Regardless of the age of your baby, they should definitely be spending some time on their tummy. Tummy time helps with your baby’s development but at the same time limits the chances of developing plagiocephaly (flatness of the head) or torticollis (adaptive shortening of the muscles on one side of the neck), which are common if a baby is solely on their backs. The goal is to spend at least an hour per day on the tummy. This may seem like a lot, but we’ve included some tips to make tummy time more tolerable and eventually it will end up being fun!
Cushion Under Chest
One simple solution, especially for those with good neck control, is to use a cushion under the baby’s chest. You can also use a rolled up towel or a small pillow. Having the cushion adds an element of support which makes it easier for the baby to see the world around them and interact with the things surrounding them. This is also very beneficial for the baby as it provides an opportunity for them to strengthen the muscles in the neck and back. Eventually, they will be able to get into the cobra position which will provide the opportunity to reach for toys.
Use Small Toys as a Distraction
If you notice that your baby is getting a little fussy, you can use small toys as a distraction. This is why baby toys either have mirrors, different textures, rattles, or they crinkle or squeak. The baby’s attention will be diverted towards that, allowing for longer time on their tummy.
Placing Baby on your Leg
Another option to ensure that your baby doesn’t get too fussy about being on their tummy is to hold them over your leg. You could be sitting on chair, or in a partial squat position, but this allows you to angle the position of your leg providing the baby with an option to see more of their environment.
Placing Baby on your Chest
As you are lying on your back, place the baby on your chest. This is generally a happy place for them, and they are comfortable – especially around mom and dad. This is a great opportunity to talk to the baby and bonding time with them but still encouraging them to be on their tummy and developing their muscles.
If you are struggling with putting your baby on your tummy, don’t worry. Usually a session or 2 with a physiotherapist can provide additional strategies or even assess if there is a bigger problem at hand. Our team of physiotherapist with a special interest in pediatrics can help you along the way.