We do everything we can for the development and well-being of our babies. One activity that can immensely benefit your baby is tummy time.
Whether you speak with a pediatrician or fellow parents, they will often emphasize that you need to provide tummy time to your baby.
The question, however, is, why do babies need to do tummy time?
We will share the answer today and help you understand how to make tummy time more enjoyable and beneficial for your baby.
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Why do babies need to do tummy time?
Babies need to do tummy time for a lot of reasons like the development of core muscles, acceleration in meeting the milestones, avoiding motor delays, accelerating brain development, preventing flat spots,
We will go into the details of all these benefits below.
1. Development of core muscles:
Tummy time certainly aids the development of core muscles. The activity focuses on the shoulder muscles, back muscles, as well as neck muscles.
The more time the baby spends on the tummy, the better these muscles will develop.
In the future, these muscles will undoubtedly help the baby to work. That is why the development of core muscles is vital for the baby. You need to encourage any activity which can develop the core muscles of the baby. That is why tummy time is a necessity.
2. Aids in meeting milestones:
When you contact your pediatrician, the pediatrician will let you know about the baby’s milestones. For these milestones, the baby needs to strengthen his/her body.
Of course, this will happen naturally. However, activities like tummy time can enhance the development of your baby’s body resulting in timely fulfillment of the milestones.
When your baby is fulfilling these milestones on a timely basis, the baby’s development is ideal. That way, your baby will have above-average physical abilities as well as mental cognition.
3. Help avoid motor delays:
The tummy time involves multiple organs as well as body parts.
That is why, if the baby needs to maintain balance during tummy time, he/she has to control multiple muscles of the body.
This involves proper motor skills. Initially, the baby might not control all these muscles simultaneously and might not be comfortable during the tummy.
However, over a while, the coordination of these muscles and the limbs of the baby will be possible. Such coordination can undoubtedly improve the motor skills of your baby. That is why; there will be no delay in the development of motor skills.
4. Aids brain development:
How does the baby control various muscles and limbs?
Of course, with the help of proper commands from the brain. All this can happen at a subconscious level.
However, the more tummy time you provide to your baby, the better will be mental coordination. Once the baby gets accustomed to tummy time, the brain will do all this subconsciously. It means that tummy time can speed up the brain development of your baby.
5. Prevent flat spots:
Initially, you will have to place the baby on his/her tummy. However, once the baby becomes accustomed to the activity, he/she will turn around on his own.
Due to the same, the pressure on the back of the baby’s head will be less. That is because the baby will no longer be lying on the head constantly.
Tummy times mean that most of the baby’s weight will be on the tummy and the lower body.
Due to the same, there will be no flat spot on the baby’s head.
Thus, tummy time is necessary if you want to ensure that your baby has a proper head shape.
Don’t these benefits make tummy time a necessity?
Of course, they do!
The next question which you will have is that how much tummy time is suitable for the babies?
We will cover that below as well.
How much tummy time is suitable for babies?
Initially, the tummy time for the baby should be just 10 minutes to 15 minutes a day. However, this tummy time should be broken into two sessions of a couple of minutes each. That is why; you have to monitor the baby during tummy time consistently. If the time extends a couple of minutes, you have to turn around the baby.
When should you start giving tummy time to babies?
It is a good idea to start giving your baby tummy time a fortnight after you come home from the hospital. However, initially, you should limit it to 1 or 2 minutes a day. Only when the baby is comfortable can you opt for multiple sessions of a couple of minutes.
Want to make it more comfortable and beneficial for your baby?
If so, the tips which we will highlight below can serve you well.
Tummy time tips
These steps aim to ensure that your baby becomes accustomed to tummy time. Also, it will ensure that babies tummy time isn’t uncomfortable for the baby.
1. Limit the duration to a couple of minutes:
It is a good idea to limit a single tummy Time session to just a couple of minutes. Even if your baby is accustomed to tummy time, you need to conduct multiple such sessions. However, a single session should not last for more than a couple of minutes.
2. Maintain eye contact with your baby:
Initially, your baby won’t be comfortable during tummy time. However, that does not mean that you have to stop right away.
During tummy time, you have to get down to the eye level of the baby. After that, you have to maintain eye contact and give a smile to the baby.
The reason for the same is because the baby will become comfortable when you are around. Also, maintaining eye contact will calm down the baby and make the tummy time more comfortable for the baby. It is one of the easiest ways to make your baby accustomed to tummy time.
3. Soothe the baby:
During tummy time, you have to soothe the baby. The best way to do so is to caress the bottom of the baby gently. That will help you calm down the baby and help them maintain balance as well.
If you do not want to disturb the baby during tummy time, you have to keep the baby in your lap with their face downwards. After that, you have to place your hand on the bottom of the baby. This is sure to calm them as well. You can do this in between 2 sessions of tummy time.
The point being, when the baby is calm, he/she will enjoy the tummy time rather than hate it.
4. Do not give tummy time after feeding:
Tummy time puts a bit of pressure on the stomach of your baby. That is why, if the stomach is full with the feed, the baby will certainly not be comfortable. It can result in reflux and stomach pain as well.
It is a good idea to avoid tummy time after feeding the baby to avoid all of this. You should at least put a gap of 60 minutes to 90 minutes before feeding and the baby’s tummy time.
5. Provide tummy time when baby is happy:
Once the baby starts associating an experience with irritation or pain, the baby will not be happy indulging in that experience.
To avoid this mistake, you have to only provide tummy time to the baby when the baby is happy. That way, the baby will start associating tummy time with happiness. The baby will think of tummy time as a pleasant experience. That is why, after a while, you will not have to put in a lot of effort in giving tummy time to the baby. The baby will roll over on the tummy on his/her own.
6. Turn the baby around if the baby sleeps midway:
Once the baby becomes comfortable with the tummy time, he/she will often sleep during the tummy time. However, you do not have to let them sleep in the same position.
You have to turn the baby on his/her back if the baby sleeps during tummy time. Only that way, they can have a comfortable sleeping position.
7. Use toys to entertain the baby:
You have to make the tummy time as pleasant for the baby as possible. To do so, you have to provide the baby with his/her favorite toys during tummy time.
There is always a risk that the baby might not be able to maintain his/her balance on the hands and elbows during tummy time and fall towards the ground. That is why; the toys should not be directly underneath the baby.
This is another reason why you need to monitor your baby during tummy time.
8. Use a nursing pillow initially:
As highlighted above, initially, the baby might not maintain his/her balance on the elbows and the hands. That is why; the baby might fall towards the ground. To break this fall, it is a much better idea to keep a nursing pillow beneath the baby’s upper half. That way, even if the baby cannot maintain balance, he/she will land on the pillow, and there will be no pain or injury.
Once the baby starts maintaining his/her balance, a nursing pillow won’t be necessary.
When you follow this handful of tips while providing tummy time to your baby, it will be an entertaining experience for your baby.
The benefits of tummy time are numerous, as highlighted above. That is why; tummy time is more of a necessity for the baby rather than a luxury. Considering all these benefits, it is time to start providing tummy time to your baby and make baby’s tummy time fun with the help of the tips above.