Your baby might not like being laid on their tummy at first, but tummy time has a lot of unexpected benefits that will help your little one develop a whole new range of skills and get them one step closer to those important milestones.
By placing your baby on their stomach when they're awake, it encourages him to lift his head, helping to strengthen his muscles and develop motor skills. It's a great way for you to bond with him, and although he might not like it at first, there are a lot of different ways you can get your baby to enjoy tummy time.
If you're wondering why you hear the words 'tummy time' a lot and what the benefits are, here are 9 ways in which it can help your baby in expected and unexpected ways!
9 unexpected benefits of tummy time
1) Develops muscle strength
Tummy time is a great way of developing your babies muscle strength. They will eventually develop enough strength in their neck, heads, arms and legs, so that they can hold themselves up and eventually starting crawling.
2) Encourages head control
Encouraging head control is important as once your baby has mastered this, every other milestone will follow. Tummy time encourages your baby to start moving and lifting their head a little at a time so that they can explore their surroundings better, and eventually they will be able to hold their own head up and look towards sounds and toys around the room.
3) Helps to prevent flat head
Babies can develop a flat spot on the back of their head if they spend a lot of time laid on their backs, so laying them down for tummy time is a great way of preventing it.
4) Eases gas pain
A baby with trapped wind is not a happy baby and it can be quite distressing, but the gentle pressure on their stomach from tummy time can help relieve gas. Just make sure you wait at least 20 minutes after your baby has fed before starting tummy time.
5) Stimulates senses and cognitive development
Babies develop in so many ways in the first few months, and tummy time can help with cognitive development. They will start to turn their heads towards different sounds that they hear, and eventually rotate on their tummy's to look for sounds. They also become more aware of different textures and surfaces when they are on their tummy, as they can feel the floor beneath their hands.
6) Helps hand eye coordination and visual development
Tummy time exposes your baby to a new environment, as they're usually laid on their back looking at the world upside-down. By being on their tummy, they can learn how to focus their eyes on nearby toys, and it even starts to encourage them to reach out and try to grab objects.
7) Develops motor skills
Once your baby has stronger muscles, tummy time will start to encourage them to kick and push their arms and legs. This will then lead to your little one learning how to shuffle, roll, hold their bodies up with their arms and legs and even start to crawl!
8) Helps baby and parents bond
Skin-to-skin is a great way to bond with your little one, so laying them on your chest for tummy time could be a great way to bond with your little one.
9) Establishes a routine
Routines are great for babies and for parents as it can help you grab a few moments of peace. Making tummy time a part of your little ones routine will help them begin to anticipate it and even kick their little legs in excitement after nap time, knowing that soon they can see the world from their tummy.
Samantha is a mum of one, in a house full of boys and became a volunteer at a Hospice at 11 years old, helping to fundraise for 10 years. Her hobbies are long hikes, coffee tasting, and being a bit of an *obsessive* cleaner.
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