How important is tummy time?

Everyone raves about tummy time and how important it is. I get asked all the time how early to start and is it really all that important? The answers – start straight away (it is never too early) and yes, it is very important for your child’s development.

Whilst many babies do not enjoy tummy time initially, it is something they need to get used to. Most milestone development relies upon building head and neck strength so a child can lift their head as well as control it in upright positions.  If your child does not get this opportunity early on, it can delay their milestones such as sitting or crawling.  So, it is a great idea to start your baby in tummy time as early as possible in small manageable chunks.  All babies will become upset in tummy time because it is difficult to lift their heavy heads.  They will often cry or simply rest their head on the ground to take a breather.

So, what can you do if your bub is hating tummy time? Spend time on the ground with them and entertain them. Encourage them to lift their head to look at your beautiful face or to follow toys. Try keep them happy on their tummy for as long as possible.  When they become agitated, simply roll them off, have a break and then try again later. If your child really hates tummy time and you find it extremely difficult, why not try modified tummy time where they lie on your chest and you recline back.  This is often a nicer way to introduce tummy time and work towards tummy time on the ground.

If you have a new baby and you’re wondering when to start – as soon as possible. Within the first week of life is absolutely fine (unless your doctor has advised holding off for a medical reason). You’ll find your baby will start to enjoy being on their tummy and it will certainly help them progress and hit their milestones!