Unless instructed by the Pediatrician, the first time parents have no knowledge as to when to start tummy time for the newborn babies. Usually, the baby should be trained to lie on the stomach or for tummy time training to strengthen the abs, neck, shoulder, abdominal and eye muscles. Baby’s lying on stomach also helps in reducing the chance of having a flat head. The tummy time starts soon after baby’s arrival from the hospital as per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Have a bed for the baby right next to yours so that the child remains safe throughout and always stays at arm’s length.
It is recommended to start playing with the baby when she or he is alert and fully attentive. It is prudent to let the child have the tummy time two to three times daily in the beginning and increase the time duration gradually. Initially, tummy time may be less than a minute twice daily. The number of occasions and the length of times gets increased gradually to 40 to 60 minutes of tummy time daily.
Babies do not like lying on the tummy to start with, but in any case, go ahead let it be less than a minute even if she or he cries or fussy. Use a blanket or carpet and place the baby with the stomach to the ground. It is best to put the baby to have the tummy time right after changing the diaper. Turn the baby around on his tummy and put a little pressure on baby’s bum and put the baby’s forearms in front of the shoulders and the chest. That encourages the child to lift up the head a bit and start strengthening the neck muscles. Around six weeks the baby shall start to watch your face and start to stabilize the eyes. Put your hands on the chest and let the child keep the head in center. It is beginning of language and attention, recognition, and thinking between two of you. See the YouTube video link given below.
Ensure no toys or pillows or anything that obstructs her view, lie near baby’s head. Catch baby’s attention by singing or making sounds that please her or him. Ensure that her tummy remains flat on the floor. It would be best if you can bring your face in line with her or his face. Ensure that baby lies on a hard surface and soon after awakened or right after the diaper change. Make tummy time fun with rattling playthings and lots of face time with you. Ultimately, your baby will get used to being on his tummy and start to enjoy freedom in this position.
A child starts lifting the head on her own by the age of three months. While doing this, the baby will begin in due course roll over initially and then crawl and finally, sit and walk. The child begins to support her with arms throughout the motions when lying on the belly
Always accompany the baby when on the tummy. Ensure that any pets or kids or toddlers do not stick around and are away from harm’s way. It is because she may fall off to sleep when tired and get suffocated and be a case of SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Do not let your baby be alone while he is on his tummy as he could get into a position that is vulnerable. Baby can get frustrated quickly, so lay down on the floor beside her or him and make ridiculous faces or sing songs!