Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tips for a Relaxed and Fun Tummy Time

I’ve got a lot of ideas for kindergarten activities. Unfortunately, some take a looong time to craft and write about. On top of that, I’ve been sick and E. has been keeping me busy. I hope that I’ll have some free time soon, but I have to admit that I really love being silly with her and enjoying our lazy mornings together.

That’s why today I’m going to quickly talk about tummy time and leave the other ideas for a different day. Maybe these tips will help your babies. E. hates tummy time even now, after four months of practising…but at least now she tolerates it and has made visible progress. Some babies just don’t like spending time on their tummies, but I kind of understand it: they can see so much more when they’re carried or relaxing on their backs.

Let’s start with the basics of tummy time:

Why is tummy time important?

Because it helps your baby build back, abdominal, arm, and neck muscles. This, in turn, will help her crawl, sit, track objects, and even walk later on.

When can you start?

Well, the sooner you start, the better. You can place your baby on her tummy as soon as you get home from the hospital.

Where can you do it?

I suggest linking tummy time with a daily routine, because that way you won’t forget to do it often enough. For example, after every nappy change or after waking up from a nap. Try not to do it right after a feeding, because the baby might have a hard time exercising on a full stomach. J

How long should tummy time last?

Of course, some babies are fine and relaxed from the very beginning when placed on their tummies, so you can let them spend as much time as they like there. However, some might dread that moment. The main thing is to make it fun and enjoyable for them! Most of the resources I’ve read say that tummy time should be 30 min/day by 3 months, but you should just see what your baby needs.

What will you need for tummy time?

  • hard mattress or surface (the changing pad might be a great place for this)
  • a blanket or muslin cloth – optional, but I recommend it if you want to protect the bed or couch from all that baby drool
  • some toys that your baby likes, especially brightly coloured ones or toys that make noise (rattles, bells, rain sticks, etc.)
  • a positive attitude – it might take a long time until your baby feels comfortable on her tummy, so don't get discouraged

Tips on how to make tummy time more fun:

  • use a Pilates ball with a blanket over it (with caution!) – place the baby on the blanket and slowly move the ball from side to side and back to front. This raises their awareness of the position of their bodies (proprioception sense).
  • if your baby is having a hard time supporting her chest on her arms, use a rolled-up towel or blanket under it. This takes some of the weight off her arms.
  • place toys or yourself at eye level, so your baby has a reason to lift her head. Moving the toys or your face from side to side will help her sight develop.
  • as I mentioned above, have tummy time on a hard surface, so your baby can lift herself by pushing on it. However, avoid very hard surfaces, in case the baby drops her head. 

If your baby hates being on her tummy, use these alternatives:

  • sit down and then place your baby on your thighs (perpendicular). It helps if you place the baby on your lap with one of your legs higher, to elevate her chest
  • lie down with your head slightly elevated, then place the baby on tour tummy. Chat, sing songs, and make funny faces to make things more fun.
  • whenever you carry your baby, use a tummy-down hold – this worked well with E. during the first two months, when she refused to be placed on her tummy.
I think that’s about it. If you have any tips, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by!

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