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The Importance of Tummy Time

The Importance of Tummy Time

When your baby is lying on her stomach, she is able to practice lifting her head, preparing to be able to explore her world on her own.  Tummy time is important because it allows babies to strengthen their back, neck, arms and legs.  Strengthening these body parts, in turn, helps with development of rolling over and sitting.  Tummy time also helps your baby prevent developing a flat spot on the back of her head.

Tummy time has become so important because of the Back to Sleep campaign.  Parents are instructed to put their child to sleep on her back to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  Also there has been an increased use of swings and bouncy seats which keep the baby in a semi-reclined position with her head usually against the back of the seat. 

Babies may not enjoy tummy time at first because they are not used to it, but they will gradually get more comfortable as their stomach muscles strengthen.  After all, it is a workout to keep that little head up. 

Parents can start trying tummy time when their baby is 2 weeks old for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  If your baby cries, you can stop and try again later.  By 2 months of age, a baby can have tummy time from 3-5 minutes daily.  As your baby gets older, you can increase tummy time to the optimum 15 minutes or longer a day.  Once your baby begins to roll over she usually does not need structured tummy time and will spend enough time on her tummy on her own. 

Parents can help make tummy time fun by getting down where you baby can see you and talk, sing, etc. to her.  Use a toy or a mirror to help make tummy time more fun.  Having a special toy only used during tummy time can also be very motivating.  You can help your baby reach for toys more easily by placing a rolled up towel under her armpits for a little support. 

Parent may find that tummy time can become an important and looked-forward-to daily activity to have fun and help your baby all at the same time.

 

 


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