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Baby, Tummy Time

The Best Tips for Infant Tummy Time

April 15, 2019, Author: Tamra Cater

infant tummy time

This post contains affiliate links, so if you click on it and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. 

In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics initiated a campaign to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by suggesting that infants be placed to sleep on their back. As a result of the campaign, SIDS cases decreased. However, at the same time, this resulted in flattening of the back or side of the head. There were also reductions in muscle tone. Thus, if an infant spends a lot of time on it’s back, this may result in delays in developmental milestones. For instance, the muscles in the back and shoulders that are required for rolling over and sitting up will take longer to develop. In turn, tummy time was recommended in order to handle this issue.

What is Tummy Time, and What are the Benefits?

  • As a result of these concerns, pediatricians recommended that babies engage in “tummy time.”
  • The baby would be placed on their belly, which is supposed to help them develop the muscles in the back, neck, and shoulders that are necessary for rolling over, sitting up, and crawling.

tummy time

How do I Engage my Child in “Tummy Time”?

First of all, I would get a tummy time mat (you can also just use a blanket). There are a lot of options out there in terms of tummy time mats, so it may take some trial and error to figure which one works best for you and the baby. Here are some examples:

We had the Fisher-Price Mat. This one was great because it had music, lights, and toys that could be grasped. I would typically put my daughter on her belly and put a toy in front of her. I would try to dangle the toy where she’d have to lift her head some in order to see it. The other mat does not have the muscle and lights; however, it does have toys that can keep the baby’s attention.

This one is another possibility. I like this one because the baby can kick their feet onto the piano keys, make noise, and strengthen leg muscles as well.

Other Toys and Additions to Tummy Time Mats

This is a tummy time floor mirror. This can help keep your baby interested in tummy time, but also help him or her lift their head in order to see themselves.

These are tummy time playboard and art cards. There are 7 animal cards that are high-contrast illustrations that help stimulate your baby’s visual senses. Baby’s also prefer to look at high contrast images, so this will also help keep your baby interested in tummy time.

This inflatable mat has great reviews on Amazon and is a best seller. There are bright colors and sharp contrasts, which can help with visual development. It is recommended for baby’s that are about 3 months of age.

Other Tips to Consider

  • Always supervise tummy time.
  • Be sure that the baby has been fed and diaper has been changed before engaging in tummy time.
  • Can start tummy time as soon as the baby comes home from the hospital.

Parental Concerns Regarding Infant Tummy Time

Sometimes baby’s become distressed and cry when they are placed in a potentially stressful situation, in this case, tummy time. In turn, parents may not want to continue with tummy time, because of their infant’s distress and noncompliance. Unfortunately, this can have negative consequences for developing motor skills at the appropriate time.

There are some tips and suggestions to help with this concern:

  • When you start tummy time, only do it for a few minutes. Gradually, over time and as your baby gets older, increase the amount of time that you do tummy time. You can work up to one hour of tummy time per day by 3 months, according to one article.
  • Before you use a tummy time mat, you can start by helping your baby get comfortable laying on your chest while you are laying down.
  • Present your baby with interesting stimuli to keep them distracted from being distressed. This may be showing your baby a beloved toy and encouraging them to look at it by lifting their head. It may also involve showing them an interesting video (in one study, infants preferred the video over other stimuli/toys that were presented).
  • Entertain, entertain, and entertain!! This may mean using toys, music, making faces, reading a story, etc. This keeps it interesting and more likely your baby will spend more time engaged in tummy time.

Final Thoughts on Infant Tummy Time

With time and practice, your baby will become used to tummy time. This will go a long way towards helping your baby develop the muscles and strength for other motor skills!

Reference

Kaday, H. J., & Roane, H. S. (2012). Effects of access to a stimulating object on infant behavior during tummy time. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405933/

comments (11)

  • avatar image
    My daughter hated tummy time, until I got here one of the fisher price kick mats, she loved being there, great recommendations!

    Dayma

    April 15, 2019 Reply
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      That's interesting! My daughter like kicking her legs a lot, so I wonder if she might have liked one of the kick mats more.

      Tamra Cater

      April 15, 2019 Reply
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      Love that brand I got my son the same as well and all his toys are Fisher brand too

      Meilifisayo

      June 5, 2019 Reply
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    OMG your posts bring back so many memories of when my babies were little! They’re not so small anymore ☹️ Almost 7 & 4 !! Great post!! https://jessierenea.com/when-the-market-is-oversaturated/

    Jessica

    April 16, 2019 Reply
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      Same here! Mine is 3 now! Time goes by so fast. Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      April 16, 2019 Reply
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    These are great to know thank you for sharing!

    Carolina

    April 16, 2019 Reply
    • avatar image
      Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      April 16, 2019 Reply
  • avatar image
    Such an interesting read! https://mehrshares.com/2019/04/08/look-fantastic-beauty-box-april-2019/

    Mehr

    April 16, 2019 Reply
    • avatar image
      Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      April 16, 2019 Reply
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    I love the idea of a tummy time floor mirror! Keeping the baby engaged is one of the most important things you can do and it also strengthens parent-child connection; something I personally love.

    Jaya Avendel

    May 31, 2019 Reply
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      I absolutely agree! It's great for building that connection!

      Tamra Cater

      May 31, 2019 Reply