Rum Tum Tummy Time

tummy time for babyTummy Time is the term for the times that you have your baby lying on their stomach while they’re awake (and with someone watching them). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that spending time on their tummy is crucial for baby’s development: Tummy Time helps your baby develop strength in their neck, back and shoulder muscles, which is needed to meet infant developmental milestones to help them start to sit up, crawl and walk. It may also help prevent flat spots on the back of your baby’s head (a condition called flat head syndrome).

When and How Much

You can start Tummy Time as soon as you bring baby home from the hospital. Your baby will benefit from two to three Tummy Time session every day, for about three to five minutes each time. By the time your baby is 3 months old, your baby should work up to an hour of Tummy Time every day. As your baby gets older, Tummy Time sessions can last longer and you can have more of them throughout the day.

Tummy Time Tips

  • Spread out a clean blanket on the floor.
  • Put a toy within your baby’s reach during Tummy Time. This will help them learn to play and interact with their surroundings.
  • Have someone you trust sit in front of your baby during Tummy Time. This encourages interaction and bonding.
  • Try short Tummy Time sessions after a diaper change or after your baby wakes up from a nap.

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play

The AAP recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep and on their tummies to play; they state that the safest position for a sleeping baby is on his back. As a result of this recommendation being put into effect in 1994, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has decreased by as much as 40 percent.

Every bit of Tummy Time makes a difference. If you’ve done plenty of Tummy Time with your baby, but are concerned that they’re not meeting their milestones, talk to your pediatrician. Also, if after starting Tummy Time a flat spot develops on your baby’s head or your baby can’t turn his head in both directions, ask your pediatrician for an evaluation.