Tummy Time for Baby: How to Do It, When to Start, and Why It’s Important￼
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A baby goes through different developmental stages in his infancy. There are different milestones a baby achieves, including crawling, rolling over, sitting up, and walking. All these milestones are crucial for the better growth of the baby. A mother needs to be very educated and mindful of this topic about the growth and development of her baby. This is a time when the baby goes through a lot of physical and mental changes. Any small mistake and lack of care or attention can lead to inconveniences for the baby.
One of the biggest milestones in the baby’s growth and development is when a baby starts rolling over. In the stage of rolling over a baby’s tummy, time is the most crucial thing to understand. It is one of the first exercises of the baby. Tummy time is a milestone stage when a baby spends his time of the day on his stomach. It is the time when your baby’s motor development is at its peak. The development of motor behavior is essential and hence important to look after in a baby’s rolling-over stage. This article will discuss the baby’s tummy time, how the mother should do it, and why it’s so important to understand.
Tummy time: BASICS
Tummy time is when your baby spends time on his stomach and tries to roll over on his own belly. A baby tries to crawl during his time, and hence it is the most important exercise for his motor development. Generally, babies start crawling in a creeping fashion while dragging their bodies on the floor forward with their arms. Gradually, babies learn to move forward. Rocking back and forth lays the foundation of crawling for the baby. Almost 50% of the babies start crawling by the age of 10 months. Some may start their tummy time when they reach 12 months of age. There are certain care tips for mothers when their babies start crawling. We shall discuss those key points later in this discussion.
Why do babies need tummy time?
Tummy time is a baby’s struggle to crawl and roll over on his own. It requires great strength and the motor ability for a baby to lay on his stomach and move his arms. Tummy time is important for a baby as a baby’s core muscles of the neck, arms, back, and shoulders develop the most during his rolling over and crawling stage. Secondly, a baby needs tummy time to avoid any type of motor delay and physical inabilities. Most babies delay their milestones as proper care is not given to them during their developmental stages. Also, tummy time is beneficial for the onset of the next baby milestones like sitting up and walking. If you keep your baby devoid of tummy time, it may also delay his walking and moving times.
Benefits of tummy time:
- Tummy time is beneficial and serves as a prepping stage for the next baby milestones like; walking and sitting up.
- It saves your baby from physical inabilities and motor delay. Also, tummy time boosts the motor abilities of the baby.
- Develops the core muscles of the baby.
- It helps the baby in the exposure of his body and provides him a great playtime activity.
- It helps the baby in havinghead control.
- It also prevents and protects the baby againstplagiocephaly. It is characterized as a baby’s flat head due to poor neck muscles and staying in the same position upright for longer periods of time.
- Promotes trunk stability.
Tummy Time: How to do it?
There are certain dos and don’ts of tummy time for babies. Following are some tips for a better experience of tummy time for both mother and baby.
· Never do in sleep:
Do not make your baby do tummy time in his sleep. The best time for the tummy time of the baby is when he’s awake. Some babies enjoy tummy time after their diaper is changed. And most babies enjoy after taking a bath when they feel more energetic.
· How to do it:
Simply just place your baby on his stomach on a clean mat or towel. Keep watching the baby during his crawling and tummy time. Try to keep his head straight while placing him on his belly. The floor is the ideal place for this activity of your baby. An ideal tummy time is not achieved in the lap or on the chest. Expose your baby to different environments and place his different places in your home and outdoor for a better tummy time.
· Engage your baby:
Tummy time is more enjoyable for a baby when he is well engaged. Sometimes baby hates tummy time and does not want to lay on their stomachs. For that, you can try to engage your baby in this activity by singing to him and chatting with him during his tummy time. Play with your baby during his tummy time and make this time more playful for him. Babies enjoy when their mothers sing them their favorite poems and songs.
You can also arrange toys around your baby to make tummy time interesting for the baby. Babies learn a lot mentally as well in this period.
· Go slow:
Always try to start for a shorter time. In the beginning, only 3 – 5 minutes is fine for the baby’s tummy time. You can increase the time as your baby starts enjoying this activity. A few times a day for 5 minutes is necessary, but you should start increasing time and try making the baby do it multiple times throughout the day.
· Give attention:
Always keep a sharp eye on your baby during his tummy time. Baby can harm himself with any toy or may hurt his head while lying on his belly as a baby’s head is very shaky and not under his control when he starts crawling and rolling over. He can hurt his head with any obstacle and even floor if not given proper attention.
When to start tummy time?
There is no specific time prescribed for the tummy time of the baby. Mothers can start tummy time for their babies right after they come home from the hospital. Tummy time is essential for the better development of your baby’s muscles. You can start your baby’s tummy when he starts moving and rolling over on his own. You should keep your baby trained to tummy time from the days of his birth. Babies mostly resist tummy time initially, but they get used to it when done regularly and properly.
Therefore tummy time should be started right after the birth of the baby. Firstly you can start his tummy time in your lap and sometimes on your tummy. Babies enjoy their tummy time mostly on their mother’s tummies. You can slowly increase the duration of your baby’s tummy time after he reaches 3 to 4 months of age.
Importance of tummy time
Tummy time is one of the most important exercises for a baby in his growth. Tummy time protects babies against a lot of physical inabilities, physical and nervous disorders. Tummy time is crucial for a baby’s head control and neck muscles. It protects the babies against flat head and SIDS, i.e., sudden infant death syndrome. Other than that, tummy time helps the baby to develop better sensory and motor abilities. A baby learns to discover various body moves and things around him. His sense of touch develops to a greater extent in this stage. Besides that, a baby’s vision also improves during tummy time.
Tummy time is important for your baby as it develops physical skills and mobility strengths. A baby should be given proper tummy time so that your baby can grow properly. Mothers need to be extra careful when the baby starts crawling and moving on his belly. Make your house baby-proof to avoid any sudden accident.
Every baby is different in his development and learning abilities naturally. Some babies may reach their milestones earlier than others, while others may delay for valid reasons and causes. Proper care and nurturing can help mothers and babies in reaching these milestones safely.
If you have any questions about baby development milestones, feel free to ask in the comment section. We would love to hear from you. Let us know the queries you have.
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