Tummy Time Tips from a Newborn Care Specialist
Magda partners with many different providers in the Denver metro area. These include Lactation Consultants, Pediatric Physical Therapists, local baby shops, and local baby gear brands. She wants to make sure she can recommend the best from the best and can guide you in the right direction with your new baby.
Did you ever bring a baby home and were amazed at how perfect they are? They slept, more or less, ate and looked adorable, correct? With each day that passes they can stay awake a little bit more and then what? You were expected to offer age-appropriate activities and sensory experiences. But how does it look, how much and when is the perfect time for it?
Why is tummy time important?
Tummy time helps your baby develop neck, shoulder, back, and chest muscles. Those muscles are crucial to so many milestones your baby will be expected to reach in the future.
A few of the big ones are: rolling over, sitting up, standing, and more.
Most of your tummy time will be on the carpet or play mat on the floor. Starting at a young age, you can use high contrast cards, books, and toys as babies' eyesight isn't fully developed. From that point, you can follow your children's interests and slowly add different varieties of toys like rattles, balls, blocks, rings. I would recommend looking for multi-use toys which can grow with your baby.
How much tummy time should we offer our babies?
With the age of your baby, the number of repetitions may not change too much compared to the duration of each playtime, but the general idea of tummy time will stay the same.
- Newborns - it will be around 3-5 times a day for 2-3 minutes
- Babies 3+ months - it still maybe 3-5 times a day, depending on the family schedule and other baby activities - but it will last anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes or even an hour depending on their mood, interest, and other needs.
- Babies who can sit up - tummy time may not be interested anymore but tummy time is still beneficial to them as it is an important foundation for development.
Is there a perfect time to offer tummy time?
The answer is simple: yes and no. It all depends on your baby and family routine. Morning is a great time, after they have had a nice night's sleep and may be able to tolerate more. Any time after a nap will work well as the baby won't be on the edge of being tired. Another thing to keep in mind is to wait for a little after we feed them as pressure on their stomach may cause them to spit up.
In the end, I want to add that yes, some babies don't like tummy time and, it can be due to different reasons. Some may be medical and some be due to tension in their muscles like torticollis or negative association developed over time. Please consult your doctor, find a pediatric physical therapist to get your child evaluated, and keep it low stress and enjoyable for everyone.
So here we are! Now you are an expert on your baby tummy time! Enjoy.