Tummy time with a newborn is always a hot topic of conversation. And it’s something you’ll hear about a lot over the coming weeks! You may have already heard about it. And if you have, you may be thinking, is it necessary when they’re so little? And how do I start doing tummy time?
All of these questions are normal and they’re ones that I had when my baby was born. So I put together a list of everything I’ve learned.
Keep reading to find out:
If tummy time is safe for your newborn.
When it’s the best time to start.
How long to do it for
Different ways you can hold your baby that count as tummy time
Knowing all of these things and trying the different holds will help your baby get used to tummy time straight away. And help their physical development.
Is Tummy Time Safe For Newborns?
Yes! Tummy time is safe for your newborn as long as you’re watching them and they’re awake.
When Do I Start Doing Tummy Time With My Baby?
You can start giving your newborn tummy time as soon as they’re home from the hospital. They’re never too young to start. In fact, putting your baby on their front often, means they’re less likely to hate it.
Tip: If your baby has health issues, ask for advice from professionals before you start tummy time.
How Do You Do Tummy Time With a Newborn?
You should aim to give your newborn a few tummy time sessions throughout the day. And each one should last no longer than 2 or 3 minutes.
This short amount of time is plenty for your newborn at first. They’ll be using so many different muscles, it’ll be a workout for them!
Now you know that tummy time is safe for your healthy newborn, and how long they should lay on their front for. It’s time to look at how you do tummy time with a newborn.
Newborn Tummy Time Positions
There are a few different positions and holds that count as tummy time. They include:
- Tummy to tummy
- The tiger in the tree hold
- Laying your baby across your lap
Trying these different holds will get them used to laying on their stomach. Which will help them when they have tummy time on the floor.
Hold Your Baby On Your Chest
Holding your baby on your chest is a great way to start tummy time with a newborn. And it’s probably something you’ll find yourself doing naturally.
But, your baby will only be able to strengthen their muscles if they’re working against gravity. So you need to make sure you’re sitting in the right position.
First, find somewhere comfortable to sit like the sofa or your bed. Place your baby on your chest. And then lay back at a 45 degree angle.
Your newborn will love listening to the gentle rhythm of your heart beating. And this hold is great to use during skin to skin time with your baby.
Your baby may roll in this position so make sure you’re always holding onto them.
Try this position when you are fully awake so there’s no chance of you falling asleep
Lay Your Baby Across Your Lap
Laying your baby face down, across your lap, is another tummy time position you can try. It’s also a great way to burp your baby too.
To do it, first, sit down somewhere comfortable (make sure you’re sitting upright.) Then lay your baby face down across your thighs. Make sure their head’s turned to one side. Then use one hand to keep them steady. And pat or rub their back with the other hand.
Tip: Make sure your baby’s head is higher than their body. It will stop the blood rushing to their head.
If you’re trying this position for the first time, you may find it easier to sit on a bed.
Check it out this video for a more in-depth explanation of this hold – Laying Your Baby Across Your Lap For Winding and Tummy Time.
Use The Tiger In the Tree Hold
The tiger in the tree hold is a great way to do tummy time with a newborn. It’s also known as the American football hold, Lazy Lion hold or Colic hold. This position gives your baby time on their front and will help calm them. It also helps to ease wind too. So it’s a great one to learn!
You will be standing up when holding your baby in this position. Your baby’s tummy will be resting on your arm. And they’ll be able to rest their head in the crook of your arm or lift it up for short periods.
To do this hold, first pick up your baby as you usually would and hold them to your chest. Next, turn them around so they’re facing outwards. Hold them so that your right hand is under their left armpit. And use your left hand to hold them between their legs. This hand should be holding the front of their nappy.
Now take the hand that was under their armpit. And move so that it rests on top of the hand that’s holding the front of your baby’s nappy. Then turn your little one so that their tummy is laying on your forearm and their head is resting in the crook of your arm.
The tiger in the tree hold is quite hard to explain without showing. So here’s a video to help.
Lay Your Baby On the Floor On Their Front
Once your baby is getting used to tummy time, try doing it on the floor. You’ll first need to make sure the area is clean and comfortable. A baby activity mat is ideal for this.
Lay next to or in front of them so they can see you – it’ll reassure them. You’ll need to get quite close because your newborn can’t see very far at first. Talk to your baby, sing and make funny faces. It’s also a perfect time to introduce black and white high contrast cards to them too.
Tips: Your newborn is likely to be cheek down with their knees bent under their hips at first. But don’t worry, this is a normal tummy time milestone for this age.
Tummy time with a newborn is perfectly safe and beneficial for them.
Laying your baby on your chest, trying the tiger in the tree hold and laying them across your lap are all easy ways to start tummy time with your baby.
They don’t need a lot of tummy time at first. But a few minutes here and there throughout the day will quickly add up!
Trying the different positions will help your baby get used to laying on their front. And it will also help them strengthen muscles needed for rolling and crawling etc.
Once your baby is familiar with these positions, try giving them tummy time on the floor on a comfy blanket.
Looking For Other Ways to Stimulate Your Newborn?
Check out our recent post: 8 Fun Things to Do With Your Newborn.
Or read more about what your newborn baby can do!