Tummy Time: An easy guide to safely starting Tummy Time from the day you bring your baby home.
Remember: BACK TO SLEEP – TUMMY TO PLAY!
Did you know that safely starting Tummy Time from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital can aid in your baby’s Safe Sleeping journey and is just as important as practicing Safe Sleep?
Tummy Time helps baby strengthen back and shoulder muscles which helps with head and neck control.
Tummy Time encourages motor and sensory development.
Tummy Time prevents flat spots on the head.
Back slept babies are often fussy when they are initially placed on their tummies because they are not strong enough to hold their heads up. The following activities help develop strong neck and trunk muscles as early as baby’s first day home.
TUMMY TIME BASICS
Introduce Tummy Time when baby is most awake, not just before naptime or bedtime.
Begin with 10-15 seconds at a time, gradually building up to 1 hour each day in short segments.
Always place baby on a firm, flat surface for all Tummy Time activities.
Never place baby on waterbeds or beanbag chairs for sleep or Tummy Time.
Tummy Time must ALWAYS be supervised by an adult.
Never leave baby unattended around young siblings or pets while on their tummy.
When possible, limit the use of strollers, swings car seats, and bouncy seats during baby’s time awake.
It is important to vary baby’s position at least every 20 minutes during the day/playtime.
TUMMY TIME BY AGE
NEW BORNS: Lay baby on your chest facing you. Talk and sing to your baby to encourage them to lift and move their head. Newborns often tolerate Tummy Time better when they are in a slightly slanted, upright position.
Using a thin blanket, place baby on a firm, flat surface and move black/red/white objects slowly back and forth to encourage side to side head movement.
Carry baby in the tummy down position (football hold), by sliding your hand under their tummy and between their legs. Nestle them close to your body.
1-2 MONTHS: While baby is on their tummy, smile, laugh and stick your tongue in and out to build their imitation skills. Play games like “peek-a-boo” and “where’s mama?” while they are on their tummy. The more you play and make eye contact, the more they will see Tummy Time as fun!
Babies love to see “other” babies. Putting a baby-safe mirror in front of their face so they can see themselves helps develop heir senses.
3-5 MONTHS: Place baby over your lap while dangling brightly colored toys for them to reach for. Lay baby on their tummy and prop them up on their elbows to give extra support. Talk and sing to them and they will stay in this position for longer periods of time.
6 MONTHS AND OLDER: Give your baby many opportunities for floor time every day. They need to explore and move around freely. You can stimulate their senses by placing toys around them for them to reach and crawl to. Remember to place toys in front and to the sides of them to encourage movement in all directions. Using colorful toys and pictures of family members will help develop their cognitive skills. Many babies will be sitting up by themselves at this age. The more time they spend in this position, the better their balance and coordination will get.
And always remember – babies need to be on their backs when they are sleeping. When they are awake, they need SUPERVISED Tummy Time.