The importance of tummy time for newborn babies
Tummy time is really important for newborn babies, not only does it help to strengthen their neck, back and shoulder muscles it helps with motor control. Most of the time our babies are lying on their back, while they are sleeping, playing, in bouncers or carseats, so tummy time is a very different sensation for them so it is no surprise that most babies can be fussy about being on their tummies.
It is really important to do it through from birth and even just for a minute or so at at time building up time gently. Make sure your baby is not hungry or tired when you do it and it really isn’t a great idea to do it straight after a feed as placing your baby on a full tummy can be uncomfortable.
We have a few ideas for making tummy time enjoyable –
- prop your baby up using a rolled up towel or a nursing pillow, this position can help them raise their head to look up.
- Get down on the floor beside your little one, provide eye contact, conversation and encouragement. Make it funny.
- Put a toy down, give your little one something interesting to look at and spend a little time playing
- Incorporate a little massage with your baby on your lap, rubbing your little ones back while they are on their tummy can be relaxing and your little one will enjoy the contact with you.
- Remember tummy time can be lying on you, you can do tummy time at the same time as skin to skin.
If they get upset, encourage and support them, lift them and cuddle them, and try it again later. Little and often really does build up their tolerance and in a matter of weeks you’ll be noticing differences in their head control and the strength in their shoulders and neck.