Tummy Time is placing the baby on his stomach to play. Tummy time is very important for babies as it helps build neck, head and upper body strength. All the important milestones that the baby reaches in first year – raising neck, rolling, crawling involve this position. Not only this it also helps prevent flat head as the baby spends a lot of time on his back while sleeping.
When to start Tummy Time
Tummy time can be started just a few weeks after birth with initial duration of 1-2 minutes and slowly progressing to 10 – 15 minutes several times a day.
How to do Tummy Time
1. Parents can start doing Tummy time with newborns by placing the baby on chest or on their lap for a few minutes so that they become accustomed to the position. Ideally, parents can do tummy time when the child is most alert like after a diaper change or a nap.
2. Keep toys and colourful objects near the baby to keep him engaged. Move the toys from side to side to encourage the baby to move its head.
3. Use board books with big images and move the pages which baby will follow with her eyes. This will help improve focus and eye strength.
4. If the baby does not like doing tummy time, then just keep it for 1-2 minutes and then increase the time gradually. Eventually the baby will start enjoying his tummy time. The aim is to make tummy time a playful activity and not a chore.
5. Get down on the floor with your baby. You can sing to him, talk or play peek-a-boo while lying down with the baby.
6. Hang black and white images on wall or window. Infants are fascinated with black and white bold pictures. You can hang them nearby at low height so that baby tries to raise his head in order to look at them.
7. Use props like pillow underneath the baby initially if he does not like tummy time. Later as he develops muscle strength, you can remove the props.
8. If your baby enjoys massage, then you can massage him while placing him on his stomach.