One of the first few things pediatricians go over with new parents is the importance of tummy time for baby. It may seem ridiculous to put a newborn on his or her tummy, especially because most babies hate tummy time at first. The reason they fuss when you put them on their tummies is because it’s hard work! When you put babies on their tummies, they are forced to work their head, neck and shoulder muscles to keep their faces off the ground. It’s definitely a struggle, especially at first, but it will help strengthen their muscles and develop motor skills.
Here are five tips to make tummy time effective and a little less stressful on both baby and mommy:
Put your baby on his or her tummy after a good nap and well after a feeding. A lot of times it’s difficult to find a “good” time for tummy time. If your baby is too tired, they will fuss more than usual. If they have just eaten, it could upset their tummies when they struggle and tummy time could end in a mess. Try to monitor your little one to determine what time of day is best for a somewhat strenuous activity.
Get down on the floor with your baby. Babies, especially newborns, feel insecure and need your support, especially when they are put in a situation where their surroundings or situations are brand new. It helps build their confidence if you get down on the floor with them while they practice their new task and verbally and physically encourage them.
Don’t give up after just a few seconds. When learning any new task, it’s easy for both babies and adults to want to give up quickly. Most babies get frustrated and cry when they’re on their tummy even after just a short moment, but don’t give up! If they are fed, took a nap, and his diaper is clean, they are probably fussing because of the difficulty of the task. Let them hang out for a few minutes and then pick them up and comfort them with a cuddle.
Entice your baby with a favorite toy. Sometimes it helps to make tummy time more pleasant and even enjoyable for your baby if you place a favorite toy or something colorful in front of them. It can stimulate their senses and give him or her something to explore while they work so hard!
Be consistent. Keep in mind that tummy time is good for your baby, even if it seems like they hate it at first! It is important for muscle development that will help them learn to keep their head up and eventually sit up and even crawl! Knowing that it’s for their own good, remember to be consistent. Ask your child’s pediatrician how often you should put your baby on his or her tummy. It’s usually dependent on their age, but daily tummy time is crucial.
Try to have fun with tummy time, keeping in mind that you are doing a good thing for your baby! The fussing and tears are hard for any mom to see and hear, but keep at it. You are setting them up for a good future.
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