The Importance of Tummy Time

The Importance of Tummy Time | Baby Chick

By Hindi Zeidman

Baby Chick® Guest Contributor

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Hindi Zeidman is a baby expert and founder of The Ollie Swaddle. She invented it for a baby boy named Oliver, her foster baby who wasn't thriving. The Ollie Swaddle helps ensure baby feels calm, peaceful and comforted so babies sleep better and longer. It's patented, luxuriously soft, moisture-wicking material speeds up moisture absorption and diffusion -- keeping baby comfortable and preventing overheating. The elasticity in the fabric offers baby freedom of movement, decreasing the possibility of hip dysplasia while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. And the soft, gentle colors of the new Ollie Nature Collection are designed to soothe and calm baby, promoting restful sleep! See The Ollie Collection here.

While your baby should always sleep on her back for safety, she also needs “tummy time” daily, beginning at birth. Initially, laying your little one on her tummy helps to strengthen her motor skills that include raising her head, rolling over, and eventually sitting up. But that’s not all. Tummy time will benefit your little one’s brain development as well. She will see her world from a different perspective, helping her to become more aware of her surroundings.

How long should tummy time last?

Pediatric recommendations range from 30-60 minutes of tummy time each day, whether it happens all at once or is spread throughout the day in smaller increments. By the time your little one is three months old, she should be getting at least 90 minutes of tummy time every day. Studies have shown that infants who get this amount of tummy time are quicker to reach milestones in the first years of life.

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At first, your little one will probably cry during tummy time because it will feel foreign. Start slow, letting your baby lay on her tummy for a few minutes at a time, building up for longer periods.

Tips for making tummy time fun!

1. Lounging on your chest/tummy.

Your newborn will want nothing more than to be held and cuddled. Try lounging back on the couch and letting your little one have tummy time on your torso and chest. Since your newborn can’t see very far from her face, this is the perfect introduction to tummy time.

2. Laying on the bed (with your supervision).

As you transition to tummy time on her own, try laying her on her tummy up high—like on your bed—where you can sit and interact with her. Since she can’t lift her head very far yet, this will help her be able to see more of her surroundings than she would on the floor. Of course if you do this, it is very important that you stay right beside her so she doesn’t wiggle off of the bed.

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3. On a play mat.

Once you’re ready to lay your little one on the floor for tummy time, try using a play mat with bright colors and toys to help peak her interest. If she is distracted and entertained, she will be less likely to fuss because she wants to be held or is uncomfortable. Remember that the idea of tummy time is to challenge her muscles and help her to gain independence.

4. Supported by a pillow.

Until she is able to hold her head up on her own, you may try propping her up on a pillow so that she can see more of what’s around her. A pillow will also help cushion her so that she is more comfortable than laying flat on a hard floor. However, keep in mind that sleep safety recommendations include removing fluffy pillows from the crib, so stay with your little one while she is laying on the pillow.

Remember, your little one is picking up on all of your cues and looking to you for encouragement. By interacting and staying positive even if she gets fussy, you are showing her that everything is okay.

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of Tummy Time

  1. Does laying on your chest count?? and my husband is so tall he able to have our LO lay on his lap??

    1. Hi, Katie! Yes, laying on your chest definitely counts as tummy time. As long as you are laying down and your LO is working his/her neck, arms and back muscles, that is good! Laying on your husband’s lap also works. Just make sure that the baby is well supported and monitored at that time. We don’t want baby to make any quick movements and end up on the floor! 😉

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