What exactly is meant by tummy time? It simply refers to the time a baby spends lying on his stomach, while he is awake and being supervised. Babies spend most of the time sleeping, lying on their backs. However, babies should get proper tummy time too. Tummy time helps to develop strong neck muscles that will help the babies to achieve their milestones like sitting, crawling, and walking in time. Until 2 to 3 months of age, the baby is unable to hold its head. Eventually, with tummy time, the baby will use his or her own strength to help himself scoot, roll and support with his arms.
There is no exact time to begin baby belly time. Ideally, the best tummy time should begin as soon as the baby is home from the hospital. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to start off as early as possible. However, it is important that you (or a nurse or supervisor) and your newborn are both alert and awake.
During their first tummy time, the baby may not like to be positioned on the tummy. They may even get irritated and cranky. They may be on their tummy for only a minute or less, before they start bawling. Thus, it is important to begin with short spells of tummy time and increase the duration. This helps to get the babies feel comfortable in that position for longer periods.
Ensure that your little one is not tired or hungry when you put him on his tummy. Also, avoid placing him on his stomach just after a meal, as it may make him uncomfortable.
The best time to try tummy time is immediately after changing their diapers. It is easier to remember and the baby will learn to start expecting it after a while. However, be careful to hold him if he is on the diaper table or on the bed.
As mentioned above, it might be possible that he does not feel comfortable initially. If the baby begins to cry, even though you’ve put him down for a minute – try to distract him. You can do so by cooing to him, playing or talking with him. When he has been on his tummy for an adequate duration, you can pick him up and repeat the process after sometime. You can create a tummy time schedule to ensure that you do not forget to carry out this routine on a daily basis.
With experience and repeated efforts, his tummy time will improve. And after a while, many babies are happier being on their tummy once they learn how to roll over.
Here are some tips to make the baby feel at ease when he’s tummy down.
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