Tummy Time

Why utilize tummy time?

Tummy time is an important part of development. By spending time on their tummy, babies develop muscles in the neck, back, arms, and hips. Each of these muscles are necessary to work toward developmental milestones like holding the head upright, rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking. Additionally, it’s good for visual and mental stimulation because your child can explore their surroundings. The sooner you start, the sooner your child will get used to it and benefit from it. Recent research supports the use of tummy time and has found that >15 minutes/day of tummy while a child is awake can prevent flat spots on the head and >80 minutes/day can lead to faster achievement of gross motor skills. The important thing to remember is that each child should be supervised while on their tummy to ensure that the child is safe. Tips for tummy time:

• Best if your baby is rested and happy before tummy time

• This can begin right after birth (clear with doctor if concerned)

• Start with 5 minutes every hour your child is awake and work toward 80 minutes a day

• Get in a routine

• When your child is tired, roll them to their back rather than pick them up

• Place plenty of toys near your child and pick their favorites

• Try using mirrors or get on the floor with your child

• Be patient. Your baby may have difficulty at first, but it is important to keep trying.

• Continue to incorporate tummy time during the first 2 years of life as much as possible

Other options to start with for tummy time:

• Lay your child on your chest while slightly reclined and progress to laying down on the ground

• Use a Boppy pillow under the arms or a towel roll

• Place your child on a pillow on your lap or across your legs. Start with your legs crossed so your child is slightly at an incline and move to a flat surface.

• You can carry your child in your arms while on their tummy

• As they get stronger, place objects in front to encourage reaching forward

If you have any questions regarding development, please call Therapy OPS at 651-455-0561.