PT Month: Tummy Time Tips

What is tummy time?
Tummy time is any activity or position that allows your baby to be on his or her stomach, including putting baby on the floor, your lap or chest.
How soon should I start tummy time?
Closely supervised tummy time can and should be started the day your child is born! The earlier you start tummy time, the easier tummy time will be as your infant grows older. 
What are the benefits of tummy time?
Since the 1990’s, babies send a lot of time on their backs due to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to Sleep program. Due to this, parents have become nervous about placing their infants on their tummies for play time. Studies show that infants with tummy time develop at a quicker pace than infants who are placed on their back. Tummy time promotes increases strength in the child’s neck and back muscles, as well as developing arm strength. Tummy time can help prevent tight neck muscles or flattening of the babies’ skull as a result of pressure on the back of their head. Tummy time will encourage development, such as rolling, sitting, and crawling. 
What do I do if my infant hates tummy time?
Tummy time does not just have to be on the floor. Placing your child on your chest as you recline or lay down will also have benefits for your little one. Try placing music, light, or other toys where your infant can see them as they are on their tummy. If your child will not tolerate any of those positions, you can lay your child on their side and slowly progress to them lying on their stomach. 
Do I need to supervise my child when they are on their tummy?
If you child is unable to lift his or her head from the floor, then yes! Do not leave your child unsupervised until your child is able to look up, is pushing up on his or her arms, and is able to roll out of the position.
How much tummy time do they need?
We encourage at least 60 minutes of tummy time a day. This can be 5 minutes at a time if needed, increasing time as they get stronger. Try tummy time after diaper changes – after you’ve diapered baby, turn baby over onto his or her tummy for a few minutes.
Here is a great brochure you can download with more tummy time tips!
 – Danielle Hildebrand, PT, DPT