Placing a baby on their tummy is crucial for their development. When babies are on their tummy, they need to look up and move their head around to see objects and people. Putting your baby on his tummy helps build his head and upper body strength, and these will assist him to sit up, roll over, crawl and walk.
When to start
Most experts recommend starting tummy time as soon as Baby is home from hospital so that he can get used to it from a young age. Some moms wait a first few weeks until the umbilical cord has fallen off, since this can be uncomfortable for Baby.
Your baby may dislike tummy time at first, so it’s best to keep the initial sessions short. Start with a minute or two several times a day, and increase to three to five minutes several times a day. Do this until your baby has up to an hour of daily tummy time by the time they’re three months old.
But some babies don’t like being on their tummies – it’s unfamiliar, they can’t see you and may feel abandoned.
- In the first week, put your newborn on their tummy on your chest while they’re awake.
- Tummy to tummy: Lie down on the floor or a bed. Place baby on your tummy so that you’re face-to-face. Then talk to him. He will try to lift up his head to see your face.
- Lay baby face-down across your lap to burp or soothe him. Hold one hand on their bottom to keep them steady.
- Use soft items like pillows or rolled-up towels to prop baby up until they’re strong enough. As baby grows stronger, place them on a blanket on the floor. Always make sure your baby is safe and always keep an eye on them.
- Place some toys around them on the floor. Encourage them to reach for and play with the toys.
- Put a non-breakable mirror in front of them so they can see their reflection.
- Try tummy time in different places, like outdoors on a blanket.
Read more: Crawling is good for your baby
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