20 March 2023
Tummy time is good for your baby in several ways. It helps develop muscles, prevents flat spots developing on the head and allows for sensory stimulation. Many babies dislike the experience to begin with. It’s a new feeling for them and can feel a little uncomfortable. In fact, it can take a few months for your baby to come to enjoy tummy time. Once they do, though, there are many things for them to love about it.
Remember, your baby should always be fully supervised during tummy time and must never fall asleep when on their tummy.
Your baby will love it if you incorporate some sensory stimulation into tummy time. Try putting down a range of toys, books and safe objects for your child to interact with. You could drape fabric over your baby’s skin, place their hands in shallow water, put a safe mirror facing them or blow bubbles around them. Not only will they find these activities fun, but they might also help them forget the anxiety that being in the tummy time position can bring.
For your baby’s first few months, they’re on a rollercoaster of new experiences. It can unsettle them, but it can also be exciting. Being on the floor is a new adventure that they will grow to enjoy, as it allows them to spread out, try different body positions and get to know how their limbs work. By putting objects within reach, you can also foster their sense of independence as they slowly learn that they can interact with the world. As their vision improves, they will love seeing things from this new, exciting angle, too.
Tummy time is a wonderful chance for you and other family members to bond with your baby; you’re face to face in a completely new way. Initially, your baby won’t be very interactive, but as their muscles and vision develop, they’ll engage with you much more. It’s also a great chance for other family members, particularly children, to come close and interact with your baby. These close human encounters will help your baby to develop expressions and communication, and seeing others close by will help them feel safe during tummy time, too.
Though, as mentioned, babies might not initially find tummy time comforting on the whole, there are things about the new position that can be a welcome relief for them. Lying on their front, with pressure on the stomach, can often relieve trapped gas. It’s also a good position for giving them a little baby massage, and they can stretch out their arms and limbs to flex tight muscles.
A major benefit of tummy time is the way it builds strength. In fact, the strength that comes from tummy time is the gateway to many major milestones, including sitting, crawling and walking. As your baby becomes more mobile, their confidence will increase hugely. They’ll be able to follow their own impulses and realise their goals. They’ll love their newfound freedom and independence.