News and information on tummy time and other infant development topics
Tummy time, infant development and nutrition are my passions. One of my goals it to help every baby I see develop core strength and gross motor skills early in life. I know that babies who start tummy time early have better cognitive development and are less likely to suffer from flat back of the head and torticollis. They are also more likely to crawl and sit on time. I often will show new moms how to start tummy time when they are still in the hospital with their brand new baby. This gives new moms the skills they need to continue tummy time at home. I developed the Well Baby tummy time mat so that babies and moms can enjoy tummy time. It just takes a few minutes several times a day to make a difference.
Here are some tips on how to do tummy time with your baby:
Place your baby on his tummy on a mat that provides minimal support. A mat that has too many gadgets, bells and whistles can be distracting to the baby. Mats that also have a large bolster will provide too much support and your baby will not be able to develop his core strength. The tummy time mat should always be placed on the floor. It should never be used on couches, counters or elevated surfaces.
Bring your babies elbows in front of his shoulders so that he can prop himself up in what I call the tummy time tripod. Your baby will not enjoy tummy time if his arms are at his side and he is in what I call the "swimming position."
When your babies arms are extended in front, he can use his fingers to grasp and reach. This helps with fine motor development.
Place a mirror or toy in front of your baby so that he is interested in keeping those arms forward. You can also get down on the floor and face your baby. He will be distracted and happy as he is working on his core strength.
If your baby keeps raising his backside you can place your hand gently on his backside. This helps support his core, and he is less likely to drop his head to the mat. By "spotting" him this way, your tummy time session will last longer, and he will be happier.
If your baby starts to fuss, pick him up, calm him down, and then put him back on his tummy.
The following links have great information and tips for parents. I hope you find them useful.
- Lisa Dana, M.D.