What exactly is tummy time?
Tummy time is either:
- Supervised time when your child is laying on a firm flat surface on her tummy.
- When your child is being in a position where she is face down and has to lift her head up against gravity.
Why does my child need tummy time? Why is it so important?
- Studies have shown a link between slowed achievement of developmental milestones and diminished tummy time in babies.
- Tummy time builds the muscles in your child that are necessary for advanced movements like crawling, walking and (gulp) running.
My child always cries during tummy time, what should I do?
- Lay on the floor with your child. Babies are often frustrated because they have less ability to interact with the world when they are lying on their tummies, and if they can see your face (and your smile), they may calm down. You may also utilize mirrors or toys to distract them when they get frustrated.
- Try a “tummy time alternative.” This can be carrying your child face down in a “superman” position or sit with them supporting her trunk and tilt her forward so her shoulders are in front of her hips.
- As your child gets stronger (and more able to lift her head and play with toys in this position) she will enjoy tummy time more and more.
What can happen if I don’t give my child tummy time?
- If the child is always on their back, it increases the risk of flattening portions of their head, and if they do not move their heads around in all directions, it increases their risk of developing torticollis.
- There may be slowed attainment of developmental milestones such as independent sitting, crawling, and walking.
How much tummy time should my child be getting?
- The goal is that by 6 months of age, your child should be on their tummy 50% of her play time (not including feeding time, bath time, or sleeping time). Remember that this is a goal to work towards and not to be expected the first day you introduce tummy time.
How old should my child be before I begin tummy time?
- You may introduce tummy time on day 1, as long as there are no medical complications whereby your pediatrician would recommend avoiding tummy time.
***Most importantly, babies should always be placed to sleep on their back, and supervised when on their tummy***