Physiotherapy for infants- the importance of tummy time for babies

Six steps to make tummy time easier for you and your baby

Tummy time is crucial for healthy child development. Think of it as your baby’s daily physical activity. It helps strengthen your child’s neck, back, core, and shoulder muscles. Tummy time also helps facilitate gross motor skills and prevent positional plagiocephaly (flat spots on your baby’s head). As important as it is, sometimes babies don’t like it which makes it hard on parents. Here are some ways to help make tummy time a little bit easier:

  • Start early

No baby is too small or too young for tummy time*. The earlier you start, the easier it is for your child to become comfortable on their tummy.

  • A little goes a long way

 Start for a few minutes at a time and scatter it throughout the day. Then gradually increase. Try to accumulate 30 to 60 minutes of supervised tummy time per day.

  • Add it to your routine

 Do a few minutes of tummy time after a diaper change or after a bath.

  • Be engaging

Make tummy time a fun and memorable experience. You can sing to your child or get down onto the floor with them. When your baby starts to lift their head, place mirrors, toys, and pictures around your child to further encourage them to lift and turn their head and to eventually reach with their arms.

  • Switch it up

Tummy time does not always have to be done on a blanket or a play mat on the floor. You can lay your child on your chest for some extra cuddling or you can lay them across your lap. When your child has good head control, you can even soar them through the air like an airplane by supporting them through their trunk.

  • Help your baby

If you find your baby is having difficulties with tummy time, try placing a rolled-up towel or small pillow underneath their chest. This will help provide some extra support.
*Unless your family doctor or pediatrician has restricted this position for medical reasons.
Winta Desta
Registered Physiotherapist

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