Infant Tummy Time
Also: Tummy Time for Infants
Tummy time is important to help your infant develop neck strength, and avoid any unequal flattening of their head (called plagiocephaly.) Traditional tummy time, where an infant is simply placed on their stomach, requires them to lift their head before moving it side to side. The following options help provide additional neck support to encourage more head turning- all should be done while supervised. Try to do these exercises for short periods of time (5-10 minutes) several times a day:
- Baby held flat over your thighs, with one leg supporting the shoulders/chest.
- Baby lying belly down/head up on your thighs with your knees bent up (they will be looking away from you- place a mirror or have another person entertain them from the front, encouraging them to look from side to side.)
- Baby on your own tummy facing you.
- Place a rolled up towel under their shoulders/upper chest for support while on their tummy.
- Use a breastfeeding pillow to support their shoulders/upper chest while on their tummy.
- Hold baby upright on your shoulder and encourage them to look both right and left (you may notice your infant developing a gaze preference based on which side you carry them, try to alternate holds/arms as much as possible.)
- Hold baby on their tummy draped over a large bounce ball.
- Hold baby over your hand/palm and forearm while rocking back and forth (airplane position.)