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DID YOU KNOW??
Tummy Time should begin as soon as you come home from the hospital.
Tummy Time is essential for infants for core motor and sensory development and achievement of milestones. It helps improve neck and head control while strengthening the back, shoulders, & core muscles. Tummy time promotes motor & sensory development and helps to prevent flat head syndrome, also called positional plagiocephaly (pu-ZI-shu-nul play-jee-oh-SEF-uh-lee). Flat head syndrome usually happens when a baby sleeps in the same position most of the time or because of problems with the neck muscles.
At first babies may not like tummy time making parents decrease the amount of time – but babies will grow to like tummy time. Make it fun with mirrors and toys to play with while on the belly. Start with small spurts of tummy time, gradually working up to an hour per day by the time your baby is 3 months old. With practice your baby will get stronger in the core & back and be able to tolerate tummy time longer and longer.
Activities to Help Strengthen Your Baby
From Birth to 3 months old babies are just getting used to Tummy Time. Make tummy time part of the daily routine, performing it for a few minutes multiple times per day, and your baby will soon be enjoying their tummy time. Use these simple ways to incorporate tummy time daily:
- Soothe baby on your lap: Rather than holding or burping your baby in an upright position facing your should, place him face-down across your lap. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm him.
- Lay baby on your chest: Lie down on the floor or a bed, flat or propped up on pillows. Place baby on your chest or tummy, so that you’re face-to-face. Hold firmly so that he will not roll off.
- Get down to baby’s level: While baby is on his tummy, get down to his level to encourage eye contact. A blanket can be rolled up and placed under his chest and upper arms for added support.
- Carry baby tummy down: When carrying baby, slide one hand between his legs under his stomach. Use your other hand to support his head and shoulders. Nestle the baby close to your body; this offers comfort and support.
By 3 months your baby should be getting an hour of tummy time, not all at once, but in spurts throughout the day.
- Make it fun with a toy: As your baby begins to reach for things, move toys away from baby or lift them higher, so she must look up to see them. In addition, toys can be used to encourage head turning. Make sure to switch sides often, so baby learns to look to both sides.
At 6 months of age, your baby continues to grow and develop neck and trunk strength, challenge him and keep him interested with some new moves.
- Promote baby push-ups: Capture baby’s attention with a toy and use your fingers under tummy to provide gentle lifting cues. Have baby push herself up on her hands and hold position for a short while before sinking back down to the surface.
- Reach ‘n roll play: Encourage your baby to practice repeated rolling from her back to her tummy to reach a toy. Baby is ready to start moving on her tummy. Place toys in a circle around baby to encourage her to pivot and reach while playing on her tummy.
Tips – Make it FUN!
- Sing song: Play on the floor with your baby, tummy down. Place toys in front, sing songs. Your baby loves your face and voice!
- Peek-a-boo: Play it with your baby while he’s on his tummy. Put a blanket over your head or just cover your face with your hands. Surprise your baby when you appear again!
- Toy Circle: Put your baby’s favorite toys in a large circle on the floor. Place him on a blanket in the middle – tummy down. Watch him reach and rotate to play with his toys.
*Learn more activities and how your baby’s motor development should look by contacting Brain Connex Therapy for a FREE infant movement screening. Educational materials provided by www.Pathways.org