The time that a baby spends on his/her tummy is very important to development.  A firm flat surface such as a rug on top of the carpeted floor is the best place.  A soft or padded surface makes it too hard for baby to move and can be a sufocation risk.

It’s hard work for a baby to move on his/her tummy, so baby may become tired quickly.  The solution is to give short but regular periods of tummy time until baby builds up his/her strength and learns how to move more efficiently.

The best way with any new skill is practice.

Skills developed in prone position (on tummy)

*  lifting the head to turn and look

*  lifting the head and shoulders and supporting on the forearms

*  Transferring weight from one arm to the other to reach and play

*  pushing right up on straight arms – babies will often roll onto their backs when they do this, so make sure baby is on the floor

*  moving around to the side to reach for a toy, progressing to moving in a circle

*  commando crawling on his/her tummy to move across the floor

*  pulling knees up under hips

*  pushing up on hands and knees and rocking back and forth to start with, progressing to dropping their hips down to one side to sit up

*  crawling

*  pulling up on furniture from hands and knees, to firstly kneel up and then to stand

Tummy position is very important for the development of movement and strength.  Some babies will be very resistant to being put on their tummies.  Like it or not, your baby needs tummy time two to three times each day.

It will also help to prevent plagiocephaly – a very flat spot that can appear on the head due to babies being slept on their backs as per the SIDS safe sleeping guidelines.  If your baby really doesn’t like this position, start slowly by lying your baby on your chest so he/she will be encouraged to lift up and look at your face. 

Another good position is lying your baby across your legs and stroking down their back, have a toy or mirror in front of baby to encourage them to look up.

Remember to never leave your baby unattended whilst on his/her tummy and to always supervise.


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