Monday, October 11, 2010

Tummy Time

Hello hello hello??? Is anyone out there there there?

 It's been a while... but we're back.Well, I am at least! A lot has happened since that hospital bag got unpacked, which brings me to todays topic:

Tummy Time!

Tummy time is key to help baby reach physical milestones such as rolling over, crawling and eventually walking. Including tummy time in your little one's routine, whether or not it's a structured activity, is beneficial for many areas of development.

I remember with my first, he hated being on his tummy. He would only stay for a few short minutes until he started complaining. He learned how to roll over soon, but probably in an effort to get off his tummy. On the other hand, my girls love being on their tummy - notice the picture!? 

Introduce your baby to tummy time around the 3- to 4-month mark. At this point, she has better neck strength and control, so she's able to lift and turn her head while lying down. Although, some babies have enough strength as early as 2 months and if that is the case - by all means get them on their tummies! 

Start by placing her on a blanket on the floor and giving her several five- to ten-minute sessions each day. By about 4 months, your baby should be able to lift her chest off the floor and lean on her elbows with her head upright. She may even be able to lift her arms off the floor, arch her back, and kick her feet. As your baby stretches and pushes on the floor, she may accidentally lean to one side, fall over, and roll from her belly onto her back. Don't worry; that's normal. At 5 or 6 months, she will begin to pivot on her belly and use her arms to reach in front of her or to the sides.

Besides the physical benefits of tummy time, giving your infant playtime on his belly will minimize any flat spots on his head he may have gotten from back sleeping. There are also psychological pluses: When your baby learns to make his body do new things, he feels a sense of accomplishment. This gives him the confidence to try new skills as he grows and his coordination improves.

"Make tummy time part of regular play, not a chore," Dr. Shapiro suggests. Supervise your baby's activities -- never leave an infant unattended on her belly. And, of course, continue to put her to sleep on her back.
  • Start early. Place your newborn belly-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes so he gets accustomed to the position. Just don't do it right after a feeding; pressure on his full abdomen may cause him to spit up.
  • Think comfort. Lay your little one down on a flat, clean surface, such as a blanket or play mat on the floor. If she squirms or cries, try some extra padding. Roll up a small receiving blanket and tuck it under her chest.
  • Go head to head. Lie down on the floor and get face-to-face with your infant. Make goofy noises and expressions, or sing songs. You might feel silly, but your infant will be less likely to fight being on his belly.
  • Give her distractions. Hold a mirror in front of your baby to capture her attention. Or place brightly colored stuffed animals just within her reach. There are also plenty of tummy-time toys that can keep your baby from getting bored.
  • Get others in on the act. Encourage friends, relatives, and your child's caregivers to get down on the floor for short periods of tummy time with him as well.

So what are your views on Tummy Time? What worked and what didn't? Share your experiences!


Aline Carson said...

That's how my daughter was, she HATED being on her stomach! And I never thought about the fact that she could've been really uncomfortable, to give her some extra padding underneath. But with my second, I really don't remember if liked it or not, I think he did since I really cannot remember. It's just like with the jumper, I bought it for my daughter and she hated it, but then my second one loved it. So it depends on the child. But with tummy time we just need to make sure we remember to do it everyday, several times a day.
And by the way, that picture is soooo adorable!!

Liesl said...

Great tips! None of my kids liked tummy time. My doc. told me that holding them facing out, so they have to hold up their head was just as good; so I went with that method with my third baby. She turned out super strong, crawling at 7 mo., walking at 9 mo. I wish I had thought about extra padding underneath; I bet that would have made a difference!