It’s never too early to start practicing tummy time with your baby. Tummy time is important because of its impact on your baby’s development. Babies are born lacking neck strength and when you place them on their tummies they have to lift up their heads to see their surroundings. Since this doesn’t come naturally to babies, they can be a bit fussy when you first start tummy time so it’s a good idea to introduce it slowly and try to make it as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips you can follow to make tummy time a little bit easier:
1. Put baby in your lap
Just for a few minutes each day you can lay your baby on his or her tummy across your lap to start the exercise. Once your baby grows stronger, place your baby tummy down on a blanket on the floor after a diaper change or nap. Arrange favorite toys within his or her reach. Once baby starts getting used to tummy time you can increase the period of time you keep baby on his or her stomach.
2. Join your baby
Once your baby is practicing tummy time on the floor, get down to his level so mommy is right there beside him. You can lie down opposite your baby facing him so he does not have to move too much to see you. Then try singing songs or playing peekaboo to hold his attention and keep him entertained while on his tummy.
3. Use an exercise ball
If you have an exercise ball around the house, now is a great time to use it to make tummy time more enjoyable. You can place baby tummy down on the exercise ball and start to gently roll him back and forth – he will love the rocking motion! If you change the angle at which baby is on the ball you can make the experience more challenging or more comfortable.
4. Go at baby’s pace
Since tummy time isn’t always baby’s favorite thing, you should take cues from your baby and move at his pace. It’s recommended to practice tummy time for 30 minutes a day but it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes straight. You can start by putting baby on your lap for a few minutes in the morning, then moving to the floor for a few minutes in the afternoon, and then doing another session a little bit later. If your baby starts getting too fussy it’s ok to stop and move onto a different activity.
5. Play airplane
Kids love to play “airplane” with their parents but you probably didn’t know that it’s a good tummy time exercise too! You should wait until baby is around 4 months old and has sufficient head control to play this one. All you need to do is lie on your back and bend your legs and place baby tummy down on your legs as you hold him firmly. Fair warning: baby will want to do this again and again!
Written by Tori Levine, mom and founder of Babies at the Barre™, a unique mommy & me exercise class and mom group / community all in one! Meet other moms via in-person or online classes all while wearing your baby. Learn more about our low impact, effective mommy & me exercise classes here.
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