Too much back-sleeping time leads your baby to form flat spots on their back and skull. On top of this, excessive time spent in the belly-up positions results in delayed motor development skills. It is because the baby does not get enough opportunity to use or work the upper muscles of the body. The significance of tummy time lies in the fact that with it, a baby can experience delay in learning if lifting up their head, turning over, and even sitting and walking.
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of tummy time and how parents can learn the basic things about this important activity.
You do not have to wait a lot for the baby to start having some tummy time. A newborn baby can be given the tummy time experience. However, what’s important is the way you teach the baby to be positioned in a tummy-time manner.
You can jumpstart by placing the baby on your chest in a way that the baby faces you. This way, the baby will start getting used to this position. Also, you can start talking in a slow and easygoing tone - and the goal is to encourage a head lift up. As soon as the baby seems comfortable with the position, you can then hop on to the next step.
The next step is to get a tummy time mat or place your baby on the floor. If you don’t have a mat, don’t forget to place something soft like a blanket first.
One thing to be aware of is that you should not place a baby in a belly-down position right after feeding. If you do so, it can cause pressure to stomach. Due to pressure, the baby may spit up. This is why tummy time is essential only when a baby is active and alert.
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In the beginning, the baby should spend only about 3 to 4 minutes of tummy time. And in one day, the tummy time session can be done three to four times. As time passes, and your baby begins getting comfortable with tummy time - you can then increase the time limit. For example, you can take the time around 20 to 25 minutes each day.
When the age of your baby is above three and a half months, they are normally able to lift their chest off the floor. Another development can be that the baby is able to lift their arms off the floor and upright their neck. And once 5 months have passed, your baby will be able to circle over their tummy and use their arms to move to the front and sideways.
When babies are able to do something on their own, such as moving, they feel encouraged to do more. The same goes for tummy time which nurtures confidence in children.
According to doctors, the reason why some babies do not feel like enjoying tummy time is due to muscle stress. Having to lift one’s head puts stress on neck muscles, which means extra strength is required. This is why some babies get irritated. However, as a parent, it is your responsibility to give your baby some tummy time for five minutes. But, if the child is denying and is uncomfortable, then squeeze the time to 3 minutes.
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Tummy time plays a big role in helping a baby build essential motor skills, sensory development, and visual improvement.
A child that enjoys tummy time develops strong neck, shoulder, and core muscles faster than a child that refuses to go belly down. For the baby to be able to do other things like rolling, sitting, etc., tummy time provides the basis for improving gross motor skills.
While your baby is having tummy time, they experience how different things or textures feel. By rubbing their hands and cheeks against blankets and carpets, they develop sensory perception - which we can call tactile sense.
Also, body awareness is another essential sensory perception that comes through movement. While pivoting on the belly or crawling sideways, the baby experiences a sense of body awareness.
Another sensory element is the vestibular sense. Positioning the baby in various positions helps improves their balance - which sharpens the vestibular sense.
This aspect is to do with hand-eye coordination. While in the tummy-down position, a baby moves his hands and observes the hand movement. This gives them a sense of how they can move and what they can do.
You can try a number of things in the form of moves and variations when placing your baby for some tummy time.
In the lap-soothe technique, the baby is placed face down across your lap. After this, put your hand on the baby’s bottom - so that the baby stays calm. This way, you can soothe your baby pretty quickly.
A good way to engage your baby during tummy time is to speak, read or sing them a song. This technique helps to pass time faster. If the baby is feeling uncomfortable, then singing a song, talking to them, or just reading something will distract them from any discomfort. What sound can be any better than a baby’s parent talking to them?
Another effective thing you can do is lay down on the floor with your baby. Doing so helps your baby to have a great tummy time. You need to lie down in a way that you and your baby face each other. This way, the baby will be distracted and will forget that they are lying in an uncomfortable position.
While accustoming your baby to tummy time, you should not get discouraged. Not all babies have the same comfort or reaction to tummy time. However, all babies can be made to have some beneficial tummy time. And this blog post has shared with you all the important tummy time tips and techniques you can follow as a parent