“Tummy time”- as a mom, I’m sure you’ve been hearing this term since you found out you were expecting! Tummy time refers to any time your infant is in a belly-down position, usually on a floor surface, such as play mats for infants.
This positioning is essential to your babe’s development as it helps them strengthen their muscles, setting them up to hit all the exciting milestones: lift their heads, roll over, sit up, push up, crawl, and even pull to stand.
It overall strengthens your baby’s neck, shoulder, arms, and belly muscles, and it encourages their motor skills and posture control.
The challenge is that most babies don’t always like tummy time, and they can get quite fussy… you are not alone! My baby acted like tummy time was his personal torture, but we figured out what worked best for us, and I wanted to share some of that below.
Here are 5 quick tips to help your baby have a successful and *enjoyable* tummy time:
1. Get comfy. Use play mats for infants
Play mats for infants made of soft but durable foam are your baby’s best friend when it comes to tummy time. Your number one priority is making sure that your baby is comfortable while they’re on their tummy, and the best way to do that is investing in the play mats for infants.
I (of course) recommend checking out our Toki Mats! We provide the highest quality non-toxic foam mats for babies to be safe, comfy, and entertained. Bonus: you can leave out the mat in your living room or kitchen because of the beautiful design, so tummy time can happen anywhere.
2. Work your way up to it and practice
Many parents prepare their children for tummy time in advance. For example, if you place your baby on their tummy every time you change their diaper or clothes, they will come to expect being on their tummy, which will make tummy time easier.
3. Join in the fun
One of the best things you can do to help your baby be comfortable during tummy time is to join them on the floor. Take the same position as them and encourage them by talking to them and using toys to peak their interest. Make them laugh and relax while they’re exercising!
4. Entertain your baby
Entertaining your baby is crucial so they can enjoy tummy time! If your baby is still very young, you can keep them entertained by talking to them, making funny faces, playing with their rattle, playing music, among other things.
Once your baby is around 4 months old or older, you’ll be able to start introducing different toys such as prop-up toys, sensory toys, squeaky toys, lights, and different games, such as rolling them over, and more.
No one is more entertaining to your baby than YOU!
5. Comfort and engagement are the keys to success
Ultimately, your baby needs to be comfortable and entertained in order to benefit from tummy time AND enjoy it.
Remember to never set your baby down for tummy time if they’re hungry or tired, and also avoid placing them on a full belly because it can be uncomfortable! If they fuss, try to coax them while they get used to it and learn to enjoy the effort.
The more you get down and dirty with your babe, the more they will learn to enjoy seeing the world from a different angle. Have fun!