New parents might be wondering what tummy time is. Tummy time is when babies play while laying on their stomachs. It doesn’t concern feeding your little one. Instead, it’s about developing your baby’s fine motor skills and body functions.
According to experts, tummy time begins as soon as your little one’s umbilical cord falls off and is out of the hospital. But what does your baby get from doing this activity? In this blog post, we will discover how crucial tummy time is and how to make it interactive for your child. Let’s get started!
Benefits of Tummy Time
Take tummy time as your baby’s very first exercise. As exercise, this belly-down activity is a must for good reasons.
Your baby is on a long journey to learning their body parts and how to move them, and it’s your job to nurture their physical development, such as tummy time.
You can compare this baby exercise to a push-up where your little one learns how to push their head, neck, back, and shoulders up using their little hands. As your child develops these key muscles, they will unlock their next milestones, such as crawling, sitting, standing, and walking.
No More Flat Head
Whether sleeping or just lying down, your baby spends most of their time on their backs, leading to Flat Head Syndrome. As the name suggests, it’s a condition when a part of your little one’s head is flat. This is because your baby’s skull is still soft and is prone to reshaping.
So while your baby is awake, allow them to lay on their tummies instead so this syndrome can be avoided or corrected if it’s still a mild condition.
More Brain Power
Your baby functions much more during tummy time as it sends messages from your baby’s brain to their small feet. Not only does it develop fine and gross motor skills, but it also encourages spatial awareness and enhances perception. So, instead of seeing the world from a bottom-view angle, they can view it from a new perspective, which is how they will see things soon.
Quality Bonding Time
Newborns and infants sleep up to nineteen hours daily. Meanwhile, they spend the rest of their time eating and pooping. So even though tummy time only takes minutes, it’s still a great bonding opportunity with your baby while they’re awake.
How to Do Tummy Time
Tummy time is best done when your baby wakes up from a good nap. Times to avoid having tummy time are:
- When your baby has just finished being breastfed because they might get an upset stomach.
- When your baby is sleeping, this might cause a fatal condition called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Next, simply let your baby lay flat on the floor for three to five minutes, depending on your baby’s comfort level. If your little one starts to cry, stop tummy time and repeat it at a later time. Experts recommend doing this thrice a day until six months of age.
Things You Need to Make Tummy Time More Fun
Like any new activity, you’ll have to see things the way your child sees them. So it has to be exciting and bright. Before starting tummy time, here are some things to prepare to make it more fun for you and your baby.
Baby Play Mat
Some parents resort to a bed or a blanket, which may be too soft for your baby to push themselves up, and may result in injuries. So the best platform for tummy time is a foam play mat for babies.
Can it be a regular gym mat or the foam mats found in home refurbishing stores? It depends on how safe this mat is for your little one. First, you must remember that whatever surface you’ll be letting your baby lie on should be cushiony, odorless, and, most importantly, hypoallergenic.
If your mat’s material is safe to use, you must also consider whether your baby will be excited about it. For example, is it just a solid color, or does it have bright colors and cool patterns? Do you think your little one will be interested in some adorable drawings on their play mats? It helps if your play mat can attract your baby’s attention, so they are motivated to move their bodies.
Don’t stop with just baby mats. Kids love grabbing every toy they find. From plushies to activity gym play sets, you can make your kid’s playmat into a toy-filled jungle. Here are our top picks that will surely keep your kid intrigued.
- Mirror toys. When your baby sees themselves in their mirror toy, they can’t help but instinctively move towards the reflection. It enhances their vision, motor skills, and social development.
- Xylophone. Any musical instrument can encourage your kids to move, thus strengthening their bodies. Plus, music stimulates their brain’s executive function.
- Sensory toys. As your baby explores the baby mat zones, it’s fun to scatter toys with different shapes and textures to develop your child’s five senses. For example, you can fill a Ziploc bag with water and small, colorful trinkets. Your child will surely enjoy this DIY sensory play.
- Activity gym. This structure playset includes dangling toys hung on bars so kids can attempt to grab ahold of them. It can be as minimal or as elaborate as your budget allows.
Sometimes, a little support is all your newborn baby needs to motivate them to crawl. Simply putting a firm but soft pillow on their chest can offer them the push they need to explore more of their play space.
Boost Tummy Time With Ashtonbee’s Interactive Play Mats
Tummy time is an activity you can’t exclude from your child’s routine. So with our list of fun baby play mats and toys, your baby will enjoy tummy time every time.
If you’re on the hunt for the best baby play mat, check out Ashtonbee’s selection of play mats! You can choose from reversible folding mats to foam mats with fences. They;re not only fun for newborns but older babies as well. Get your interactive play mats from Ashtonbee today!