Tummy Time

Tania Vanderbilt
By: Tania Vanderbilt, PA-C

“Frustration is the key to milestones”

I know I’ve read that somewhere when my youngest was a newborn and it’s the first thing that comes out of my mouth when addressing tummy time during well visits.  Every now and then, you may hear that a child enjoys tummy time but more often than not, newborns and infants strongly dislike time spent on their tummy. No matter what your child’s disposition is on the topic, tummy time is quite important in a young one’s development and is definitely worth the small moments of angst.

Why is Tummy Time Beneficial?
  • Tummy time serves as a precursor to helping your child meet other gross motor developmental milestones.
  • Can prevent a positional flat head—helping both you and your child avoid days with a helmet.
  • Enables your baby to lift their head up in case they accidentally roll over and find  themselves face planted—while sleeping or otherwise.
  • A baby needs time to work on their neck, chest, back and arm muscles. Think of tummy time as literal exercise for your child in which they gain the strength needed to hold their head up, lift their chest up, and eventually roll over and sit up.
Tummy Time 101

All on board for tummy time but have a few questions? Here’s the most common one’s we get in our office answered…

When should I start tummy time with my newborn?

The recommended age for babies to start tummy time is actually as soon as you get home from the hospital. It’s never too early to start a few small segments of tummy time for your little one.

How much tummy time should my baby get?

Babies initially don’t tolerate long periods of tummy time, however, if you can get 3-5 minutes during your baby’s wake windows (periods when child is awake and alert), you’re doing great!  If your child falls asleep on their tummy, roll them back onto his back— always remember “back to sleep, tummy to play.”

What if my baby is not tummy time’s biggest fan?

As stated previously, it’s pretty common for infants to fuss through tummy time. It’s uncomfortable and unknown so don’t stress if the activity is not your child’s favorite thing in the world.

If your child hates tummy time, try and make it fun.  Entice your baby with some of their favorite toys, get at your child’s level and embark in some tummy time of your own, sing to them, hold up a small mirror…anything to keep them engaged.  If they fuss for a minute or two, it is okay.  Think of this as the first of many times in parenting when you help your child do something that benefits their quality of life that they despise.

What should I place my baby on for tummy time?

Ensuring your child is on a firm FLAT surface is important. You can lay a tummy time mat down or honestly a blanket/towel will do just fine. ***Please remember to never leave your baby unattended during their tummy time.***

Until next time,

Tania Vanderbilt

Parkside Provider, enthusiastic hiker, and proud boy mom

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