Tummy time is serious business! Not only does it help the development of your baby's neck and shoulder muscles, it's also an opportunity for your baby to start to enjoy movement and play.
You can start to incorporate tummy time as soon as possible, but it's important to remember there is no rush—it's not uncommon for babies to dislike it to start with. Start slow, even as short as a minute at a time, before building up to 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a day. This process can and should take 3-4 months, so there's no hurry! The end goal is for your baby to roll over on their own, this could start as early as 6-7 months, but may take as long as 9-10 months. It's important to remember that every baby will develop at their own pace, there's plenty of time and no need to worry if they don't get it immediately.
How to start incorporating tummy time:
- Start by gently laying your baby tummy-down on a flat, soft surface. A blanket or activity mat on the floor is perfect, but time spent with them on lying on your stomach or lap is great too. For floor time, we recommend using a play mat or sheepskin to keep germs directly out of their face. From playful animal prints (like those on the Mister Fly playmats) to classic muslin cloths, to luxurious sheepskin, there's an option to suit every parent.
- Engage with your baby—this is not only great for bonding, but it helps encourage them to look up at you, strengthening their muscles. You can also try using a mirror to capture their attention. Toys placed in front of your baby so that they have to reach for them is a great way to introduce movement while keeping them entertained.
- Keep it fun! Play with your baby, read, sing, help them move their arms around—this should be a fun process for them.
- If your baby dislikes tummy time, take a step back, and revisit your attempts in a few days or even a week. As mentioned earlier, there's no rush!
As your baby gets stronger and starts to develop, they will begin to enjoy the opportunity to play with you, to play with toys, and to observe the world around them. If you're stuck for ways to engage them or are simply looking for a new toy to keep tummy time interesting, pop into your nearest Hatch store, or check out our extensive online catalog.