120 Minutes of Tummy Time
120 minutes of tummy time (yes, it's that specific) has been shown to increase motor skills compared to children who didn't experience tummy time.
Early on, tummy time is the best thing you can do for your baby's motor skills. This does not mean that your baby comes out of the womb ready for two hours of tummy time a day... please don't do that! What it means is that 120 minutes a day is what you need to work up to over several months. Try doing several sessions a day with your baby and working up to more and more time per session.
Remember, it's not just what your baby can tolerate, your tolerance is also important. No one should be stressed out trying to obtain this. If you and your baby are struggling with tummy time, please talk to your pediatrician or pediatric therapist.
When can I start Tummy Time with my baby?
You can start tummy time with your newborn with some considerations like positioning for comfort and safety as discussed below.
What does Tummy Time mean?
Baby propped up on your chest
Propped up with a boppy pillow under armpits
Positioned with towel rolls under the armpits
And eventually flat on the tummy when your baby is ready
Basically, the higher the incline the easy it is for your baby to be on their tummy since gravity is assisting in the positioning. The stronger your baby gets, the less the incline needs to be and the more challenging it is.
How can I tell if my baby is ready to be laid flat on their tummy without being propped up?
When your baby is able to lift his or her head to clear their mouth and gently place their cheek on the floor looking outward to both sides.
Why is tummy time so important anyways?
Extension... this is how we shape the spine
Think of the curve of your neck and low back
Develops shoulder stability
Which later helps with crawling and hand use for feeding and handwriting
Helps with sight
Your baby learns to converge the eyes and focus on objects close up
Sensory input to hands
This prepares for crawling, feeding, and handwriting (Again!)
Vestibular input and weight shifting all of which prepares a baby for crawling
I explain why crawling is so important in my Free E-Book Help Your Baby Walk at the bottom of the page!