By now, many parents know that they should never let their babies sleep on their tummies, so it comes as a surprise when they find out tummy time is important for a baby’s development. Babies need to spend some time on their bellies while awake to strengthen their necks and arms and to prevent flattening of their heads. There are some helpful points you need to know about tummy time as well to make sure your baby is safe.
Reach Developmental Milestones
Babies need tummy time to reach developmental milestones. If your baby is having delays with milestones, they may need more tummy time. One reason why lying on their stomachs is helpful is that it helps strengthen their neck and arm muscles for developmental milestones like crawling and walking.
Prevent Flattening of their Head
When babies are on their backs too much, their heads can begin flattening. This condition is called positional plagiocephaly. You need to change the position their heads rest in while lying on their backs and make sure they get sufficient tummy time once they’re old enough to be on their bellies.
When Can Your Baby Begin Tummy Time?
Once your baby is able to lift their head and is around 2-3 months old, they can begin spending time on their stomachs on the floor. You need to stay awake and supervise them while they are on their bellies. Also, make sure that they are awake during tummy time because sleeping on their bellies puts them at risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Your baby should get at least 10-20 minutes of tummy time every day. Some babies will cry at first when you try starting them on a tummy time routine. You can start with 2-3 minutes at a time and gradually increase the sessions to help them get used to it.
Tips for Tummy Time
Help keep your babies entertained during tummy time by laying out age-appropriate toys in front of them. You can also lie on your back with your baby on top of you, especially when setting them on the floor upsets them. When your baby is under two months old, you can hold them on top of you while lying down until they’re old enough for being on the floor. You shouldn’t put babies on their bellies after they have eaten or when they are gassy because it will be uncomfortable for them. Don’t ignore their crying either. If they cry, then pick them up and lie down with them resting on your belly to help show them it’s safe.
Tummy time is important for all infants to help them develop motor skills and strength, so be patient and gradually work tummy time into their day.