February 12, 2014
Did you know that one of the best ways to help strengthen your baby’s motor development is to place her on her tummy during play time?
That’s right! Tummy time gives your baby a chance to work the upper-body muscles that control basic skills such as lifting the head, turning over, sitting and crawling.
But we should stress that tummy time is only for play, not for sleeping!
To help you and your baby get the most out of tummy time, our therapy team in North Houston recommends the following tips:
- Place your baby on her tummy when she is awake – after each diaper change is an easy routine to remember
- Entertain your baby using one of her favorite toys, a mobile or your smiling face
- Use a tightly rolled towel or nursing pillow to prop up your baby and give her a different perspective
- Do not place your baby on her tummy right after a feeding – wait at least one hour
When tummy time is a new activity, most babies will cry after a few minutes because it is challenging. But try not to give in right away!
Therapists may recommend that parents start off with 10-minute sessions three times a day for two days. However, each baby is different, so tummy time duration and frequency should be adjusted to fit the baby’s tolerance level.
Be sure to talk with your baby’s health care provider to learn what will work best for your child.
While tummy time is a developmental necessity, it is also a fun bonding time for you, your baby and the entire family – especially older siblings.
For more tummy time tips, please visit the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s website.
~ Pat Clement, PT
Therapy Supervisor, North Houston