Why is Tummy Time Important?
Allowing your baby to play on their front is important for their physical development and will help to develop skills vital for later life. Your baby needs time playing on their front to develop good head control, learn body awareness and gain good balance and coordination. With opportunities to move and play in different positions your baby will develop better posture and learn how to control their movements which are needed for sitting, and crawling. Laying on their tummy will also reduce the chance of your baby getting a condition know as ‘flat head’ (plagiocephaly) which can be caused by prolonged periods in the same position whilst their skull is still soft.
Enjoying Tummy Time Together
• You can start tummy time from birth although your baby might be more comfortable once their belly button has healed. Start for small periods of time such as 1-2 minutes a few times a day.
• You could start by laying them ‘up your knees’ (your knees bent) or ‘over your legs’, as we do during Baby Massage classes (see pictures below), or by laying on your back and putting your baby on your chest or tummy – all of these positions help your babies to feel reassured and secure.
• Talking and singing to your babies during this time is really important so that they can hear your voice so that they don’t feel alone and develop their communication.
• When your baby is a bit older (around 3 months) they will begin to be happy laying on the floor. Make sure when you are using the floor that they are placed on a clean, soft surface and keep anything out of the way that isn’t safe (you may be surprised how quickly your baby starts to move around).
• You can use this time to get down in front of them and use it as an opportunity to do some of your postnatal yoga and play peek-a-boo like we do in our classes.
• You could also lay a mirror to one side of them and progress to using age appropriate toys and books – have fun!!
• Tummy time is also enhanced by carrying your baby in a baby carrier as it tones and strengthens baby’s upper body and core – there are many to choose from and can be as difficult choosing as a pushchair – but its important to get the right advice and one that is ergonomically designed. One of the most recommended is the ABC (www.actionbabycarriers.co.uk). To help you choose and try before you buy The Cheltenham & Gloucester Sling Library (www.cheltgloucsslinglibrary.co.uk) offer consultations and a hire facility so that you can get the right one for you and your baby.
Top 3 things to remember…
#1 Do tummy time together – your baby should never be left alone
#2 Talk, say/sing nursery rhymes to your baby
#3 Listen to your baby – if they get grizzly don’t worry, pick them up and give them a cuddle – try again at another time.
And most importantly RELAX and have FUN!!
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