What is tummy time and why is it so important?
‘Tummy time is when your baby lays on his (or) her stomach while supervised’. Tummy time’ is so important for babies from such a young age because it helps them to build those all-important core muscles! Tummy time also helps children to avoid having a flat back of the head & stops little one developing S curves in his or her neck as well the dreaded C shape in the spine/lower back.
Children are more likely to develop this bendy physic due to lack of time on their tummy from a young age and over using baby containers such as bouncy seats, swings, car chairs & carriers. Children can actually be put off developing and prevent them from getting on hands and beginning to crawl at the expected age as their muscles simply haven’t developed yet!
How to help your child to have enjoy ‘Tummy Time’
Tummy time doesn’t need to be on the floor, it can be the child laying on the caregiver’s chest, supported over their lap or bent knees, or on a nursing pillow for younger babies.
Don’t be surprised if your baby fusses or simply lays his head down at first, the purpose of tummy time is for baby to develop skills to lift their head and strengthen core muscles. ‘Many babies don’t enjoy tummy time at first, but, gradually they learn to get comfortable on their stomach and they start to build up strength.
When your infant is around 2 months old, aim for three 5-minute sessions daily on a flat, cushioned surface, like a playmat on the floor.
By 3 or 4 months, your baby should be able to lift his chest off the floor and lean on his elbows with his head upright. He/she may even be able to lift his arms off the floor, arch his back, and kick his feet.
To help keep your little one engaged and distracted, feel free to put some toys in a small circle around him/her. As the child reaches out for different toys, strength will be developed and they may even learn skills such as rolling over, scooting around and eventually crawling.
As your baby grows, strive for a minimum of 15 minutes of tummy time per day. Once your child is rolling over and independently spending time on his stomach, usually by 6 months old, you can stop dedicated tummy time.
If you are worried about your babies physical development and they may have S or C shaped bones, please do encourage ‘tummy time’ to build core muscles in our children. If you are still worried, please do seek professional advice for your little one.