By Raising Children Network
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Why tummy time is important

Tummy time should make up lots of baby’s floor play; start soon after birth; put her on her back to sleep and tummy to play.
  • Tummy time happens when your baby’s on his stomach. It should make up lots of your baby’s floor play. Tummy time builds head, neck and upper body strength. Your baby needs this strength for lifting his head, crawling and pulling up to stand.
  • Start tummy time soon after birth, as part of your baby’s daily play routine. In the early weeks, try 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day at different times of the day. Over time, your baby can build up to 10-15 minutes a day.
  • Back to sleep, tummy to play. Your baby spends a lot of time on her back when she’s sleeping, with her head in one position, often on a favoured side. This can cause flat spots on the back of her head or a misshapen head. Tummy time helps prevent this.
 

How to do tummy time

Place toys near your baby; lay down and show her a picture book;  place a mirror so he can see his reflection.
  • Place safe objects and toys close to your baby. Move them from side to side in front of his face. This encourages him to move, lift and turn his head.
  • Get down on the floor next to your baby. Turn the pages of a picture book or magazine. This helps develop her eye strength and keeps her interested.
  • Put a non-breakable mirror next to your baby so he can see his reflection. Try tummy time in different spots, such as outside on a blanket.
 

Keeping tummy time interesting and fun

Sing, stroke her back or tickle her hands; try other tummy time locations, like your lap; supervise your baby during tummy time.
  • Let your baby know you’re there by talking and singing, stroking her back or tickling her hands.
  • If your baby doesn’t like the floor, try tummy time on your lap, your chest, a rolled-up towel or large ball. Give him a gentle rock, sing songs or rub his back. It’s still tummy time and gets him ready for more in the future.
  • Supervise your baby during tummy time. As she develops strength and starts to move around more, clear the area of things that might be dangerous.
 
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  • Last Updated 09-12-2011
  • Last Reviewed 27-01-2012