Every parent is taught that their baby needs to sleep on their back, because it’s the safest position, but what about needing tummy time? Tummy time helps babies develop neck and torso strength. I spoke with Hindi Zeidman, baby expert and founder of The Ollie Swaddle, about the importance of tummy time and she explains, why your baby gradually needs time on their tummy to help them reach milestones during their first year of life.
What are some of the benefits of tummy time?
Hindi Zeidman: Laying your little one on her tummy helps to strengthen her motor skills that include raising her head, rolling over, and eventually sitting up. But that’s not all. Tummy time will benefit your little one’s brain development as well. She will see her world from a different perspective helping her to become more aware of her surroundings.
How long should tummy time last?
Hindi Zeidman: Pediatric recommendations range from 30-60 minutes of tummy time each day, whether it happens all at once or is spread throughout the day in smaller increments. By the time your little one is three months old, she should be getting at least 90 minutes of tummy time every day. Studies have shown that infants who get this amount of tummy time are quicker to reach milestones in the first years of life.
At first, your little one will probably cry during tummy time because it will feel much different. Start slow, letting your baby lay on her tummy for a few minutes at a time, building up for longer periods.
I remember when I was running my daycare. I had one child that simply HATED tummy time. I would have to find ways to almost “trick” him into enjoying it. What are some tips you recommend for making tummy time fun?
Hindi Zeidman: Your newborn will want nothing more than to be held and cuddled. Try lounging back on the couch and letting your little one have tummy time on your torso and chest. Since your newborn can’t see very far from her face, this is the perfect introduction to tummy time.
As you transition to tummy time on her own, try laying her on her tummy up high—like on your bed—where you can sit and interact with her. Since she can’t lift her head very far yet, this will help her be able to see more of her surroundings than she would on the floor. Of course if you do this, it is very important that you stay right beside her so she doesn’t wiggle off of the bed.
Once you’re ready to lay your little one on the floor for tummy time, try using a play mat with bright colors and toys to help peak her interest. If she is distracted and entertained, she will be less likely to fuss because she wants to be held or is uncomfortable. Remember that the idea of tummy time is to challenge her muscles and help her to gain independence.
Until she is able to hold her head up on her own, you may try propping her up on a pillow so that she can see more of what’s around her. A pillow will also help cushion her so that she is more comfortable than laying flat on a hard floor. However, keep in mind that sleep safety recommendations include removing fluffy pillows from the crib, so stay with your little one while she is laying on the pillow.
Remember, your little one is picking up on all of your cues and looking to you for encouragement. By interacting and staying positive even if she gets fussy, you are showing her that everything is okay.
About our expert Hindi Zeidman
The Ollie Swaddle was created by Hindi Zeidman who invented it for a baby boy named Oliver, her foster baby that wasn’t thriving. The Ollie Swaddle helps ensure baby feels calm, peaceful and comforted so babies sleep better and longer. Its patented luxuriously soft moisture-wicking material speeds up moisture absorption and diffusion keeping baby comfortable and preventing overheating. The elasticity in the fabric offers baby freedom of movement decreasing the possibility of hip dysplasia while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. And the soft, gentle colors of the new Ollie Nature Collection are designed to soothe and calm baby, promoting restful sleep.
Swaddling your baby also assists in reducing spontaneous arousal, maintains the supine position, reduces the risk of SIDS, and improves neuromuscular development in preemies. See The Ollie Collection at https://theollieworld.com/ collections/all-products