Tummy time: 10 playful ways to make it fun for your baby

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Babies at 2 months are very much active in getting the tummy down position which is probably one of the most important milestones to be achieved. The entire act of prone lying is a step by step process–

  1. Straight lying with face upward
  2. Side lying with head turned to one side (left or right)
  3. Chest and tummy down 
  4. Followed by head and neck control and lifting

This milestone develops at different phases in babies. Some might develop as early as 2 months and some get it around 3 months as well. But the process remains the same. 

Benefits for the child

  • It is the first step to initiate crawling
  • It helps in head and neck control.
  • It strengthens the paraspinal and abdominal muscles.
  • It enhances the synergistic pattern in both upper and lower limbs.
  • It improves the gross motor and proprioceptive skills.

Research says , it is seen that the early babies try to get in the tummy position, the more easy it becomes for them to crawl and sit.

 But sometimes the babies get this developmental milestone at late in 2 month, which becomes a concern for the parents. But does not imply any abnormality in children.

To initiate early prone lying and crawling, maximum duration should be spent on “tummy time”. There are various activities that can be performed by the mother to achieve the crawling in children early.

When and for how long :

You can start putting your little one on her belly when you become confident enough to handle her little body. 

Do not practice this right after feeding her. Pressure on her belly may make her throw up. Best time to do this wonder exercise is when she is well alert and less likely to fall asleep, like right after a nap or after changing her diaper. 

You can start by trying it for 2/3 minutes at a stretch and then increase the time gradually.

Activities

  • Back massage is the best way to make her lie in her belly. When she loves the oiling on the back. It can be done for 10 minutes by placing the baby in prone (head down position) and massaging the back.
  • Take a quadruped position in front of your baby, and let the baby try this .
  • While sleeping, put the baby in side lying position as much as possible.
  • Place some toys at the side (left/right) of the baby ,so that she tries to hold them by facing towards it.
  • Place a mirror in front of her.
  • Recline on your back and keep her close to your chest with tummy down position and facing towards you. Interact with her as long as she is calm .
  • Place the baby on a colourful mat with letters and pictures which will attract her.
  • Use ‘lap technique’ with tummy down position, While burping
  • Show the milk bottle in front, side , in all directions so that she tries to role over on tummy.
  • Place the baby in tummy down position on a big gym ball with full support and rock her to and fro.

Precautions-

  • Never let your baby sleep on her tummy. If she falls asleep, turn her to her back for nap. Sleeping on her tummy may increase her chances of dying of SID (out bound link)
  • Never leave the baby unattended on her tummy and on bed with open edges. She may get into some difficult postures while doing this workout, that could be harmful for her. Also the chances of rolling off the bed is higher when she practices tummy time. 
  • Remove any sharp objects present nearby.
  • Look for objects that the baby takes in mouth.
  • Remove caps and blankets from baby, so that she does not cover up herself.

Every milestone is unique, and have its own importance. Children should be encouraged to achieve them naturally without restrictions but with full guidance .


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