this quick guide for any new parent who does not know what tummy time is or who has a baby who hates tummy time and is looking for ways to cope.
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What’s the Deal with Tummy Time?
First let’s start off with the “WHY?” The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages tummy time, starting from birth.
“Tummy time should take place when your infant is awake and alert. Place him on his tummy on a solid surface such as the floor. Place a toy in front of him and engage him in play. Doing this regularly will help strengthen the muscles in his neck. It also will help prevent your baby from developing a flat spot on the back of his head. Prolonged time spent lying on his back can cause the back of his head to flatten. While this condition doesn’t cause any developmental problems, a misshapen head can look odd. So be sure your baby gets some tummy time each day.”
So to sum up, Tummy Time is encouraged because we are now told to place infants to sleep on their back. If they are on their back all night, and the majority of the day then not only do certain muscles not get exercised but the back of their head can start to be misshapen.
Is Tummy Time a Necessity?
Yes… And No. Again, tummy time is mainly promoted to exercise certain muscles and to keep babies off their backs for extended periods of time. So while I highly encourage tummy time, both of my children enjoyed it. If you have a baby who absolutely hates it, then don’t stress! There are alternatives, which I will get to in a minute, that would provide the exact same things (time off their back and ways to strengthen their muscles).
WATCH: Tummy Time Vlog on YouTube
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What to Do During Tummy Time?
There are so many ways to keep your baby engaged during tummy time. Remember that they are working hard so only keep them on their stomachs for short incraments. First thing you want to do is get a place ready for them. Lay out a blanket if you have hard wood floors. Make sure you always supervise tummy time.
Ways you can play with your baby while they are on their tummy:
- Get eye level! They will love watching your facial expressions and hearing your voice.
- Use a mirror. Reflections are always entertaining.
- Set up contrast cards like THESE.
- Try out different toys, and expose them to different textures.
Related Post: What I am Teaching My One Year Old
Alternatives to Tummy Time?
There are some great alternatives if you have a baby that despises being on their stomach.
- Hold your baby!! Seriously. This will not spoil them. Instead it keeps them off their backs and if you hold them upright will also help with certain neck muscles.
- Use a baby carrier. It goes along with holding them. I’ve read that some believe baby wearing can pretty much take the place of tummy time entirely. Not my personal recommendation though.
- Lean back and place baby on your chest. It’s the same as tummy time but they get to see and snuggle you while doing it!
- There are some great blogs out there about using an exercise ball to help!
- When the baby is old enough using chairs like the Bumbo or this Fisher Price Chair can help with their neck strength.
I hope this answers some of your questions!
Items that can be used during Tummy Time
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