Tummy time is so important for baby's healthy development. Health care providers clearly recommend putting babies on their backs to sleep, to reduce the risk of SIDS. However too much time on their backs in addition to time kept in one position in infant carriers can lead to other issues such as infant flat head and may slow down movement development. It's important for babies to have exploration time on their tummies. Tummy time leads to so many benefits namely:
reduce infant flat head
improve muscle tone in back, arms, neck and core
develop vision and spatial awareness
Experts agree that infants should spend lots of time on their tummies starting with a few short bouts per day when they are first born. This time should increase to about 30 minutes per day by the time they are 3-4 months old. The down side; babies commonly dislike tummy time. Why? There are so many reasons, but mainly it is a workout! Tummy time on the floor often puts baby out of sight lines of so many interesting faces and action. Imagine yourself doing push ups or trying to hold a plank position on the floor, while your friends and family members are pacing around you or standing up staring down at you. Yuck.
Music is such a great motivator for so many reasons, and since MusiGo Kids is all about leveraging the power of music, of course I am going to give you some song suggestions to make your baby's workout more fun and effective. Here is a list of songs I love to pair with Tummy Time. Below you will find 5 songs paired with 5 exercises that will make baby's workout a happy one, and guess what, you can benefit physically from engaging in these activities too!
The most effective way to engage your baby during tummy time is to join them on the floor. Put your belly on the floor and face your baby mimicking their position. From this position you can drop your head down and pick it up and say hello. Talk, sing or make faces at your baby. Then to increase your own fitness, push up into a plank position and hold.
This exercise can be done from the same position as the first. You are on your belly facing baby on the floor. Lay down flat and rub baby's back gently during the verse. When the lyrics say Peek a Boo, lift yourself up to a push up and lower yourself down again, repeat your push ups as you make faces at baby. If your baby is about 3 months old, you can gently hold baby's hand on the floor to encourage them to push up with their arms as well.
Lie down on your back and bring your knees up to your chest, keeping your lower legs parallel to the floor. This allows for a nice supportive surface to place your baby on. Now your baby is looking down from above you. This position is fun for baby and puts a little less strain on their neck muscles while still allowing them to activate neck and back. While in this position you could sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat while bringing your knees slightly in and out, on the lyrics "merrily, merrily, merrily merrily..." bounce your baby gently by slightly raising your feet up and down. This exercise will help both you and baby to develop balance and core strength.
This exercise can be done from the same position as Row, Row, Row Your Boat. This time wrap your arms around your baby and sway them gently from side to side during the verse while they are lying tummy down on your legs. During the chorus, hold baby's hands and stretch their arms out to the sides while rocking them forwards and backwards.
This is a fun song that can be done either sitting forward on a chair or on a stability ball. The stability ball offers a little more fun factor and core training for you but a chair may be more readily available. Sit with your knees at just over a 90 degree angle. Lie baby on your lap tummy down. Every time you sing the lyrics "sea, sea, sea" move your hips from side to side. To add interest, modify the song this way: during the second verse sing "chop, chop, chop" and bounce the baby up and down. For the final verse sing "shoop do wap" and rotate your hips all around. End the song by repeating all three in a row "sea, sea, sea, chop, chop, chop, shoop do wap".
If your baby is having trouble holding their head up, resulting in bumping their forehead on the floor consider propping them up on a nursing pillow or doing these activities on foam mats as shown in the video.
There are so many ways to enjoy tummy time with your baby. Comment below to share your favourite techniques!