Place to Start Newborn Activity

It’s recommended for babies to do 30-90 minutes of tummy time each day.  This can be divided into multiple sessions.  If this number seems too far away to reach, there is no need to worry.  Try focusing on incorporating as much as you can into your daily routines instead of focusing on reaching a goal time.  Even if you do a little here and there, it will add up.  The more you do it, the more comfortable it will be for baby and caregiver.  Before you know it, you may be surprised that the 90 minute goal of daily tummy time will be an easily obtainable goal.  Here are examples of a place for you to start if you are having a difficult time in tummy time.  Small steps makes a world of difference!

  • Belly First: Every time you set baby down, place him on his tummy first.  For instance, when you change his diaper, set him belly-down before changing.  Aim to do this all week.
  • There’s lots of playtime with him throughout the day.  Aim for 3 playtimes to start and be on the belly as long as he likes.
Advertisements

Football Grip

Another way to get her comfortable in the tummy position is to carry her around with her tummy rested on the inside of your forearm.  It isn’t as rigorous of practice compared to when she is doing tummy time on a flat surface, but it is a great way to transition into that position eventually.  Make sure to do both arms so she gets to practice balance on both sides.  Aim to carry her in this position for at least 15 min.  This will count as 1 round of your 4 daily sessions of tummy time.  Feel free to repeat this exercise.  Also, It’s a good bicep workout for the person carrying.

Pillow or Exercise Ball Tummy Time

This session will count as 1 round of your 3-4 daily sessions of tummy time.  Feel free to repeat this exercise. Using an exercise ball or pillow will allow you to vary the degree of incline for her in tummy time.  The exercise ball is angled everywhere since it is round.  Place her not on top, but on the top side of the ball so that her head is at the top of the incline.  Support her with your hand on her back.  If using a pillow, put her chest at the edge of the pillow so she is propped up.  Make sure your pillow is wide enough for her to place her hands on the pillow as well.  Very the incline based on her comfort.  A baby new or frustrated with tummy time may want a higher angle similar to that when you hold baby on your shoulder.  Eventually, we want her to be able to tolerate the more challenging position, which is on the top of the ball or pillow, for longer periods of time.  When using the ball, practice safety and be aware that it rolls.

If she is very young and this is her first exposure to tummy time, you can pick her up a few minutes (or seconds) into fussing.  Then increase goal to 5 min next time, then 7min, 10min, 12min, and 15min.  Your goal is to get to at least 20min of tummy time 4 times a day or 25min of tummy time 3 times a day.  Make sure to pick a time of day she is alert, calm, and willing.  Don’t worry.  With more practice in these comfy positions while slowing increasing her tolerance, she’ll be able to do classic tummy time on the floor in no time.

Easing into Tummy Time

Try this to make your baby more comfortable and less scared of this position.  Carry and burp your baby up close to your shoulder so that his head is above your shoulder and facing the opposite way you are.  This is an easy way for your baby to get used to pressure on his belly side while being in a comforting position.  It also engages his neck muscles.  Make sure to support his head if he still does not have control of it.  As he gets stronger, you can move him higher and higher above your shoulder.  Aim to hold him in this position at least 15min.  This will count as 1 round of your 4 daily sessions of tummy time.  Feel free to repeat this exercise.

Chest to Chest

Lay on your back and put his tummy on your chest or your tummy, so you will be chest to chest. Try to encourage him to lift his head by talking to him and giving encouraging words.  If he is very young and this is his first exposure to tummy time, you can pick him up a few minutes (or even seconds) into fussing.  Then increase your goal to 5min next time, then 7min, 10min, 12min, and 15min.  Your goal is to get to at least 20min of tummy time 4 times a day or 25min of tummy time 3 times a day.

Tummy Time

Place baby gently on her tummy.  Make sure the surface is not too soft or hard.  A blanket or play mat covering the ground is a good tummy time spot.  Of course, always be next to her. Talk to her and give encouraging, comforting words.  She most likely will not like tummy time at first and will fuss.  That’s OK!  Try for at least 5 min in the beginning, and if she isn’t having it, go ahead and end early.  Slowly increase her tummy time.  If she is still fussy, increase time before picking her up by 2 min every other day.  If she is not fussy, let her play until she gets bored.  A pro at Tummy Time?  Keep engaging her through face to face interaction, words, and toys to help her practice raising her head, chest, and eventually lift with her arms.  Goal of tummy time is at least 25min three times a day.