We know tummy time is important for infants. The World Health Organization advises that babies who aren’t yet mobile get at least 30 minutes per day throughout the day while awake. This includes newborns: the UK’s National Health Service recommends supervised tummy time for full-term babies from birth.
Frequent, short sessions are best for newborns; if they start crying, it’s time for a break. Every minute helps build muscles needed for sitting and crawling.
Here are some tips for newborn tummy time on the floor:
You can see Ayesha Curry’s adorable newborn doing tummy time here.
- Slowly roll your baby onto their tummy with arms tucked under their shoulders
- Newborns like to have their heads to one side while lying on their bellies, mimicking their position in the womb
- Offer your baby some High-Contrast Cards to look at while their head is to the side
- Periodically move your baby, so their head rests on the opposite side; head-turning helps avoid flat spots and tight neck muscles
- As your baby gets stronger, place High-Contrast Cards in front of them, so they work to see the images when lifting their chin
Some ideas for newborn tummy time on you:
- Put your baby on your chest facing you, and softly talk to them to try to encourage them to lift their head
- Put your baby belly-down on your thighs and gently rub their back; show them a High-Contrast Card in their line of vision and slowly move it upward to see if their head moves up
- Carry your baby rugby-style on your forearm
If your baby is fussy during a tummy time session, you don’t have to force it. Keep trying short sessions a few times a day. Babies who start tummy time early take to it better later on. The experts all agree: tummy time is essential for building the muscles and coordination needed for rolling over, crawling, walking, reaching, and playing.
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