Tummy time is when you baby plays on his or her tummy (or front). Tummy time should start when your baby is born and should happen everyday. When awake, babies need tummy time! With the “back to sleep” campaign that encourages parents to place their babies on their backs to sleep, infants have been spending less time on their fronts. This is also a side effect of transferable carriers that allows parents to easily move their baby from stroller, to car, to home. When you transfer your baby from one position to another, carry your baby, or wear your baby they are forced to work and strengthen stabilizing musculature against gravity and against forces created through position changes. Babies who get transferred using primarily carriers have less opportunity for this.
Benefits of Tummy Time:
- It helps make the neck, arms and muscles of the body stronger
- It helps your baby practice movements that are needed to be able to progress to rolling, sitting, and crawling
- It allows your baby to look around and experience it’s environment
- It helps decrease the risk of your baby developing plagiocephaly or prevents it from progressing
Tummy Time Tips!
It can be easy for parents to avoid tummy time with their little ones or cut it short because their baby voices some displeasure. Try these tips to help make tummy time a more fun experience for baby (and parents).
- Support baby with a small rolled towel or cushion under the chest
- Progress the time your baby spends on their tummy at one time and repeat frequently during the day.
- Play games like peek-a-book or make funny faces
- Play with special / different toys or mirrors
- Read a book with your baby
- If your baby is already fussy, tired, or hungry
- Try putting your baby in different positions for tummy time, such as across your knees / lap and laying on your chest while you lay down
If you need help with tummy time ideas , progressions or positioning for your baby a Physiotherapist with a special interest in Pediatric Physio can help. At our North Oakville Physiotherapy clinic our Physios see many babies and children who benefit from some small pointers for parents to work on with them at home.