When should you start tummy time?

Tummy time is an essential activity for infants that involves placing them on their stomachs while they are awake and supervised. This simple activity has numerous benefits for a baby’s physical and cognitive development. However, many parents are unsure about when they should start tummy time and how often it should be done. In this article, we will discuss the importance of tummy time and provide guidance on when and how to start this activity with your baby.

Why is tummy time important?

Tummy time is crucial for a baby’s development as it helps strengthen their neck, back, and shoulder muscles. It also helps to prevent flat spots on the back of the head, which can occur if a baby spends too much time lying on their back. Additionally, tummy time allows babies to practice and develop their motor skills, such as rolling over, crawling, and eventually sitting up and standing.

Tummy time also has cognitive benefits for babies. When placed on their stomachs, babies are encouraged to lift their heads and look around, which helps to develop their visual tracking skills. It also provides them with a different perspective of their surroundings, which can stimulate their curiosity and exploration.

When should you start tummy time?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), tummy time should start from the first day home from the hospital. This means that tummy time can be started as early as the first week of a baby’s life. However, it is essential to keep in mind that newborns have very little head control and may not be able to lift their heads for more than a few seconds. Therefore, tummy time sessions should be short and frequent, gradually increasing in duration as the baby grows and develops.

How often should you do tummy time?

The AAP recommends that babies should have at least 30 minutes of tummy time per day, starting from the first week of life. This can be broken down into short sessions of 3-5 minutes, several times a day. As the baby grows and becomes more comfortable with tummy time, the duration can be increased to 10-15 minutes per session.

It is essential to note that tummy time should always be supervised, and the baby should be placed on a firm, flat surface, such as a play mat or a blanket on the floor. It is not recommended to place a baby on their stomach on a soft surface, such as a bed or a couch, as this can increase the risk of suffocation.

How to make tummy time enjoyable for your baby?

Some babies may not enjoy tummy time at first, and that is completely normal. It may take some time for them to get used to the new position and build their strength. Here are some tips to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby:

1. Start with short sessions: As mentioned earlier, start with short sessions of 3-5 minutes and gradually increase the duration as your baby gets more comfortable.

2. Use toys and props: Place colorful toys or a mirror in front of your baby to encourage them to lift their head and look around. You can also use a rolled-up towel or a tummy time pillow to prop your baby up and make it easier for them to lift their head.

3. Get down on their level: Get down on the floor with your baby during tummy time. This will not only make them feel more comfortable but also allow you to interact with them and make it a fun bonding experience.

4. Make it a part of your daily routine: Incorporate tummy time into your baby’s daily routine, such as after a diaper change or before naptime. This will help your baby get used to the activity and make it a regular part of their day.

In conclusion, tummy time is an essential activity for babies that should be started from the first week of life. It helps with their physical and cognitive development and should be done for at least 30 minutes per day. By following the tips mentioned above, you can make tummy time a fun and enjoyable experience for your baby. Remember to always supervise your baby during tummy time and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions.

When should you start tummy time?

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