Tummy Time: Why It's Important and How Often to Do It for Your Baby's Development
How Often to Do It
Tummy time should be done every day, starting from when your baby is just a few weeks old. Initially, you can begin with short periods of one to two minutes and gradually increase the time as your baby gets stronger. You should aim for a total of 20-30 minutes of tummy time per day by the time your baby is three months old.
Why It's Important
Tummy time is crucial for your baby's development because it helps them build strength in their neck, back, and arm muscles, which are essential for crawling and other motor skills. It also helps prevent flat spots on the back of your baby's head, a condition known as positional plagiocephaly. Additionally, tummy time encourages your baby to lift their head and look around, which helps develop their visual skills and spatial awareness.
If you don't give your baby enough tummy time, they may experience delays in their development, particularly in their gross motor skills. Without enough tummy time, your baby may have difficulty lifting their head, rolling over, crawling, and sitting up. They may also be at risk of developing positional plagiocephaly, which can cause a flat spot on the back of their head and affect their overall head shape.
When to Start and How Long to Do It
Tummy time can begin as soon as your baby comes home from the hospital, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time. As your baby gets stronger, you can gradually increase the time they spend on their tummy, up to a maximum of 30 minutes a day. By the time your baby is six months old, they should be spending most of their waking hours on their tummy.
To make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby, you can place toys within reach or get down on the floor and play with them. You can also try different positions, such as lying on your back and placing your baby on your chest, or propping them up on a nursing pillow.
In conclusion, tummy time is an essential aspect of your baby's development that should be done daily from a young age. It helps promote the development of your baby's neck, back, and arm muscles, which are essential for crawling and other motor skills. Without enough tummy time, your baby may experience delays in their development and be at risk of developing positional plagiocephaly. By starting tummy time early and gradually increasing the time spent on their tummy, you can help your baby reach their developmental milestones and build the strength and skills they need for a healthy and active life.