As moms ourselves, we completely understand the importance of tummy time–we’ve been through it oh, a half-dozen times between all of our kids. We also remember how stressful it was at first, because you’re always hearing how important it is to give your infant tummy time–but no so much about how to do it so that there’s no crying and fussing.
(And we’re not just talking about the baby.)
One of the basics: Having somewhere safe and clean to put the baby, right? That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with our newest sponsor Sleep Made to Measure, which offers a smart collection of 100% organic latex products for kids and adults that are actually designed by health care professionals, to help make tummy time–and of course, sleep in general–a lot better.
Now even though our own kids aren’t babies anymore, we still remember the expert tips and tricks that worked (and those that didn’t) to help make tummy time a success for our babies. We hope sharing these 7 tips for tummy time helps you new parents keep this exciting milestone more fun. There’s nothing like that feeling you get when you first think, he’s lifting his head up! He’s lifting his head up!
1. Timing is everything.
Like everything else that has to do with babies, it’s so important to choose the right time of day to schedule in tummy time. Before you panic about the word schedule, you don’t necessarily have to do it at the same time every day. But y0u’ll want to be sure your baby is fed and alert, which sets you both up for initial success. If you try putting him down on his belly when he’s hungry or tired, he’ll get fussy faster, and you don’t want him to develop a negative association with tummy time. After all, you want him to be willing to try it again. And again. And again. So give it a shot right after a good nap or a good feeding. (And a good burp; or expect some cleanup time in there too.)
2. Keep your baby company.
Tummy time can actually be a sweet opportunity to bond with your baby. Try lying next to him on the floor or right in front of him, nearly head-to-head, until he gets used to it. It will definitely help make your baby feel more comfortable. And hey, while you’re down there, you can get your own little abs workout in. Hey, moms are good at multi-tasking.
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3. Keep the baby comfortable. (Duh, right?)
You’ll want to be sure that your baby is as comfortable as possible, and while you’ve probably figured that hardwood floors aren’t ideal, even carpets aren’t a huge step up. No one likes little knees and feet with carpet burn–not to mention the baby drool in the piles. You can toss down a towel or blanket of course, but we’ve always suggested using good quality organic mats. The Playtime Allergy Barrier mat from Sleep Made to Measure in a nice option–it gives a baby just the right amount of cushioning and protects them from any allergies or icky stuff that might be on your floor. A nice bonus are the textured patterns which offer a little more stimulation for the baby, but not so much that they’re a distraction.
You know we’re big fans of organics, especially when it comes to baby bedding, mats and mattresses, and it’s reassuring that the mat, like all of Sleep Made to Measure products, are made from 100% certified organic latex, making them naturally hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and antifungal. One less thing for new parents to worry about.
Some parents even pop a Playtime Allergy Barrier mat under themselves for a little padding of their own, or for older children who want to get involved in the fun. You’ll definitely find that a mat like this ends up being useful long after tummy time is mastered and checked off in the baby book. Just wait until you need nap mats for preschool!
4. Entertainment is key
We love the idea of giving babies a favorite toy to reach for, or placing a play mirror in front of their eyes so they’re not just staring at the floor. Just remember that at first they won’t be able to keep their head up for very long (we’re talking a few seconds) or to hold it that high above the ground; but as they get stronger, having a little playful incentive nearby will certainly help keep them motivated.
Seriously, those little safety baby mirrors are magical. Babies loooove looking at themselves. Not that we blame them.
5. That being said, don’t overdo it.
As tempting as it might be, you don’t need a hugely overstimulating mat of many colors, or an arsenal of baby toys all over the place during tummy time. In our own experience, less is definitely more. Even if you got a zillion cute toys at your shower and you’re dying to see how your baby reacts to them all.
Remember, babies are learning a new skill and working hard to hold up that big adorable head, so you really don’t need to rely on a mat that’s full of (literal) bells and whistles. Besides, tummy time ends up being a huge photo op for parents (like everything, right?) so we like having a simple matt in all those photos. In other words, put all the focus on that cute baby of yours.
6. Prop your baby up properly.
If you feel like your baby is having a little trouble holding himself up, roll up a little swaddler or small towel and tuck it under his chest like a bolster, until he’s ready to go completely solo. You can always start with something a little bigger and then work your way to a smaller roll as your kiddo starts to get stronger. It also helps with leverage and stability if your baby is barefoot, so take off those slippery little socks–that is, on the outside chance he hasn’t kicked them off himself already. (We remember, sigh.)
7. Take it slowly. There are no prizes in tummy time.
While a lot of experts suggest tummy time 2-3 times a day for up to 5 minutes at a time, don’t try and hit your full recommended tummy time on the first day. Just start out with a successful 15 seconds or so then build over time, always trying to end each session before the baby gets fussy. That is, if you can. If you’re having trouble with a longer period, do a few short tummy time stints during the day when the time seems right. Soon enough your baby is going to love it.
All that said, regardless of any recommended timeframes, you know your baby best–trust yourself! That’s always our number one tip for new parents, no matter what.
Thanks to our sponsor Sleep Made to Measure for allowing us to share our tummy time tips with our readers, and making such thoughtful products for parents and babies.
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