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Why does your baby need tummy time?

Three questions you can expect as a new mom: 1. how’s your baby’s sleeping; 2. how’s your baby’s eating, and 3. How often does your baby have tummy time?

Hopefully, you get asked how YOUR eating and sleeping is, too but you’re guaranteed to be quizzed about your baby’s time on his belly. And there’s a good reason that you should invest a portion of your baby’s awake time in tummy time.

When your baby is on his tummy, you are helping him lay the foundations for reaching, sitting up, crawling and walking. It will be one of your baby’s most important exercises and it can be done from birth throughout his first year. 

The top three reasons you need your baby to do a few minutes of tummy time daily is:

  1. To develop neck, back, and shoulder muscles as well as core muscles
  2. To meet developmental milestones, such as moving his legs and arms off of a surface when excited and reaching and pivoting - skills leads to crawling.
  3. To possibly help prevent motor delays and conditions, such as flat head syndrome and positional torticollis (twisted neck).

Begin at around two weeks (after his umbilical cord has fallen off and healed) with short sessions of 30 seconds to one minute. Try placing your newborn belly-down on your chest or across your lap, just don’t do it directly after feeding your baby.  

You might find that your baby fusses during tummy time, but that is normal. Try to make tummy time part of your routine as soon as your baby is awake and alert (and never left unsupervised). After a diaper change is also a great time to roll him over and help him look at the world from a new angle. You also don’t have to be bound to the floor for tummy time - check out this post for alternatives that your baby won’t hate.

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