Not all babies love tummy time. Some cry and fuss as soon as they start and others are happy to hang out giving you all the sweet baby coos and smiles while the do so. Either way, tummy time is important for your baby to do each day. It helps your baby develop their neck and shoulder muscles and it can also prevent the back of their head from becoming flat. Tummy time will also help develop those gross motor skills they need in order to roll over, crawl and other developmental leaps. While tummy time is important, remember this should only be done when your baby is awake and alert and not when they are sleep and only while you are watching. Here are 6 ways to make tummy time better for you and baby.
1. Wait Until They Are Fed and Happy
Don’t attempt tummy time when you have a cranky baby that needs a nap. Wait until they have slept and been fed before trying tummy time. You will have a much better chance of them enjoying it this way.
2. Get Down With Them
Your baby is more likely to lift their head and not fuss if they can hear/see you cheering them on. Get down at their level and make it fun for them. You can also encourage them with a toy or something to make it interesting.
Another thing all babies love is their reflection. As they get older and more aware of their surroundings, try putting them in front of a mirror so they can see themselves while they are doing tummy time. This will keep them occupied and help extend their time.
4. Little and Often
Don’t expect your newborn to manage 5 minutes of tummy time right away, set them down and if they last even one minute call it a win. Little and often is the name of the game, and you increase the time as they get older. Remember it’s the total time that counts overall. Babies should do between 15-20 minutes of tummy time a day.
5. Give Them a Boost
Sometimes the reason they don’t like tummy time is because they are not yet able to lift their head and don’t like their face touching the floor. Or maybe that is just my kids? Either way you can place a nursing pillow, or the small pillow the play gyms sometimes come with, under their chest and arms to give them a little boost. Remember to position this correctly and keep a watchful eye so they don’t slide down and have their face pressed into the soft pillow.