Tummy time

5 ways to make tummy time comfortable for your baby

5 ways to make tummy time comfortable for your baby

Tummy time is an important part of baby's development because it helps baby learn how to sit up, crawl, roll over, and eventually stand.

It is never too early to start tummy time with baby; you can get baby started from day one. It is advised that all babies are put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS so baby is comfortable lying on his back but not so comfortable with lying on his stomach. 

Many babies get fussy and cry when you put them on their stomachs making tummy time a difficult or uncomfortable experience. Babies lack neck strength and lying on their tummies forces them to lift up their heads to see, which is a struggle for baby. 

Mom and dad can make tummy time easier for baby with a few tips to help baby get comfortable and soon tummy time will be a breeze!

1. Use a soft, padded play mat. 
Tummy time is a lot more comfortable for babies when you have something super soft and cozy for them to lie on. Find a mat that will capture your baby's attention and give him something to poke at. If you can find one that folds up to be put away, even better.

2. Join baby on the floor.
Baby will feel better during tummy time if he knows that mommy is right there with him. You can lie down opposite from baby on your stomach so you can look at him face-to-face. Baby doesn't have to make too much of an effort to look at mom and you can make funny faces, play peekaboo, or even sing to him to keep him entertained.

3. Prop him up.
Take a rolled up towel or a small nursing pillow and place it under his chest and arms. This will keep him propped up but if he begins rolling forward then place your hand on his bottom. Then you can place a mirror in front of baby so he can look at himself and start interacting. Once baby is able to get up on his forearms by himself you can get rid of the towel or pillow.

4. Start slow.
It will take time for baby to adjust to tummy time so it's best to start slow, especially if baby is very fussy. It's recommended that babies have 30 minutes of tummy time a day but when your baby is first starting out, aim for increments of one or two minutes a day, a couple of times day. Increase the minutes each week until eventually baby reaches 30 minutes a day. Remember that it doesn't have to be 30 minutes in one sitting but can be done in several sessions a day.

5. Place baby on an exercise ball or your shins.
If you put baby tummy down on an exercise ball and gently roll him back and forth, this will make tummy time more enjoyable. You can also change the angle at which baby is placed on the ball which will make it more comfortable or more challenging for baby. You can also lie on your back and bend your knees as you place baby on your shins and raise him up and down slowly until he gets used to the motion.