Every time I put my baby on the floor, Grandma said, “She’s going to catch a chill!” I mean, really…WHO puts their baby on the floor? Well, guess what?? The floor is one of the BEST places your baby can spend time! And not just on the floor, but *GASP* on their BELLY! Baby may think this is a terrible idea, but I’m here today to tell you exactly WHY it’s a WONDERFUL and BENEFICIAL idea!
Now, I’m not suggesting putting your baby on a cold or dirty floor. The ideal space is a safe, comfortable spot…maybe in the living room, on the clean carpet, maybe on a blanket on the floor. The more they can move, the bigger the blanket! Babies can also play in tummy time up on a Boppy pillow (resting under the armpits), or even across your lap!
Why would we want them on their belly? This is what we refer to as “TUMMY TIME”. The benefits are endless. With the “Back to Sleep” movement (which significantly decreased the incidence of SIDS)…babies don’t have that opportunity to wake up on their bellies and push up tall to call us. So, we need to find time during the day for baby to be on the belly during play! I do not recommend putting baby on their belly immediately after a feeding. The pressure from the floor may cause discomfort or spitting up.
Here’s why we like Tummy Time! They get stronger! Head and neck muscles strengthen as they lift up and turn their head. This muscle development also aids in digestion and breathing, since weight is shifted all around. This also reinforces upper back strength, and arm strength, as they need these muscles for rolling, sitting and crawling. Tummy Time will also relieve pressure to the back of the head, which can lead to plagiocephaly or torticollis.
I loved sitting on the floor with my babies…maybe propping one up over my leg in a practice crawl position, or with my lower leg under their armpits for support. Or lying on my belly alongside them or facing them to encourage them to lift their head. Once we got that head up, we started moving toys or books on either side to encourage turning the head.
Babies will let you know when they are ready for a break…sometimes as soon as they get down there! It’s never too early to start Tummy Time. If your baby resists it, try slowly increasing the amount of time, and offer a calm reassuring touch and voice to let them know that everything is okay.
How did your baby do with tummy time? How early did you start? Share with us!