The most common questions raised about tummy time include "when should we start?" and "will it be helpful to my baby?" Well, we've compiled a little list featuring the ins and outs of this fun way to help your baby's development. Have a read, and let us know how you do Tummy Time in the comments below!
Why is Tummy Time Important?
Being active from birth is good for your baby. Tummy Time is a fun way to encourage them to get moving, build muscle strength and get those little crawlers ready for adventures. Children that aren't exposed to Tummy Time may have slower development rates, which could delay them hitting future major milestones; this can include anything from rolling over to sitting up or crawling.
What Are the Benefits?
Tummy Time is not only good for strengthening your little one's muscles, it's also a fun way to spend time together as you watch them try their hardest to wriggle around!
Lying on their front helps them strengthen their back and shoulders, as well as improve their ability to move their arms and legs in different motions.
Your baby's neck will also feel the benefits of Tummy Time, allowing them better head control and the strength to be able to look up and fully take in their surroundings. This will develop their co-ordination and ability to follow things with their eyes.
When Can You Start Tummy Time?
According to the NHS, you can start Tummy Time from birth by laying your baby on your chest.
Wait until your baby is awake and alert, little and often is best at the start. When you feel they have enough strength, start putting your baby across your lap, on a soft blanket, or on a mat on the floor to practice Tummy Time. You can do this for a few minutes, two or three times a day and then gradually increase the time as they get older and stronger.
Don't forget to always supervise your child during Tummy Time and never place them on their tummy when they're asleep.
What if Your Baby Doesn't Like It?
Many babies find the process of Tummy Time a little uncomfortable. At first, it will be a strange experience and they may cry. It's best to start with short bursts when your baby is fully awake and hasn't had a feed too recently.
If your baby really doesn't enjoy their time on the floor, you could try going back to your lap, chest or arms. Making it part of their day-to-day routine should make the transition easier and their strength will grow quicker, making it easier and less uncomfortable with time.
Some babies simply don't enjoy being on their tummies - if this is the case, try not to worry, just keep trying and this might change week by week. If you would like more advice on getting your child to practice more Tummy Time without tears, you can always mention it to your GP.
What if Your Baby Has Reflux?
If your little one suffers from reflux, chances are they'll find Tummy Time pretty uncomfortable and you may find them bringing up milk when you practice. You can try to avoid this by not placing them on their tummy directly after a feed or by placing them at a slight angle across your knee or forearms so they remain in an upright position. This will hopefully prevent them from spitting up any milk, but, just in case, we'd recommend covering yourself with a muslin cloth for protection.
Lots of toys and play mats will make your baby enjoy Tummy Time more as they get older. Patterns, vibrant colours and textures to look at, reach for and interact with will keep them mesmerised and entertained.
Place your little one on a beautifully crafted playmat like the Taf Toys North Pole 4 Seasons Mat or the JoJo Elephant Playmat for a soft and cosy experience. Or, invest in an activity gym like the Done by Deer Activity Gym and Playmat Tiny Tropics that's been specifically designed to encourage your baby's early development skills. The Chicco Boppy Animal Tummy Time Pillow is another wonderful option, featuring plenty of toys for stimulation. Little ones will be able to wriggle, explore different textures and toys, and open their eyes to all the pretty colours with these fantastic products!