Doctors frequently remind parents about the importance of tummy time, yet parents overwhelmingly report their babies do not want to do it! Here’s how to help baby enjoy tummy time:
Doctors frequently remind parents about the importance of tummy time at routine check-ups, yet parents overwhelmingly report that their babies do not want to do it. With slight but important adjustments to baby’s position, infants can be comfortable and have productive play and exercise.
According to Terri Lee Weatherholtz, M.A, CCC-SLP, CDA, the time an infant is awake on the floor should consist of 50% back and 50% tummy time and should begin in moderation when baby is roughly about three weeks old. Our YouTube video describes a gentle way to help baby build up a tolerance for tummy time but the steps are also here:
- Roll a thin baby blanket long ways (no more than 3-4 inches thick)
- Place it on the floor
- Place your baby, tummy down, on the blanket so that his arms are out in front of him on one side of the blanket. His chest (nipple level) should be resting on the blanket with the sides of the blanket under his arms. Makes sure his neck is not on the blanket! This little lift redistributes his weight backwards off his tummy and makes tummy time a little more comfortable. You want his arms out front bearing weight.
- With an open hand stroke firmly from the back of their head all the way down to their tush to stimulate the muscle that helps them raise their head!
- Get down on the floor for some face to face time and encourage head lifting with smiles and talking!
Another wonderful way to help tummy time be a fun activity is for you to lay on your back with baby on your chest so you are face to face. With a gentle hold on baby for safety of course, baby will be motivated to look “up” at your face.
It’s perfectly fine if tummy time only lasts 5 minutes or less some days. Continuing these tummy time routines a few times a day for longer and longer periods though help your baby equate “tummy time” with a happy, social time.