Just like adults, infants need exercise to grow stronger. The best way for your baby to develop the muscle strength and motor skills needed for sitting and crawling is by spending time on his or her stomach every day. To make the most of your infant’s tummy time, keep these tips in mind.
- Start with short sessions.
Beginning the day your baby comes home from the hospital, place your child on his or her stomach for three to five minutes two or three times a day. As your baby grows, gradually increase the length of each session. By the time your baby is three to four months old, have 20 to 30 minutes of tummy time each day.
- Place your baby on a safe surface.
Lay your infant on a solid surface where he or she cannot roll off. A blanket on the floor is ideal. Do not place your baby on a couch or chair.
- Make tummy time fun.
Your baby can become bored and fussy if left alone on the floor. Set out a rattle, toys or a baby mirror, and talk to your child as he or she plays.
- Ensure you are both fully awake.
To keep your baby safe during tummy time, DO NOT allow him or her to fall asleep. Snoozing on the stomach increases your baby’s risk of suffocation and SIDS. If your baby appears sleepy, place him or her on the back in a crib and try tummy time later – when you are both alert.
To learn more about how to keep your baby safe during sleep, visit www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep.
Always speak with a medical provider if you have questions or concerns about your baby’s health and well-being.