WHAT IS TUMMY TIME?
Tummy time is placing your baby on their tummy whilst they are awake and supervised. Babies used to be placed on their tummies to sleep but since the Back to Sleep Campaign was launched in December 1991, which has since reduced the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by over 80%, babies have lost out on the 12 hours of tummy time they used to have each night, so now it is important that they have plenty of opportunities for tummy time when they are awake.
BENEFITS OF TUMMY TIME
- reduces flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly)
- stretches and strengthens the head, neck, shoulder and back muscles your baby will need to learn important motor skills. Including how to push up, roll over, sit up, crawl and push themselves up to stand.
- relieves painful gas pain.
WHEN TO START
You can start tummy time in the first few days of your babies life, there is no need to wait until your babies umbilical cord has fallen off. If you’re reading this and your baby is a few weeks old and you haven’t yet started tummy time, do not worry! Just start today and build it into your daily routine.
HOW TO DO TUMMY TIME
Tummy time can take place on a playmat or blanket on the floor.
You can lay your baby across your lap on their tummy or lay down with them lying tummy down on your chest.
If you have a small (45-55cm) exercise ball you can place them tummy down on the ball and slowly roll them back and forth and side to side.
Rolling a hand towel or blanket up and placing under your baby’s chest and armpits with their arms over the towel.
Lay your baby over your leg when you are sat on the floor.
HOW LONG SHOULD TUMMY TIME LAST?
You can start with just a few minutes, two or three times a day. Then slowly increase the amount of time as and when your baby is happy to. By 3/4 months you should be aiming for around 20-30minutes a day. But don’t panic if you’re baby is not quite at that amount of time just keep doing short sessions a few times a day.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BABY IS NOT ENJOYING TUMMY TIME
Get down on the floor with your baby. Talk, play music, sing some songs or look at some books together.
If your baby is tired or hungry they will be less likely to enjoy tummy time.
Change up their usual tummy time routine. If you usually place them on a playmat try laying them on your lap or chest instead. or vice versa.
Get siblings involved. Your baby loves to watch their siblings and if they are down on the floor with them they will hopefully be distracting enough for a few minutes of tummy time.
Consistency! Keep tummy time sessions short and sweet if your baby really doesn’t like them but do try and do some everyday. As the more your baby does it the stronger they will become and then in turn the more they will enjoy it or at least tolerate it.
TUMMY TIME ACCESSORIES
There are so many tummy time mats, pillows, toys etc on the market. These really are not essentials however I thought I’d include some on here incase anyone was interested.
Bright Starts Safari Adventures Prop And Play Mat
Etta Loves Animal Print Reversible Playmat
This playmat provides perfect stimulation for tummy time and playtime. Reversible dalmatian (0-4 month print) and leopard print (5+ months) in soft organic cotton with a comfy padded fill.
Wee Gallery Art Cards For Baby
With a focus on eye-catching, monochromatic design. They use only earth-friendly materials too, they’re sustainable and cool.