Tummy time helps the baby develop motor skills. (Source: Pexels)
With tummy time, that is, making the baby lie on his or her stomach while awake under supervision, your baby learns to lift up their head. It strengthens your baby's neck and muscles and helps develop gross motor skills, which eventually helps them achieve other milestones like crawling. It also prevents them from getting a flat head.
"Tummy time can be started any time or immediately after birth. It should be done initially only for a few minutes; slowly increase to up to 30-45 minutes maximum at a time. It should not be done immediately after a feed, but half an hour to an hour after a feed. Adult supervision is must throughout tummy time," informed Dr Asmita Mahajan, consultant neonatologist and paediatrician, SL Raheja Hospital.
To encourage tummy time, here are some activities you can do with your baby:
Place your baby on your belly or chest
Lie down and place your baby on his or her tummy, on your chest or belly such that your little one is able to lift their head and look up to you. Interact with your child during this time to draw your baby's attention.
Put toys in front
Once your baby is lying on his or her tummy, divert their attention from tummy time by laying out colourful and musical toys in front of them. When your baby starts getting comfortable playing with the toys, put the items at a distance from the child. And you will see your baby trying to reach the toys. This would improve hand-eye coordination and also encourage them to crawl.
Support with extra cloth
For extra support, you can put a rolled-up blanket or sheet or small towel under your baby's chest. This would ensure your baby remains comfortable during tummy time.
Entertain your baby
Apart from toys, you can also keep your child engaged during tummy time by making eye contact and talking to them, smiling or making gestures. You can even place attractive picture books and encourage your baby to look at them.
For playing this game, lie down on your back, with your knees pulled towards your chest. Now, let the baby rest on your legs, tummy down, as you hold his or her arms for balance. Roll your knees back and forth. Make sure your baby is at least a couple of months old before you start doing this exercise.
Here's how you can do it: