Fair   43.0F  |  Forecast »

How to Get Your Infant to Enjoy Tummy Time – Tips and Techniques

Spending time on their tummies during the day is crucial for your little one's health and development. Here are some easy tips to get started.

If you recently had a baby, you've probably heard your share of infant-care dos and don'ts. You know how important it is to place baby on her back for sleeping – but giving her tummy time each day is just as important for health and development. Got a squirmer or a screamer? These tips and techniques can help guide your family toward belly bliss.

Play with purpose

"Tummy time is recommended while children are awake, and on their stomach with a parent present," says Carolynn Rowland, Ph.D., director for the Detroit Healthy Start project. "It gives babies an opportunity to develop their upper chest, arms and neck."

This muscle building teaches tykes to lift their heads and support themselves, which may help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Spending time on their bellies during waking hours helps reduce flat spots on the head, too, and leads to important milestones, such as rolling over, sitting and crawling.

Time it right

Most babies should spend roughly three to five minutes on their bellies two to three times a day once home from the hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes. If you're still adjusting to life with baby, start when you are both ready and comfortable, preferably within four weeks of baby's birth, says Rowland.

Gradually increase the amount of tummy time as your baby grows and shows more interest. Plan sessions after naps or diaper changes when baby is alert and happy. Avoid post-meal time though: Little ones with full bellies are likely to be uncomfortable and can get sick.

If your child becomes very upset, it's OK to pick him up and soothe him. A little tummy time is better than none. Just make sure you try again later.

Rules of engagement

Parents should place baby on a safe, solid surface for tummy time – not the couch or an easy chair, Rowland advises. This is the best way to avoid falls and give your baby a chance to practice her pushups. Try and make it fun! If your baby is fond of a certain rattle, teething ring or lovey, place it within her reach starting out, and let her enjoy playing. Make sure the toys you use are age-appropriate, and watch for choking hazards, Rowland cautions.

It's the perfect opportunity to play together undistracted. Try a game of patty-cake or peekaboo and see how she responds. If she's still uneasy, turn on some soothing music to relax her. Remember to be loving and supportive, and you'll be on your way to tummy time triumph.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Teal Pumpkins Raise Food Allergy Awareness on Halloween

Teal Pumpkins Raise Food Allergy Awareness on Halloween

Kids allergic to nuts, milk and more can look for pumpkins painted blue-green to find homes giving safe, non-edible treats, thanks to The Teal Pumpkin Project.

Pumpkin Jars, Plates and Juice Box Cover Halloween Crafts

Pumpkin Jars, Plates and Juice Box Cover Halloween Crafts

So simple they're scary! Check out these three orange DIY projects in time for fright night – plus a cool Frankenstein handprint craft for good measure.

Roperti's Turkey Farm Sells Wild Turkeys for Thanksgiving

Roperti's Turkey Farm Sells Wild Turkeys for Thanksgiving

This Livonia landmark offers an alternative to the grocery store, selling 4,000 turkeys in just four days. Peek at our chat with the 'turkey lady'.

Holiday Baby Survival Guide

Holiday Baby Survival Guide

Does your due date correspond with the holiday season? Here are some wise ways to enjoy the season with your newborn – and avoid unnecessary stress.

Parents Use Online Rating Sites to Choose Doctors, Study Finds

Parents Use Online Rating Sites to Choose Doctors, Study Finds

Parents are using online ratings to pick a pediatrician for their child. But are these sites fair and accurate?

10 Ways to Ban the Word 'Bossy'

10 Ways to Ban the Word 'Bossy'

Avoid using this label and be more conscious of what you call your daughter. We've got some ways to help you ban this word from your vocabulary!

How Labels Are Actually Holding Girls Back

How Labels Are Actually Holding Girls Back

Whether you're calling her 'bossy,' 'princess' or 'tomboy,' the words you use to describe your daughter could impact her more than you realize. Here's why.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement