Babies spend lots of time on their backs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep to help reduce the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Also, many parents love nothing more than to lay their little ones down on their backs during play time, so they can enjoy their babies gazing up into their eyes. However, moms and dads should know to allow their babies plenty of supervised tummy time to build strength in their necks and upper body. They’ll need it later when they start sitting and crawling. There are plenty of ways to make tummy time fun for both the parents and baby.
The following are a few suggestions:
While being supervised by an adult, other children can play with the baby while he’s having tummy time. Lots of babies enjoy watching other children, so this will be enjoyable for both the child and the baby and can create great bonding time between siblings. Move a toy in front of the baby to not only entertain her, but also to encourage her to start tracking objects. It is also great for strengthening neck muscles as she begins to move her head and neck as she follows the object’s movement.
Consider giving the baby a massage! Who doesn’t love a good back rub? Rub your baby’s back up and down and in between the shoulder blades. This will help to stimulate the muscles used to hold the head up. Lie on your back and put the baby on your stomach or chest, tummy-side down. Then you can talk, sing and make silly faces at your little one, which will be fun for both of you! Get down on the baby’s level (tummy time for you too!) so that he can look into your face. Again, you can sing and talk to baby in this position.
Remember, you are baby’s favorite activity!
Place toys and rattles around the baby, just within her reach. When it’s too soon for her to grab at them, she will still enjoy looking at the colorful toys. Once she can reach for them, this will only heighten the fun times. Place a mirror in front of or just under baby. If you place it under baby, make sure you’re close by at all times, and make sure it’s a mirrored toy that’s safe so he won’t hurt himself if he lowers his head down onto the mirror. Look for baby mirror toys instead of real glass mirrors. Babies love to see their own faces, so this will be big time fun for your little one!
Tummy time is a very important part of your baby’s development. Try to come up with other ideas to not only maximize tummy time, but also to maximize tummy fun! At first, your baby may cry after a few minutes. Make sure to alternate between being on her back and on her tummy to get her used to more and more tummy time. The more fun you make it and listen to her cues, the more enjoyable over the long haul it will be for your little one!
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