Tummy time is even more important now that it is the paediatric standard to put your babies ‘back to sleep’. It is necessary so that babies can learn to push up, roll over, sit up and eventually crawl and pull themselves into standing position. The trick is to get them to like it.
Supervised tummy time is considered essential from day one. It is suspected that babies who do not spend much time on their fronts have some delays in their motor skill development.
You have to start slowly, introducing it a bit at a time or your baby may not comply with your plans because they are used to seeing the world from their cribs, bouncy chairs and car seats. Not only is spending time on their tummy unfamiliar, it’s less comfortable for them to keep their heads up.
Try to help get your baby used to it by joining your baby on the floor and encourage them with lots of positive feedback, the use of toys and fun games. You could start tummy time just with having baby lying on your tummy. Anything that has them keeping their head up qualifies. When baby becomes fussy, change their position or they may start to baulk when you put them on their stomachs; just start a bit at a time and gradually increase the amount of time they spend on their fronts. Twins are good at keeping themselves company during tummy time and will watch one another mastering it.
Another reason tummy time is crucial is because it helps keep baby off the back of their heads, which may have been the perfect shape when they were born but with so much time spent on it, may gradually be flattening at the back. We think baby bjorns and bumbos are great as an alternative to tummy time in this regard.