You’ll hear doctors and therapists say time and time again that tummy time is very important for babies as soon as they get home from the hospital, and it’s true! But what is tummy time and why is it important?
What is tummy time?
Tummy time is when your baby is positioned in the prone position, meaning on a baby’s stomach.
Why is tummy time important?
Tummy time helps to increase a baby’s back, neck, and shoulder muscles that are essential in achieving motor milestones. While on their tummy, a baby has the opportunity to visually explore their environment as they learn to engage their muscles to lift their head. As a baby gains increased strength and head/neck control, a child will begin to push up on to their forearms and hands which can lead to crawling. This input is also important for shoulder stability as well as fine motor development. Tummy time also helps to prevent conditions such as Plagiocephaly and Torticollis.
How can I make tummy time enjoyable for my child?
Tummy time can be frustrating and difficult for your baby as they build muscle strength and tolerance. It can be helpful to keep your baby engaged and having fun to make tummy time for exciting and enjoyable for your baby. Below are some toys that occupational therapists recommend to make tummy time more enjoyable and accessible:
This toy is great for tummy time as well as sitting play! The toy bar lights up when the baby touches it and makes sounds to stimulate their visual and auditory systems. It includes animal sounds, colors, and xylophone sounds and speaks in 3 different languages! The toy can lay flat for tummy time and then can be propped up when your child learns to sit. This toy is easy to store and is portable. Recommended for ages 3 months and older.
This mirror toy is perfect for tummy time as it promotes reaching with the interactive bugs all while stimulating the baby’s visual system by seeing their reflection in the mirror.
This toy is perfect for your baby to play with while on their stomachs as it promotes reaching, bilateral coordination, and stimulates their auditory and visual systems with the colors and sounds it makes when it rolls. This toy can also be used throughout your child’s development while your child is seated, crawling, or walking!
This tummy time mat provide great support to make tummy time easier for a baby that is still building tolerance as it comes with a small bolster to help support your baby in the correct position. It also comes with attachments and a mirror to engage your baby so that they are having fun and learning all at the same time!
These textured rings are a fantastic toy that can engage your baby’s visual and tactile system while having fun in tummy time! They are very portable and a great toy to use in the car or within the community.
More Tummy Time Tips:
- Make it part of your daily routine this way it becomes a habit all while your child is benefiting from tummy time!
- Start with small increments of time and then increase as your child improves with their tolerance and strength. By 3 months of age, a child is expected to tolerate an hour of tummy time. Start with a few minutes at a time, several times a day at the beginning and work your way up to that hour!
- Lay on your stomach with your child while facing them, babies love the sight and voice of their caregivers!
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recommended that babies should sleep on their back and play on their tummy!
Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.