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  • Writer's pictureMarvellous

Tummy Time

Tummy time is exactly as it sounds—a period where your baby spends time on their tummy. Since babies typically sleep on their backs, giving them tummy time is crucial for strengthening essential muscles for their development. Begin with short sessions and gradually increase them, allowing your baby to build up their endurance over time. 

You’ll need to provide constant supervision during tummy time and make sure your baby is awake and alert throughout. If your baby starts to get frustrated or distressed, pick them up and stop tummy time for a while. 

 When can you start tummy time? 

Your baby can start doing some tummy time from a few days old. Start with short sessions just a minute or two at first. Some good moments for tummy time tend to be just after a nappy change or after your baby wakes up. Remember to make sure your baby is awake and alert whenever attempting tummy time. Constant supervision is needed throughout. 


Building your baby's stamina gradually is crucial. It's all about helping them gain confidence and muscle strength during tummy time but this will happen slowly as you gradually increase the duration they spend on their tummy. 


Why is tummy time important? 

Tummy time has lots of benefits important for your baby's growth: 

  • Tummy time builds and strengthens essential muscles, particularly in the back, arms, and neck which will help your baby to begin to support their head. 

  • Regular tummy time encourages the development of motor skills. It aids in the gradual progression of movements, stimulating your baby to learn how to roll over and push up.  

  • Alternating your baby's position through tummy time can help prevent positional plagiocephaly, commonly known as head flattening. This variation in lying positions minimises the likelihood of flat spots developing on your baby's head. 


My baby doesn’t like tummy time? 

It’s normal for some babies to not enjoy tummy time to start with. As mentioned above, make sure you’re starting with very short periods and then build up. Even just for a minute or two if that’s all your baby likes to begin with. 


You can also try laying tummy to tummy with your baby. This gives them closeness and eye contact with you throughout which can help reassure your baby. It’s a lovely one to try skin-to-skin as a bonding experience too. 


Experiment with different times of the day; your baby might prefer it earlier when they're not as tired. Don't be disheartened if they don’t enjoy it one day—try again later or on another day. When your baby shows interest, gradually extend the time to build their stamina. Introducing new toys or objects can also make tummy time more enjoyable for them.  


Tummy Time Activities 

Here are some lovely tummy time activities you can try: 


Mirror Play: Place a baby mirror in front of your baby during tummy time. Babies love looking at faces, and this activity encourages head lifting and strengthens neck muscles. 


Toys and Objects: Surround your baby with colourful and engaging toys or objects. Place them just out of reach to encourage reaching and grasping movements. 


Interactions: Get down to your baby's level and interact with them during tummy time. Sing, talk, or make funny faces to keep them engaged and encourage them to lift their head. 


Textured Surfaces: Use textured mats during tummy time to provide sensory stimulation. Textured surfaces can be interesting for babies and encourage them to explore. Just make sure you only introduce are also baby-safe items that are age-appropriate. We have a great texture board activity that you can make at home for your baby to use during tummy time - check this out in our Activities section. 


Books: Prop up a colourful picture book in front of your baby to look at during tummy time. You can also get some high-contrast or black-and-white patterned cards to place in front of your baby for them to see. 


Sensory Bags or Bottles: Create simple sensory bags filled with different materials like fabric, feathers or water. Check out our great Sensory Bottles activity guide for more information on making and using these. 


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