If you have a young infant (or soon to have one) you will want to want to watch our video below with some great tips for infant tummy time with Heidi Madsen of Blossom Early Learning. Heidi not only shares some tips on when and how to do tummy time, but also why it is so important for your baby’s development!
Here are some notes from the video in case you don’t have time to watch it all now. (But it’s totally worth watching, we promise!)
Tummy time can be started from day one and baby’s time on their tummy can be increased incrementally as they feel comfortable. You don’t have to wait for your infant to already have neck strength- as tummy time will help their neck get stronger.
How to get started with tummy time:
Start with 10 seconds at a time, increasing to 15 seconds, etc. Your goal would be for a one month old baby to spend 20 to 30 minutes per day total on their tummy. But note- this is not all at one time as that would be WAY too much time at once.
Why is tummy time so important?
Tummy time is important because it strengthens baby’s neck, core, upper arms right up to their wrists and their fingers, which helps develop their fine motor skills.
Did you know? Tummy time affects school learning! Issues with learning at school can in many cases be linked to not having had much tummy time as an infant! Why? Because tummy time helps develop coordination. It prepares and strengthens baby’s core muscles for their development milestones like rolling, crawling, sitting up on their own and eventually crawling.
Tummy time also builds vision. It can be pretty boring to lie on your stomach and look at the ceiling all day! Since vision is not fully developed when baby is born, the more items of interest they have to look at, the more their vision develops.
The vestibular stimulation is also affected by the movements made during tummy time. Vestibular stimulation affects baby’s motor skills as it is the input baby’s body receives when baby experiences movements- like his/her head nodding-and affects all learning in baby’s first 15 to 18 months. These movements cause brain starts that make new connections in baby’s brain and develop their learning capacity.
Time spent on baby’s tummy can also help prevent developing a flat head (Plagiocephaly). Babies can develop a flat spot on their heads if they spend too much time in one position. Make sure baby switches sides often when bottle feeding, carrying or just lying on their side or back.
Important tips to follow for tummy time:
- Make sure baby has his/her arms propped up for him under their head to help support themselves. They can’t move their arms purposely yet, so help them get into position.
- Give them something interesting to look at: a book, a mirror, a toy, a sibling or parent at eye level
- Apply a little weight (very light pressure) to baby’s hips (in the diaper area-not their back) to help prevent the weight of their head tipping themselves. Watch the video for the full demonstration of this.
How can tummy time be done?
- Tummy time doesn’t always have to be lying on the floor.
- Tummy time can also be on a parent’s chest- not while standing, because you would be supporting baby’s head, but lean back on the couch and allow baby to lie on your chest.
- Hold baby in an airplane hold (lying on your arm)
- Prop baby up on a firm pillow or exercise/beach ball and support their hips.
- Baby can also be side lying-propped up with a pillow behind their back.
Only do tummy time for as long as baby can handle it. If they are crying or fussing- stop! You want baby to learn to enjoy tummy time- so encourage them by praising them for doing well and helping them when they are feeling done.
Set baby up for successful tummy time:
Baby’s will enjoy tummy time much more when they are not tired, when you wait 20-30 minutes after they have eaten (to prevent spit up) and when they are comfortable. Don’t put baby on a hard floor- put them somewhere comfortable like the carpeted floor or a bed or couch (only if supervised though!). Put a blanket on your carpeted floor or couch to keep any spit up from staining. Yes, it happens! 🙂
To summarize, tummy time is the foundation for all your baby’s milestones! Once baby is rolling over on their own they will have developed the core strength they need to get themselves into a sitting position, which then leads to crawling! Ensuring your baby gets tummy time each day will get them started on developing that core strength and developing their lifelong learning skills.
We hope you enjoyed our talk about tummy time! Thank you to Heidi Madsen for sharing so much valuable information with us.
If you are in the North Bay area and want to check out the Blossom Early Learning, you can visit the website here.