We hear a lot about how a baby should never be put on their stomach to sleep due to the increased rates of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) found when a baby sleeps on their tummy. However, tummy time is very important part of child development, when your baby is awake. Pediatricians advocate tummy time for babies starting from birth.
Babies often spend a lot of time on their back. Tummy time gives them a chance to exercise their neck and trunk muscles, which helps them develop the ability to hold up their head and eventually sit up on their own. It also encourages other milestones such has pushing up on their arms and rolling over.
Pediatricians recommend starting tummy time as soon as you bring your baby home. It is good to start out by putting your baby on their stomach for a few minutes a couple of times a day. From there gradually increase the time your child spends on their tummy as they get older. You can use things like a breastfeeding pillow or rolled up blanket to help support them. It is important to always be watching your baby during tummy time, your baby should not be left unattended.
As the baby gets older, or even in the early days, you can make tummy time fun but using this time to play with your baby or put toys around them to draw their attention. There are even play mats out there designed for tummy time that have a breastfeeding pillow built right in, like this one, tummy time pad.
Talk to your pediatrician about their recommendations for tummy time. Other moms can be great resources for creative ways to make tummy time fun.