Tummy Time for Babies: When to Start and How to do, Tips & Precautions
Your baby tends to spend lot of time on his back playing in his crib but it is very important for him to spend some time tummy. The early months are vital and crucial for your young one. With growing age your little munchkin has to be exposed to physical, social and emotional stimulations, which are necessary for his overall development. Your baby is a whole secret world of skills.
Understanding your baby's most important milestone of tummy time will help you to indulge with him in more confident and creative ways of playing that would enhance and unfurl your little nugget’s abilities. It has been discovered that without tummy time, your kid will experience slow development of motor skills. Make your baby to lie on his front and encourage him to lift his head. It helps in strengthen his neck muscles and also helps in development of upper back muscles. Slowly and gradually, your baby would start supporting his head and hold it steady when he moves.
Importance of tummy time in babies
When your baby is made to lie on his stomach and he makes efforts to lift his head, it shows that your little bundle of joy is all set for exploring his new world. Tummy time helps the little toddler to strengthen his neck, shoulders and back muscles and also gives him a chance to move his arms and legs in different ways. It also helps him to develop gross motor skills and gives him a heads start to roll over and crawl.
If your young one lies a lot on his back, he tends to develop a flat spot on his head. Tummy time helps to prevent this by relieving the pressure on the back of your little one’s head. This helps in developing into a more rounded shape.
When to start with tummy time?
There is no prescription for when to start with tummy time, but it is advised to start at a really young age. The early you start, the more your baby gets use to it. Generally, you need to avoid it in the initial few days, until the umbilical stump falls off.
You have to start with 2 to 3 sessions a day, for 3 to 5 minutes at a time with your baby as he is 1 to 2 months of his age and starts holding up his head. Initially, there would be instances when you would find him becoming cranky and not enjoying it, don’t be dishearten and discontinue with it, rather reduce the duration of each session to 1 to 2 minutes. Eventually, your tiny one will get used to it and would start finding it interesting.
As your baby gets older and starts liking his physical workout, he gets a better control over his neck and upper body. Gradually, ramp up the count of sessions and increase the duration of each session. You should aim for 20 to 30 minutes a day. If he is able to achieve this first milestone, trust me your little one is a real hero. By the time your young one reaches the end of 4th month, he would have learned to control his head movements and would start exerting his arms for pushups.
As your little one, steps into his 5th month, he would be geared up for rolling, on his tummy. Once your little superstar starts with his first roll over, he would begin to move his legs and arms in different directions. It’s his first kick start to crawling. Very soon, you would find yourself running behind your kid from one corner to another.
How to start with tummy time?
In the first few weeks of your little munchkin’s birth, don’t force him on the floor, rather make him rest on your chest or tummy. If he tends to fall asleep, turn him on his back. In his 3rd or 4th week, you need to place a cushioned blanket or a tummy time mat on the floor and place your little one face down on his tummy. It would be tough for you to find him struggle for a while, but it will help him to develop his motor skills.
Try to engage your tiny toddler as much as you can by motivating him by lying near him and making different funny faces. You can also place bright attractive toys in front of him, which would grab his attention and would help him to move and lift his neck.
Important points to be kept in mind, while tummy time
There are few things to be kept in mind when giving your little one some tummy time:
1. It should always be carried out when your little one is awake, alert and happy.
2. Make sure your little bundle of joy is on a low, solid surface, in order to avoid the risk of rolling down from couch or bed.
3. Avoid forcing your baby into it when he’s hungry.
4. Gradually, build up the amount of time your child spends on his tummy.
5. Never leave your baby unattended.
6. Be careful of draughts and pets in the house.