Modern babies spend a lot of time in prams, car seats & other artificial positions that may prevent normal development. Without adequate opportunities to strengthen their muscles, babies may experience motor delays.
"Tummy" time promotes development by:
🔅Strengthening your baby’s back, neck, arm & core muscles to help them with rolling, sitting & crawling.
🔅Improving their developing sense of touch by feeling different textures (blankets, carpet, etc.) on their arms, hands & cheeks.
🔅An increased sense of body awareness as they move & shift their weight.
🔅Improving eye & hand coordination – by looking down at their hands, they are able to see how they move & what they can do.
Basically, Tummy Time any position that allows your baby to exercise their neck & back muscles, meaning that “Tummy" Time doesn’t need to involve the tummy at all.
If your baby doesn’t like Tummy Time, don’t worry – this is normal. Try different positions, or shorter sessions more frequently throughout the day. However, if you or your baby find Tummy Time incredibly distressing, trust your instincts. There is no use putting them (or you!) through the screaming and upset. Instead, try to find different ways to help them achieve these same goals!
Tips & Tricks!
🔅Burp your baby upright. Being upright counts as tummy time as your baby will engage their neck muscles to stay upright.
🔅Place baby on your chest or tummy, so you and baby are face-to-face.
🔅Lay your baby on their side, supported by a rolled-up blanket.
🔅Make sure your baby can see your face, get on the ground with them & encourage eye contact.
🔅Try doing Tummy Time exercises when baby is most happy & make it fun by singing songs, using toys.
🔅 Avoid immediately after feeding, it can be uncomfortable for your little one to rest on a full stomach.
🔅 Use a mirror so baby can see their face and watch themselves as they lift their head and move around.
References: Hewitt et al 2020; Hewitt et al 2017; Wittmeier & Mulder 2017