Why is tummy time important?
It is known to many parents that the time a baby spends on their tummy is important. But do you know the benefits?
Babies often sleep on their backs, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and by pediatricians, which is why they need to spend time on their tummies when they’re awake.
Being on their tummy helps the development of the muscles of their head and neck, and their upper body in general. It is also useful for learning coordination.
As well as these generalities, here are a few other advantages of the tummy position:
- prevents plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome
- limits the risk of torticollis
- encourages bonding with your baby, by lying next to them or by placing them on your chest you can enjoy some bonding time
- helps the digestive system to function properly, as your baby, while lying down, massages their abdominal organs, helping them to have bowel movements and pass wind
- develops their motor skills and senses
Pediatricians and the WHO (World Health Organization) recommend at least 3 supervised sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each for infants, you can break this time down into shorter periods of a few minutes depending on your baby’s strength.
An infant can be placed on their tummy shortly after birth when they're wide awake and in the presence of an adult.
When holding your baby, take the opportunity to change their position, for example during nappy changes or by turning them gently onto their side. This way, they will be less surprised and will accept the position more easily.
These moments can be unpleasant for your baby at first, which is why it’s important to add elements to transform them into special, pleasant and playful moments.
If your baby tends to wriggle and wants to move around, choose a soft surface so that they’re safe. The Sweety Fox Play Mat is designed to guarantee that your baby has plenty of room to discover the world from their tummy.
If your child struggles to keep their head raised for long periods of time, you can use a C-shaped pillow under their chest. Some pillows are shaped like animals. They attract their attention and as your baby plays they will explore new sensations.
You can gradually introduce games: books, sensory balls, mirrors, teething rings and others to stimulate your baby and help them to enjoy tummy time.
Over time, your child will try to reach their favourite toys, as they get ready to crawl.