Tummy time is a hot topic in the parenting community; however few parents are properly educated on the different exercises available to support their child during this activity. You were probably told by your child's pediatrician that tummy time is an integral part of baby's development and to practice it for a few hours every day – but what if your baby hates it? How does an overwhelmed new parent overcome the screams of protest and how can you get them to enjoy tummy time?
As a pediatric physical therapist, I love empowering parents with insider tips to set their babies up for success when it comes to motor skills and overall development. That’s why I am excited to be collaborating with Enfamil to share insights and advice as their Movement Expert—a brand passionate about brain building, which is also achieved through developmental activities like tummy time.
During tummy time, your baby is learning to:
- Lift their head
- Strengthen their upper body
- Build new brain connections
- Improve their visual-spatial skills and more!
Read on for physical therapist-approved ways to make sure your baby is enjoying every moment of tummy time.
Newborns gain social connection from being held. Use your lap or your chest to do tummy time so they can feel supported and close to you. You can also carry them with their belly down over your forearm and walk around to give them some added movement—baby’s first rollercoaster.
Tummy time doesn’t always have to be on the floor—there are many other surfaces to explore and discover!
- My favorite way to sneak in tummy time is to roll baby onto their belly after each diaper change right there on the changing table. That way, baby will get multiple opportunities to try it throughout the day.
- Another great position is with baby on the sofa facing out while you sit on the floor in front of them so you can be face to face.
Try skipping the clothes! Naked tummy time (with or without a diaper) gives baby the opportunity to experience new sensory inputs to their whole body and make cognitive connections. You may notice your baby moving more freely when their clothes are off. Just make sure to utilize a washable or wipeable surface in case of any accidents—you’ll only make that mistake once!
Use a tummy time water mat or add water to a zip top bag or a baking pan and let baby splash away while on their tummy. Play around with different temperatures of water by adding ice cubes and try placing toys in the water.
Try bringing your baby’s blanket outside for tummy time. Let them feel the grass and leaves and experience new sensations like the warmth of the sun or a cool breeze. Sun for extra spice, you can add bubbles or water to the outdoor experience.
Remember that while tummy time is a beneficial activity for your baby to master, it’s not the only important position for their development. Give your baby a variety of play positions throughout the day including back play, side lying, and being supported/held upright. If your child is struggling with tummy time you can reach out to a pediatric physical therapist for support.
For more information on how to support your baby’s early development and growth, check out more articles from the Village of Experts—a science-backed resource with expert-curated advice, supported by the #1 trusted formula brand for brain building and immune support, Enfamil!