You now have an itty bitty on your caseload. Here are some tools to help you answer the questions from the new parents: Why is it important? How do I get my baby to like tummy time? When do I start? New parents can have LOTS of questions and we has pediatric physical therapist can help bridge the gap and provide much needed answers. I hope this short guide will help encourage successful time with little patients.
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is time during the day that the child is supervised, awake, and positioned on their stomach whether it be on the floor, in the caregiver’s arms, or on the caregiver’s chest. There are SO many ways to do tummy time throughout the day!
Why is tummy time important?
When a child is positioned on their stomach it encourages strengthening of the back, head/neck, arms/chest, and core muscles while the baby works against gravity. Tummy time is also a great tool to support developmental milestones and help prevent torticollis and plagiocephaly.
When can I start?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting tummy time activities as early as the baby’s first day home from the hospital and as soon as the pediatrician feels it is safe.
Successful Tummy Time Tips:
- Start Tummy Time early: Encourage the caregiver’s to establish a routine and stick to it.
- Start with easy Tummy Time activities: Begin by placing toys to the right or left and only a few inches away.
- Attempt Tummy Time daily: Recommend starting with 1-2 minutes per session and gradually increase the length of time as the child gets stronger.
- Perform Tummy Time multiple times a day: The best times of day are when the child is alert and happy; encourage the caregivers to try it before or after each diaper change.
- Roll into and out of Tummy Time. By rolling it will help establish a routine and facilitate mobility skills.
- Be respectful and responsive by making Tummy Time a no cry zone: If the child begins to cry and is not easily redirected by toys, your smiling face, or music, roll the child onto their side or back and try again later.
- Allow the child to do as much as they will tolerate: This will only make them stronger!
- Place the child on an incline to make Tummy Time easier: Roll a small towel/blanket or burb cloth and place it under the baby’s chest, try belly-down on the caregiver’s chest, use a nursing pillow or bolster under the baby’s chest, or use a therapy ball.
- Encourage Tummy Time on the go: During family outings recommend the child is removed from the car seat or stroller and placed in prone across the caregivers lap.
- Recommend the caregiver be involved and interact with the child during Tummy Time. Parent faces are the best toy! Encourage singing, reading, or just talking to the child; they will love it!
- Use mirrors, books, siblings, sensory activities, and toys to make Tummy Time more enjoyable.