Tummy Time and Play
Whether it’s the first time they smile or their first little cooing sound, there’s nothing more special than when your baby starts to interact with you. Play time is not only great for encouraging giggles, but is an important aid in your baby’s physical development.
Tummy time is a highly recommended play time activity for you and your baby, and it’s exactly how it sounds - time on their tummy! Below are our top tips on how to introduce your little one to tummy time, along with some helpful guides on how to make the experience as easy as possible throughout their development.
As babies spend so much time on their back, tummy time helps them to develop core, neck and shoulder muscle strength. It also has a really positive impact on their physical milestones, like pushing up, head control, rolling over, crawling and walking. Not only this, but tummy time gives you the perfect opportunity to talk to your baby, and helps to build those budding language skills.
To introduce your newborn to the tummy time position, start by placing them belly-down on your chest for a few minutes at a time. This is an amazing chance for some skin-to-skin contact with your baby, especially for any partners who may feel a little helpless during the first few months.
2-3 WEEKS ONWARDS
When your baby is around 2-3 weeks old, you can start introducing them to tummy time on the floor. To distract your baby from the initial shock of this new position, it can sometimes help to prop them up, which gives them a better look at their new surroundings. To do this, place a small cushion or folded up blanket under their chest, increasing the size of the blanket roll as your little one grows and feels stronger.
If this isn’t your first child, you’ll know that babies tend to feel uncomfortable when you initially place them on their tummy. To overcome this, we recommend starting with small sessions of one to five minutes at a time, then working up to an hour each day. Your baby’s tolerance for tummy time will increase gradually with a little coaxing, so try not to lift them up as soon as they start to fuss. Joining your baby on the floor will encourage your little one to remain on their tummy, as seeing your face can be incentive enough for them to start lifting their head from their body.
A top tip from Metanium would be to try tummy time mid morning - an hour after their first feed and right after a nappy change. This is the perfect time as your baby will be alert and awake, but you’ll know for certain their tummy isn’t too full!
3-4 MONTHS ONWARDS
Once your baby is three to four months old, they will be strong enough to be on their tummy without any props or assistance, and may have started to hold their head up comfortably. At around this age your baby will also be reaching their ‘grabbing’ milestone, so to help them along, try placing rattles or easy to grasp toys within your baby’s reach, giving them a mini task to accomplish during tummy time. Eventually you can start to move the toy side to side to aid in developing their focusing skills, and neck muscle development, too.
Like many things with parenting, it’s ok to take a break and come back to it later; trust us, a little time here and there is plenty! Here at Metanium we’re strong believers of ‘every child learns differently’, so don’t be alarmed if your baby isn’t taking to the activity straight away - take a step back, enjoy some cuddle time, and try again when you feel ready.
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