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Shortly after your baby is born and you make those many first visits to the pediatrician, they immediately start talking to you about tummy time.
Tummy time is putting your baby down on their stomach so that they can work on their neck muscles. This enables them to start to be able to hold their head up on their own.
When Should Tummy Time Be Introduced?
When babies are first born, their neck muscles are very weak. They need help supporting their head. Over time, those muscles start to get stronger and they are able to hold their head on their own. Tummy time is one of the main ways to help your baby get stronger.
Tummy time should be introduced very shortly after your newborn is born. Their neck muscles are weak and tummy time makes them stronger.
The more often you work with them, the sooner their muscles grown stronger.
Another thing to note is tummy time does not have to be for a designated length of time or for a long time. Any time spent on their tummies help babies to strengthen their neck muscles.
So you know tummy time is important, but how do you help them out instead of just putting them down on the ground on their belly and watching them look right down at the ground?
A lot of babies do not like tummy time at all, especially at first. This is because they are just looking down at the ground. And who wants to do that!
Here are some tips and activities you can do with your baby to help make tummy time a little easier and hopefully more enjoyable!
Tummy Time at Their Level
Get down to eye level when they are on the floor. Put your baby down on the carpet or a blanket on their bellies. Then make sure there is enough room for you to lay on your belly so you are facing them.
Having you close can help ease some of their anxious feelings. You can talk to them, encourage them or even sing a song or two. Try to get them to look up at you or move your head so they can see you.
Tummy Time on an Activity Mat
Another way to help with tummy time is to find something that interests your baby. A great resource for this is an activity mat! There are all different kinds that are good for when they are on their back or on their bellies.
The best ones have some things on the mat for the baby to play with – like maybe a rattle or some material that has a different feeling. Something to take their mind of being on their bellies.
Tummy Time with a Prop
Use something to prop the baby up. Sometimes laying flat down on the ground can be scary for a baby. Finding something to prop your baby up on can make it a little less scary because they can see a little more and aren’t staring at the floor.
One option is to prop a pillow up under them. You can fold it in half and sit near by so they do not accidentally roll off. But if you put the pillow under their arms, they can see a little better, yet are still working on those neck muscles.
They also make a round, cylinder pillow made specifically for this purpose. They have fun items attached to the pillow to play with that helps distract them and keep the baby occupied.
Tummy Time with a Mirror
Use a mirror. Babies love to see themselves! They are fascinated by mirrors and looking to see their reflections. Using a mirror during tummy time is a great way to keep your baby occupied and not thinking about being on their belly.
Tummy time can be stressful for everyone involved. These tips and activities should make it a little easier as you help your little one get stronger!
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