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Tummy time is critical for new babies development, but nothing feels less natural than popping your tiny bundle of love belly down on the ground. Cue sobs from everyone! But it is important, so like with all tough stuff, perseverance is key. Here are our five top tips for getting tummy time right, for them and for you.
Time It Right
You wouldn’t choose to go for a HIIT class after being awake all night, and babies don't fancy having a workout when they are shrieking with exhaustion either. After a nap gives you a golden hour, when they have the most energy and are likely to be at their happiest. Don’t pop them down straight after a trip to the milk bar either, for obvious reasons.
Get Down Low
For newborns or little ones going through a particularly clingy stage, tummy time, away from their parents’ familiar scent and warmth, isn’t going to fill them with joy. Help make the change of scenery less scary by staying down low, maintaining eye contact and encouraging them with a soft voice. You can get them to strengthen their neck and back, by moving a little so they engage those muscles and look around for you.
Clear The Floor
Think of tummy time like a yoga session. You’d never roll out your mat on top of things strewn across the floor, so be sure to clear a big enough space for your mini wrigglers as well. And a word of warning, while rolling doesn’t usually start until around the six month mark, some babes find the skill much earlier, so be prepared for a surprise 180. Our safe and supportive playmats are ideal from day one and designed for the whole family, you can even use them for your workouts too.
Keep Them Engaged
While you’d think vivid colours would draw babies attention, black and white is most important for their sensory development at the beginning. Stylish toys or soft muslins from baby-led brands like Wee Gallery and Etta Loves, have high contrast tones, often complimented with simple shapes or geometric patterns. Pull out a long, soft baby book for them to gaze at while they get used to being on their front or limit background noise and introduce a soothing yet captivating music mobile. As they grow, add tactile goodies, bubbles or lights for a belly-down baby sensory experience.
Slow And Steady
There is truth in the saying, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ and it rings true with tummy time too. Don’t expect your little one to love it straight away, but if they do, that’s brilliant (we’re jealous!) Start with a minute at a time and once they nail that, try two. If your baby makes it really clear they hate it, don’t stress. Perhaps they need a rest and can try again later. But do try again, as with lots of stuff in life, practice makes perfect.