Alright we understand… it’s not the easiest activity to do with your baby. It’s especially not easy if your little one has difficulties with maintaining this position independently. However, it is certainly a very important posture to promote motor skills and sensory development.
Tummy Time is the period during the day your baby spends awake and on their stomach. It is a crucial exercise for baby’s visual, motor, and sensory development. (pathways). Tummy time is considered a safe form of physical activity for infants < 6 months of age.
When should you start tummy time? ASAP! The Academy of Occupational Therapy recommends that parents and caregivers initiate tummy time as soon as their baby leaves the hospital. They recommend starting with bouts of 3-5 minutes during AWAKE times and as your baby develops, you should increase the length of time spent on their tummy. By age 3 months, infants should be able to tolerate 60 minutes of tummy time daily. DON’T WORRY, the 60 minutes can be cumulative throughout the day, so take a deep breath!
So… you’ve heard before that it’s important, but WHY is it important?
Tummy time positioning and play encourages the development of the core muscles of the neck, back, and shoulders. This position helps a child meet developmental milestones and increased tummy time can help prevent early motor delays and conditions, such as flat headedness (plagiocephaly) and twisted neck (torticollis). The muscles that your baby strengthens while on their tummies helps them be able to roll, sit, and crawl.
Sometimes being directly on their tummy is very hard for your baby to do for longer periods of time, so try these recommendations below to help strengthen your baby’s muscles to help them reach their milestones.
Here are some Tummy Time positions to try with baby:
- Tummy to Tummy/Chest
- Tummy Down Carry (or Football Hold)
- Lap Soothe
- Eye Level Smile
The end goal is for your baby to do Tummy Time independently. If you are wondering what your baby should look like during tummy time at a specific age, check out the free video by pathways.org to ensure your little one is properly positioning during their active tummy time play: https://pathways.org/video-search/?age=&topic=26&query=
If you have concerned about your baby’s difficulties tolerating tummy time or any delay in reaching tummy time milestones, you should talk to your pediatrician and potentially discuss therapy recommendations. Schedule your free screening with Triumph Pediatric Center today to learn more!
- Hewitt, L., Kerr, E., Stanley, R. M., & Okely, A. D. (2020). Tummy Time and Infant Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics, 145(6).