What is Tummy Time and When Should I Start?

January 29, 2018

Baby enjoying tummy time

With a lot of emphasis being placed on making sure babies sleep on their back to reduce the likelihood of SIDS, it’s easy to overlook the importance of babies spending time on their tummies too. A great way of encouraging this is through supervised tummy time, which parents and guardians can do with their little ones at home.

What is Tummy Time?

Tummy time allows babies to spend time on their front whilst they are awake and supervised by a guardian. Babies spend the majority of their time on their back as they are on their back in car seats, on playing mats, etc. Tummy time ensures that babies spend at least some of the day safely on their front.

Benefits of Tummy Time

There are some crucial benefits of supervised tummy time for your baby. One of the most important of these advantages is that it helps to strengthen and develop important muscles for your baby. Tummy time encourages babies to lift their head and this in turn helps babies to develop muscles in their neck and shoulders, helping them to support and hold their head up. This is important for helping babies to sit up, crawl, and role over in the future.

Another great benefit of tummy time is that it helps to prevent your baby from developing flat head syndrome. One of the downsides of babies spending a lot of time on their back is that they can be prone to developing a flat spot on the area they spend most time leaning on. Allowing a baby to spend time on their tummy gives these areas of the head a break, promoting a healthy and normal head shape. For babies who have already developed a slight flattening, tummy time can sometimes help to improve this too.

Tummy time is also a great way of allowing your baby to experience a new position and perspective. Babies are more than familiar with being on their back and looking at the ceiling, but being on their tummy allows them to experience a new and exciting outlook.

When Should I Start Tummy Time?

It is recommended that parents start tummy time as soon as possible. As long as a baby has had a healthy birth and was born at full term, parents can start tummy time within the first few weeks of their baby’s life.

Ensuring a Successful Tummy Time

To make sure your baby’s tummy time is as successful and effective as possible, spend some time researching various tummy time exercises to do with your little one. Your baby won’t be used to spending much time on their tummy, so it’s a good idea to start off with only a few minutes of tummy time and gradually increasing this as your little one gets used to it. To make sure that your little one’s tummy time is safe, make sure you place them on a low surface or the floor, and on a surface that is firm.

It’s extremely important to supervise your baby during tummy time, never leaving your little one on their own. Tummy time isn’t just beneficial to the development of your baby – it’s also great for bonding with your little one and engaging in a new way of play!

If you have noticed a flattening on your baby’s head that hasn’t corrected itself with tummy time or repositioning techniques, book an appointment with one of our specialist clinicians to discuss treatment options!