Newborn lying on mothers stomach
newborns

baby tummy time: what is it, why it’s important and when to start

2 minutes

‘Tummy time’ means giving your baby supervised time laying on their front to help them develop important skills and muscles. It’s great for bonding time between parents and baby too.

Why is tummy time important?

The NHS advise that babies spend the majority of their time on their back, which can lead to flat head syndrome. Tummy time can help prevent this, while also helping develop the muscles babies need for sitting and crawling (source - NHS).

How to do tummy time

Tummy time is simple, fun and can easily be slotted into the day, so follow these tips and you’ll be helping your baby to build up their upper body strength in no time.

  1. Start tummy time as soon after birth as possible. Just little and often is best (3-5 minute sessions two to three times a day), then gradually work your way up to 40-60 minutes daily.

  2. Make sure your baby is alert and doesn’t need feeding or changing, so they’re in the best mood to enjoy it.

  3. When your baby is a newborn, lie them on their front on your tummy (a great opportunity for skin-to-skin time) or across your lap. Of course make sure you are wide awake and unlikely to nod off!

  4. As your baby grows bigger, you can start doing tummy time on the floor, on a comfortable mat - if they need a little extra support at first, roll up a towel to put under their armpits.

  5. Lie beside them and keep them entertained with talking, singing, reading a book and showing them their reflection in a mirror, or putting safe toys around for them to look at and reach for.

Sometimes babies get restless during tummy time - try not to force it and just progress at their pace. If you do have any concerns, contact a healthcare professional.

Resources:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk

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