How to make tummy-time enjoyable

It is important that a baby is put to sleep on their back, as babies spend a lot of time on their back in the first year sleeping, then it is advised that babies should experience tummy-time during the day when they play. Tummy-time is just as important as it will greatly improve a baby’s physical development, whilst allowing baby to perceive the world from a different perspective. Tummy-time strengthens the upper body, neck and arm muscles, which prepare baby for pushing up, rolling over and crawling, which are the next stages in their physical development. Tummy-time also improves coordination, balance and head control.

Introducing tummy-time

Tummy-time should be introduced once your baby is able to lift their head at approximately one to two months of age. To begin with, lay your baby on their tummy for a couple of minutes at a time to allow baby to get used to the new position; you can gradually increase the amount of time as her upper body strengthens. Choose a time when your baby is alert and playful, leaving enough time after a feed so her tummy is not full. Initially, baby may not be too pleased being placed on her tummy as this is a new position and she needs to improve and strengthen her upper body to be able to enjoy this position a bit more. You can try to encourage tummy-time and make it more fun in different ways to increase the time spent on her tummy.

Tummy-time

To begin with, you can lay baby on your chest to talk, sing and play with your baby. Then you can lay baby on the floor on a mat, get down to baby’s level and lay face to face so you can talk and sing to her, this way she won’t feel abandoned. Once your baby is happy on their tummy, you can provide opportunities to make it more fun and stimulating for her. There are also plenty of play mats and gyms that offer various activities for a baby; however, a soft colorful blanket and a few toys will be just as beneficial, as your baby will have just as much fun with your attention and company while you play and talk to your baby.

Making tummy-time fun

Set out some toys in front of baby within reach, this will spark her curiosity and eventually baby will reach out for them. Once baby has grabbed a toy, she will be delighted and have a feeling of accomplishment. You can encourage your baby to lift her head by holding toys just above them, such as rattles, you can gently shake the rattle whilst moving it from side to side and your baby will follow the sound, and will eventually lift their head to look for the rattle. Babies love to see their reflection in a mirror, placing a mirror in front of baby will increase tummy-time as they will happily admire themselves for long periods of time. Placing interesting objects or toys in front of baby will give her something to focus on and she will soon be reaching out for it, once she is able to reach the toys you can move them back a little to encourage her to move forward for them.

As long as you provide baby with a stimulating environment and have different objects and toys for them to look at, then she will be more interested in playing on her tummy. It can take baby a little while to adjust to the new position, so don’t worry too much if she is fussy and seems to get a little upset at first. Encouraging tummy-time is vital to her development, so always keep it fun. Once your baby has had enough, then pick her back up and then go back to tummy-time later. Once she is used to the new position and she starts becoming more active, then she will enjoy the benefits of tummy-time.