During the first year of life, children undergo an enormous amount of development. While most of these changes take place while they are sleeping, there are a few things that you can do during the day to assist their development. One of the most important things you can do to help your newborn’s development is consistently doing tummy time with them. This blog is dedicated to the basics of tummy time, and we hope you will find it beneficial.

Tummy Time is Simple

There is no need to overcomplicate the situation because tummy time is just placing your child on their belly and allowing them to explore the world from that position. While they are on their stomach, it is necessary to make sure their arms and legs are underneath of them to help support their body and keep their head off the ground. Make sure that you place your newborn on a low firm surface (blankets are okay too) to help avoid any mishaps or injuries. As your child grows, they will eventually begin rolling over and keeping them low to the ground contributes to keeping them from experiencing a big fall.

What’s the Point?

Tummy time is crucial in helping your baby strengthen their neck and core muscles that are so important for stability while sitting, crawling, standing, and walking. Since your child is not born with the mobility, they will have as a toddler it is necessary to work on building the muscles they’ll require to become mobile. As an added benefit, allowing your child to spend time on their stomach regularly helps prevent positional plagiocephaly (sometimes referred to as a flat head) that is often a result of a baby spending large amounts of time on their back.

How Long?

The session durations for tummy time can differ significantly depending on the age of your child. As their muscles continue to develop, they will be able to stay on their stomach for more time, and longer sessions will become standard. If your infant gets fussy or has difficulty holding their head up, it is advisable to stop your session immediately. Allow your child to rest and recover before their next session.

Check out this recording about tummy time from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) series called “A Minute for Kids.”