Lewisham Children & Family Centre

What is Tummy Time?

Hello, my name is Anne Coppendale I am Early Year’s Practitioner and I thought it would be nice to keep in touch with you all sharing with you what Tummy Time is, why its important for your baby and show some activities you can do with your baby.

 

Why does my baby need to do Tummy Time?

Tummy time gives your baby an important opportunity to develop their head, neck, core, arm and leg muscles.

Each time they are placed on their tummies, they will strengthen these key muscles. Doing so, will give your baby time to practice all the crucial skills they will later need to roll and crawl.

 

When do I start Tummy Time?

Tummy time can begin as soon as your baby comes home from hospital. You can start gently by laying your baby on their tummy onto your chest, arms or legs.  She will likely love being so close to her favourite person’s face.

  • Go chest to chest
    Relaxing against sofa cushions or relax on a bed pillows with your newborn snuggled on your chest and looking at your face actually counts as tummy time in the early days, says.  You can start this activity (and bonding time!) on day one. Just make sure that the upper part of your body is at a 45-degree angle. Now you can chat to your little one or study each other you’re both getting to know each other after all.

 

Moving on

You can then gradually move onto placing them on a soft blanket on the floor. If you place your baby on the sofa and sit on the floor, you will be at their eye level and can talk and sing to them while they lie.

  • Use props
    When your baby is two or three weeks old, it’s time to move down to the floor for tummy time. “Put your baby’s chest against your nursing pillow, a rolled-up blanket or a beach towel, again at a 30- to 45-degree angle, so that she can get her arms forward to start to brace herself,” As time goes on, use smaller props, such as a rolled-up kitchen towel. Place a book, toy or even yourself in front of her as entertainment. Now is a great time to break out your favourite nursery songs with hand motions, like patty-cake

 

What happens if my baby gets upset?

If your baby is upset, then pick them up and soothe them. You want to keep it a positive experience right from the start.

  • Have a seat
    You can also sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and your baby’s chest against your legs. Talk, sing and rub her back it will help soothe her and may stop the tummy time tears.

Even if they can only handle a minute of tummy time in the beginning then that is fine.

Scoop them up and give them plenty of kisses and cuddles, then try again later. 

 

A little note about safety:  Always supervise baby during tummy time and keep it brief at first.  

 

How much tummy time does my baby need?

Start by giving your baby tummy time for just a couple of minutes, two or three times every day. You can then build up slowly.

As a guide, experts advise that, in the first month or two after birth, that you build it up to 10 minutes of total tummy time a day. This 10 minutes is not in one go but is spread over a few sessions throughout the day.

 

Can I place a towel under their armpits?

Some parents find that rolling up a small towel or placing a nursing pillow underneath baby’s armpits and forearms makes a difference with babies who are not sure about tummy time. Not only does it give baby a new vantage point, it makes it a little easier for him to lift his head and to push up. “The big thing is to try different things and see what makes them happy,” notes. Dr. Morton. “Babies are very good at telling you what they like.”

 

When is it not a good time to attempt tummy time?

At night when it is time to sleep or when he is hungry. In case you haven’t noticed, babies aren’t super cooperative when they’re tired or hungry, so try to time tummy time when your little one is alert and well-rested. However, do not place your baby face-down with a full belly. You should wait at least 45 minutes after a feeding to avoid spit-ups.

 

What else will my baby gain from Tummy Time?

Tummy time can also give baby an amazing sensory experience. It might seem like a small change of position but laying on their tummies gives babies all sorts of tactile information about where their hands, legs and tummies are placed. It helps little brains input how and why their bodies are moving, as they explore their new world.

Tummy Time should be a fun time for yourself and your baby, if you are having a good time so will your baby.

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