From the first day you bring your tiny newborn home from the hospital, it’s time to start initiating tummy time.
This important activity helps to prepare your baby for holding their necks up, sitting up, and crawling in the coming months.
Unfortunately, a lot of babies don’t love tummy time.
Our little one used to cry the moment we placed her on her belly!
We had to get creative and come up with fun activities to keep her engaged and excited about tummy time.
Practice these tummy time tips and hacks to help your little one get ready for crawling.
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When To Start Tummy Time?
Tummy time should be started from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital.
Between naps, sleeping, and time in car seats, babies can spend 15 hours or more on their tummies each day.
To balance this out, babies need dedicated time on their tummies as well.
This intentional time on their stomachs is what we refer to as “tummy time”.
Tummy Time Benefits
Tummy time provides loads of benefits for your developing babies.
It helps to:
- Prevent a flat spot on the back of baby’s head
- Strengthen neck, arms, and legs
- Prepare your baby for rolling over, sitting up, and crawling
How Much Tummy Time Does My Baby Need?
According to the AAP, newborns should practice tummy time 2 to 3 times per day for 3-5 minutes at a time.
They recommend starting from the day your baby comes home from the hospital and gradually increasing the time as your baby gets older (AAP).
Although this doesn’t sound like much at first, 3 minutes can be a long time if your baby is unhappy.
What To Do If Your Baby Hates Tummy Time
A lot of babies aren’t thrilled with tummy time, especially early on. If your baby cries during tummy time, try to not to give in and pick her up right away.
Instead, try to distract with some of these fun tummy time activities.
Also, tummy time doesn’t have to be on the floor. Tummy time is any time that your baby is on their stomach. Try different surfaces and different positions to keep your baby happy.
Start small and keep gradually building up in time as your baby gets stronger and more comfortable with tummy time.
Best Tummy Time Tips
Learn how to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby and with these tummy time hacks.
Get Down On Your Stomach
Babies love looking at faces, especially of their parents. If you lie face to face your little one will be happy to look up at you.
Make silly faces or different expressions and see if your baby tries to copy you.
Place Baby In Front of a Floor Mirror
Similarly to looking at our faces, babies love to look at other babies. Babies less than about 15 months don’t realize they’re looking at themselves when they look in the mirror.
They think it’s just a cute baby smiling back. Place one of these floor mirrors in front of your baby to keep them entertained during tummy time.
Our little one loved checking herself out in the mirror. As she got older she used to crack herself up by making silly faces and watching a silly baby make them right back at her!
Surround Your Baby with Small Toys
Another way to keep tummy time fun for your baby is to surround them with some fun toys. Young babies love music, so you can try a toy that plays gentle music or has interesting designs to look at.
Our little one loved this Baby Einstein Octopus from day one! Even during moments when nothing seemed to soothe her, the sound of this octopus always worked!
You can also try to place your baby’s favorite toy in front of them and have them practice reach and grab for it.
If you haven’t experienced a water mat before, you’ve been missing out! These are such a fun way to keep babies and toddlers entertained.
The mats are filled with fluid and have different fish and objects that seem to swim by. Babies can press on the mat and make the objects swim on their own. They have fun trying to grab them or catch them too.
Place Baby on Your Stomach
Early on, this is an easy way to get some extra tummy time in. Lie on your back and place your baby on their tummy on top of you.
Newborns love spending extra time cuddling with their parents. You can also make this skin to skin time for younger babies.
Lie Baby Across Your Lap
While seated in a chair, lie your baby on their tummy across your lap. You can give them a gentle back massage in this position. Also, this gives them a different view of their environment.
You can also carry your baby in this position as long as you support their head. We call this “super baby” in our house, which our toddler still loves doing from time to time.
Our little one loved “flying” in this position and exploring the world from a different vantage point.
Boppy Pillow for Tummy Time
A boppy pillow is a must for new mothers. If you’re breastfeeding, this helps support your baby and gives your arms a little break.
We also love our boppy for tummy time. It’s a perfect prop to help your baby lie a little more upright and have the use of their arms.
How to Use a Boppy Pillow for Tummy Time
Set your baby up on the boppy pillow and place a bucket of water in front of them. Let them splash around in the water or play with some floating toys.
Alternatively, you can set them up with a sensory bin. Just make sure you don’t use any small toys that may end up in their mouth.
Tummy Time Tips and Activities
Although tummy time may seem intimidating at first, with the right tummy time activities, your baby will love it.
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