Tummy time is essential for your baby’s development. But why, and what exactly is it? Our 0-2 Years Programme Coordinator Marion Byrne, from NCI’s Early Learning Initiative, has some tips for parents for getting your little one comfy on his or her tum!
What is tummy time? Quite simply, this is when you place your baby on their stomach on a firm flat surface, such as a blanket or mat on the floor.
Why does your baby need tummy time? As babies are recommended to sleep on their backs, they are spending less time on their tummies.
Tummy time helps to:
- strengthen your baby’s neck, back, shoulders and arms, leading to greater head control
- give your baby a chance to move their arms and legs in a different way, developing their gross motor skills, helping them learn to roll over and eventually to crawl
- helps their vision and hand eye coordination.
When is the best time? You can start tummy time right from birth and try to make it part of your daily routine. Choose times when your baby is alert, cheerful and in the mood to play, like after a nappy change or bath. Ensure enough time has passed since your baby has eaten. Some babies don’t like tummy time; start with a short time and build it up slowly. You can also lie down beside them for reassurance or place a toy or small mirror in front of your baby.
For safety’s sake, you should only do this while your baby is awake and you or another responsible caregiver keeps close watch. Do not let your baby sleep on their tummy.
Get more early childhood education advice, read more about the Early Learning Initiative at NCI, or, if you are interested in learning more about the 0-2 Years Programme at National College of Ireland, you can contact Marion at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 01 4498635.
Questions? Feedback? Leave us a comment below. All commenters on NCI's blog get added to a raffle, to win a weekend away!