When you hear about tummy time and baby milestones in general, you'll often hear of expectations, stress and potential failures.
I want you to hear opportunity. Opportunity for your baby to develop head control, muscle strength, and bond with you.
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When should I start tummy time with my newborn? It is a question I get asked daily from new mums and dads all over the world.
You can start from Day 1!
This doesn't mean putting your newborn down on the play mat on their tummy on their own, tummy time can be on your chest, in your arms or even in the carrier.
Tummy Time is great for so many reasons.
Your little one is all curled up in the womb for 9 months, tummy time helps them stretch out and strengthen the neck, back, shoulder and leg muscles - all important for crawling.
It also helps your little ones balance, sensory and visual system develop and prevents head flattening.
I have a saying,
Watch your baby, not the clock.
It is important to watch your little one and respond to their cues.
Babies don't always love being alone on their tummy. If your bub isn't a fan I would encourage you to help them practice tummy time in little bits often, like rolling over after a nappy change and having an eye to eye chat.
And if your respond to their little noises and signals of happiness they will know you are there to help and instead of becoming more and more frustrated, they will more likely build their tolerance of tummy time.
Sometimes it can feel like you do micro tummy time sessions at 1 month, 2 months and 3 months before things just click. This is ok, your little one is learning about their body and this big world and the most important things is your relationship, building that security and attachment.
This depends on your baby!
Some babies are desperate to be fed immediately and you would not tolerate anything but feeding if they are hungry.
Other babies are very spewy / refluxy and they might tend to vomit straight after a feed if placed on their tummy.
The best thing to do would be to find what your baby likes best. Sometimes, in the first few months, using a pregnancy wedge or a pillow to create a soft incline helps minimise the spewing in tummy time (less pressure on your baby's tummy and a nice incline).
Tummy time should not result in crying.
There are so many different ways we can build strength, balance and body awareness (and prevent flat head) apart from tummy time.
Firstly try micro sessions of tummy time (of what they can tolerate without cryin) and baby carriers.
Also try picking up your little one by rolling them to the side first.
If you are still stuck try downloading our Ultimate Tummy Time Guide or joining the Baby Play Academy (the ultimate tummy time guide is in their for free!).
No not necessarily.
The tummy time pillows that come with the play mats are quire large and work best for older, bigger bubs (3-4 months and up)
There are great water proof and/or wipeable mats which make for easy water play and clean up after spewy babies, my favourites are Rudie Nudie Designs (great for outdoor adventures too) or Grace and Maggie Play mats if these are in your budget.
It is all about creating a firm (but soft) surface for your little one - a quilted rug is fantastic too, rudie nudie tummy time is one of my favourite activity suggestion to build your little ones tolerance and enjoyment of tummy time - it just means a bit more washing and problem solving if its not waterproof.
In short, yes.
Tummy time, or "prone play" has been shown to help reflux however I know from experience how frustrating it is to have a baby that spews every time your put baby on their tummy.
Adding an incline support - such as a pregnancy wedge, is a great way to reduce reflux symptoms in tummy time for younger babies (0-4 months)
Fortunately, although it looks like a lot of milk, the volume is not as much as you think. Keep an eye on your baby's weight and make sure it isn't dropping - if it is check in with your GP.