“Don’t forget about Tummy Time!” my nurse called out to me as my husband I left the hospital with our 3 day old son. “Oh, yes, yes, of course,” I confidently yelled back. Then I looked at my husband and asked “What the heck is tummy time?”
To save you time on Google and to save you the obnoxious knowing giggle I got when I asked moms in the know, I am sharing what I know about tummy time. We also have a previous post which can be viewed here and highlights quick pointers on tummy time, naps and bedtime.
Back in the 90’s researchers started spreading the word that it was much safer to place a baby on his/her back for sleep. This practice dramatically reduces the risk of SIDS. This was very good! The only problem is that all this back sleeping sometimes causes a condition known as Plagiocephaly, or as I like to call it “flat head syndrome.” This was not good.
Tummy Time is the answer to that problem!
Tummy time is exactly what it sounds like – a few moments a day when your baby is placed on his/her tummy for play. I confess that the first time I put my baby on his tummy and watched him wiggle around like a fish out of water I thought to myself, “How is this good?” I was assured, however that tummy time is an extremely important and beneficial element to a newborn’s development. It helps build neck strength, challenges muscles he wouldn’t otherwise use and helps pop out that pesky flat head! Here are a few guidelines to remember!
- ALWAYS supervise tummy time. Can’t stress this enough. Never leave baby alone while on his/her tummy.
- Always place baby on a smooth, flat surface. We advise a blanket on the floor, so as to not have a surface they can fall off of. This works better than a bed or a couch. Make certain to keep the area free from toys or stuffed animals.
- Tummy time can start as early as the first few weeks of life but start off slow; maybe a half a minute to a minute then gradually increase time as the child gets older.
- If baby is fussy, change the activity. You don’t want tummy time to be associated with something negative. Come back to it when he is in a better mood.
- Have fun! Get down on the floor with baby and give encouraging words as he lifts his head up!