Tummy time is very important for your baby and pediatricians are now saying your baby should have time on their tummy in order for them to develop properly.
When babies spend a lot of time on their back it has been noticed that they end up with cranial asymmetry, which is a mishappen head. In this case it is the back of their head becomes flatter.
This is because the baby's skull is still soft and lots of time on their back shapes the soft bones in the skull.
Tummy time helps to prevent this and also helps to advance your baby's development. It helps to strengthen their neck to get them ready for crawling, rolling, pushing up and ever standing.
Many babies really are not keen on being on their stomach to start with and will scream loudly to let you know about it. You can make tummy time more fun by laying on your tummy and playing with your baby. Alternately you can purchase a play mat and lay on that with your baby so they have something to do whilst on their stomach.
A good way to start tummy time is to lay on your back with your baby laying on your chest on their stomach. This gives them reassurance because the parent is nearby. As they get more used to tummy time you can put them on a play mat or the floor.
You want to start with very short intervals while the baby gets used to it. The recommended time is 30 minutes a day, broken into much smaller intervals. You want to start with a minute or so on the stomach and then slowly increase it. You should never leave them on their stomach for too long when they are first starting out.
Tummy time is not something you can force your baby to do. You need to make sure they are in the right mood for it and when they have told you (through crying usually) they have had enough you need to take them off their stomach and give them a cuddle. The physical contact will reassure them that laying on their stomach is okay and will almost act as a reward.
If your baby is unhappy about tummy time, which many will be initially, then if you keep your baby company it will often help. Laying with them and playing with them will help to make the experience much more pleasant for them. You have to remember that for your baby, laying on their stomach is a comfortable experience initially and they can be scared because they can not roll over or move around.
A board book or favorite toy placed in front of the baby can often help to make tummy time more enjoyable too. There are many play mats you can use with different toys on and with materials that make different sounds that are also great for helping your baby to enjoy being on their stomach.
If you have a sitter, nanny or anyone that takes care of your baby, make sure you have informed them of the importance of tummy time and shown them how to get your baby to enjoy being on its stomach and what to do.
Tummy time is important for your baby's development. It will help avoid them having a flat head and will help them develop stronger neck muscles and fine motor skills getting them ready for crawling, rolling and moving around. Most importantly, make it enjoyable for your baby and never make your baby spend longer than they want on their stomach.