Life with a newborn is magical but man is it exhausting. When our son was born, I wondered if I would ever sleep again. My brain was foggy from learning all about how to care for another human while getting barely any time to myself. I kept reading about the importance of doing tummy time but I didn’t know how to fit it in. So one day I just decided to attempt tummy time after every diaper change and every feeding. And voila! Suddenly, tummy time became part of our routine and wasn’t so overwhelming anymore. More importantly, I was amazed at how quickly our son gained neck strength from doing tummy time consistently.
What is Tummy Time?
So let’s back up real quick. Do you know what tummy time is? It’s when you lay an infant on their tummy, in order to build their neck and back strength. This strength helps them be able to hold their head steady on their neck, learn to sit up, and eventually be able to crawl.
How much Tummy Time Should we Do?
You can begin tummy time the day you get home from the hospital. The traditional tummy time includes your child just laying on their stomach on a firm but soft, surface. It’s great but it’s not the only way you can accomplish tummy time with your little one. You can get down on the floor with them, in order to be eye level and help them enjoy the process.
You can also prop them up with a small tummy time mat. Did you know there are special pillows made especially for this purpose? We leave a tummy time mat in every room now because they’re so simple and make tummy time fun, especially on those extra fussy days where we can use all the extra help we can get.
Even just reclining back in a chair and placing your baby on your chest is a great way to squeeze in tummy time for newborns, especially if you’re craving some of those sweet infant snuggles. While it may seem impossible, you really do want to try to squeeze tummy time into your day at least 10 different times. It doesn’t need to last a long time, I promise! And if your child begins to cry, go ahead and pick them up! You don’t ever want them to dislike tummy time, especially since it’s easy to just try again later!
How do we Fit Tummy Time Into Our Day?
At first, tummy time may only last 30 seconds and your child’s head may stay glued to the floor. But as your baby gets stronger, they’ll be more comfortable and will gradually work their way up to 5 minutes or more with every attempt. By around three-months-old, your goal is that your child should be doing tummy time for at least one hour every day. So if you place them down in tummy time after each feeding and each diaper change, it should give you plenty of opportunities to reach an hour of tummy time each day. This is also a great way to interact with your child.
What Else Can We Do?
Keeping your little one busy and engaged is so beneficial for their development, but it’s also helpful for you! Ever wonder how moms get free time? It’s because their kids are engaged in an activity that allows them a few minutes to sip their coffee or prep dinner! Those little moments of focus really add up for you and your child. They begin to teach your newborn how to play independently, and they help you get back some much-needed time.
Wondering what activities to do with your newborn once you get home?
Grab the free guide to supporting your newborn!