During infancy, every child has a particular time when they start growing up physically and mentally and it is a normal thing for every child to go through a tummy time phase, which is like a foundation for a child getting up to walk as time goes on. Although some think tummy time is a process every baby should navigate on their own, they need help and guidance to ensure that they are doing it correctly.

This article will explore what tummy time is, how to do tummy time, its importance, benefits, and how books can help ensure that a baby does tummy time entirely.

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time is baby time, when babies spend time lying on the tummy while still awake. It is a gradual process and it is the first exercise process every baby undergoes. Medical experts have emphasized its importance for muscle development and the baby’s visual, motor, and sensory development. It has been certified by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) after launching their Back to Sleep, and Tummy to Play campaign.

How to Do Tummy Time

The best time to do tummy time is when your baby is awake after a bath, diaper change, or nap. Here are simple steps to do tummy time:

Step 1: Spread a Blanket or Mat on the Floor

Before starting tummy time with your baby, the first thing you should do is spread a mat or blanket and place your baby correctly on his or her stomach. For a safety measure, do this only when your baby is awake and avoid distraction while monitoring.

Step 2: Use Breastfeeding Pillow

Tummy time is not an instinct, so while your baby is just starting, a breastfeeding pillow can be used for support until it is no longer needed. Put the pad on the blanket, place the baby on the pillow on the belly, and ensure the shoulders are propped up.

Step 3: Use Tummy Time Toys and Board Book

Tummy time is meant to be fun. You can use toys or read a book to your baby. It will be ideal if the book has a graphic image that can get the baby’s attention. It helps to develop their eyesight.

NB: There are many steps involved in tummy time, but these three steps are very crucial. As your baby grows, you can begin to introduce a mirror to see their reflection, and you can even imitate your baby by lying down so that they can quickly learn how to lie on the tummy better. The ideal time to do this is when they are six months old.

Importance/Benefits of Tummy Time

  • It helps the baby to develop a flat head when sleeping.
  • It helps the baby to prevent positional plagiocephaly if your baby spends less time in the same position on their back.
  • Tummy time is a means of spending time with your baby.
  • It speeds up growth and development.

General Recommendations on Tummy Time for each month

Month Old Duration
0 months 2 – 3 times a day for 1 – 5 minutes
1 month 2 – 3 times a day for 6 – 10 minutes
2 months At most 20minute per day, can be done in different sessions
3 months At most 30minute per day, can be done in separate sessions
4 months At most 40minute per day, can be done in different sessions
5 – 6 months 1 hour is enough, as long as the baby is not hard to please

The Importance of Books in Tummy Time

When it comes to a book’s role in tummy time, it is not just any kind of book that can be used, but books with graphic images that can get your baby’s attention. The truth is that your baby may not feel good with tummy time. Aside from toys, books with good graphical images meant for kids can attract them.

You can also read your baby a book to keep in the mood. Books generally can get your baby’s attention if they do not find tummy time interesting or if your child seems to be struggling with it. Therefore, endeavor to get a book for your baby tummy time because it is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.

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