Why tummy time is good for your baby

For the first few weeks of their lives, babies’ necks, arms and shoulders aren’t strong enough to hold their heads and themselves up independently. They should be placed on their backs to sleep, but when awake, you are encouraged to place your baby on their tummy for just a few minutes at a time. It encourages many developmental steps, as well as giving baby a different viewpoint for a few minutes. At Mama Makes Books, we are helping babies enjoy this special time with a book to keep their brains busy while their body is hard at work.

the benefits of tummy time

  • Develops muscles: tummy time helps to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles, allowing your baby to lift their head to look around at their world.
  • Promotes gross motor skills: these are larger movements involving arms, legs and whole body, in contrast to fine motor skills, which involve fingers and toes. As tummy time progresses, you will notice your baby trying to push up with their arms to try and see more. Gross motor skills will eventually be used for crawling, and then walking.
  • Helps prevents flat spots: babies who constantly lie on their backs have more potential to develop flat spots on their head because their skulls are so soft. The scientific name is positional plagiocephaly and it can cause developmental problems.
  • Gives confidence: as your baby learns to do new things, like rolling over, or using their arms to see more, it gives them confidence to try new skills. Being on the tummy also allows for greater interaction with more of their environment.

How to do tummy time with your baby

The best time for tummy time is when your baby is alert and happy – so after a nap or nappy change would be ideal. 

  • To start with, laying your baby on your chest or knees. It’s a great way to try out tummy time whilst bonding with your baby.
  • Build up tummy time gradually. They may not like it at first. Don’t force it if your baby isn’t happy. Start with just a couple of minutes, two or three times a day. Do it every day to get your baby used to it and so they can learn to enjoy their tummy time.
  • Have a nice, clear space ready so your baby is comfortable. Perhaps lie them on a familiar blanket.
  • Put a toy or book in front of them for them to look at and try to focus on. You baby’s vision is blurry in the first two months. Find out more about baby’s vision.
  • Always make sure your baby is supervised when on their tummy. Never leave your baby alone.

things that can help

TUMMY TIME!

A fold-out book to keep babies’ brains busy while their muscles are hard at work. On one side are high-contrast images, designed to attract babies’ attention, with baby photos on the other side, because babies love looking at other babies. There’s a mirror, too, so babies can look at themselves! It can be read like a normal book, too.

Good for
Helping babies to focus and make sense of their blurry world, while developing motor skills and muscles.

BRIGHT STARTS PROP MAT

A floor mat and prop pillow all in one. It has clip on toys and crinkle leaves. The prop pillow detaches, so you can use each part separately or together. Attractive, high-contrast colours and artwork.

Good for
Value for money. It’s ideal for tummy time in the early months until your baby is ready for a more expensive play gym.

BRIGHT STARTS SIT AND SEE FLOOR MIRROR

Ideal for your baby’s self-discovery! It’s a large stand-up mirror, with crinkly leaves and colorful fabric to engage your baby, and it folds flat for easy storage or travel.

Good for
Smiles at tummy time. It’s soft safe and babies love to look at themselves.

Products recommended on Mama’s Blog are because they are good, not because they are paid-for advertising. We are however an Amazon Affiliate for non-book products so we get a few pence for anything bought from a link to this blog.

Article sources:

Life-Span Human Development by Elizabeth Rider and Carol Sigelman
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy: Reading to Babies https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332967998_Reading_to_babies_Exploring_the_beginnings_of_literacy
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2010-02-possibly-links-cognitive-motor-flat.html
https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a25009969/tummy-time