5 Essentials of Tummy Tyme
Specialists at Pathways.org want moms to start Tummy Time as soon as the belly button has healed. They suggest starting with a couple of minutes, a couple of times a day with the goal of working up to a combined time of one hour a day in small segments by the time your baby is 3 months old. They suggest creating a Tummy Time daily routine which links Tummy Time to familiar activities such as diapering, bathing or play time, so baby will expect and anticipate Tummy Time. It should become a FUN time of interaction between you and your baby, but many young babies will initially be fuzzy because Tummy Time requires developing muscle strength. Also, remember it is best to start when your baby is awake, fed and happy and you can devote your time to baby.
1. TUMMY TO TUMMY: Moms lean back on a raised stack of pillows to rest shoulders and head on pillows, face up (angles baby slightly up). Then position baby’s tummy on mom’s tummy. Mom’s should hold onto baby’s bottom to keep them stable. Even if your newborn is not raising their head yet, this position will help your baby get used to Tummy Time and help them strengthen neck and back. By 3 months, baby should be lifting their head and pushing up on forearms to push up and look around.
2. EYE LEVEL SMILE: Place babies on the floor and moms get down at eye level. Babies love faces and voices. Baby will try to see your face, so get down at eye level so baby will hold up his head to see your face. Then move your face or a bright toy from side to side to encourage side to side movement. If baby continually only moves to one side, take note and speak to your physician at your next visit.
3. LAP SOOTHE: Mom sits in a chair and places baby face down across her lap. Mom can have both legs the same height or raise one leg to elevate baby’s shoulders. Keep a hand on baby’s bottom to help stabilize the baby on your knees.
4. TUMMY-DOWN CARRY: This is a good alternative to always carrying your baby upright. Mom’s hand supports his tummy by putting Mom’s hand between his legs and supporting his chest with her other hand supporting his head and shoulders. Baby should be nestled close to mom’s body to give added support. This is a good way of carrying baby room to room – great for dads also!
Interesting Fun Facts!
1. Human brain is Immature at Birth – only survival mechanisms are fully connected while higher cognitive areas of the brain are not connected but waiting for sensory motor input to connect.
2. Human brain increased its thinking capacity by folding (adding grooves) eons ago. This increased our thinking capacity by 67% (for comparison, rats have no grooves at all).
3. During the FIRST MONTH of life, our brain will increase its connections by 20 fold – about 700 new connections form each SECOND up to 4 years of age – dependent on our experiences/environment.
5. TUMMY MINUTE: Incorporate Tummy Time into your daily routine (do a few minutes after diapering). Use a rolled up receiving blanket to place under baby’s chest and upper arms to lift. Add a few minutes of Tummy Time after each diapering, for instance. Use mirrors and toys to encourage baby to raise their heads and follow the toy’s movement.