Monday, November 7, 2011

Tummy Time (Part 2): Preparing to Get Started

So, here you are with your young baby wondering how to start tummy time.

Parents shouldn’t start traditional “on the floor” tummy time until one month of age. If your baby has any medical or developmental issues, you should talk to your pediatrician before starting tummy time. This blog post, however, is all about what we can do during the first month to make the start of tummy time a bit easier! This One Sassy Doctor calls it “tummy time” preschool.

Well, actually, Mother Nature starts tummy time for you—right when your baby is born. Think of tummy time as a natural progression from holding your baby while her tummy touches your tummy/chest.

When I started researching tummy time as One Sassy Doctor, a memory of my own first moments of motherhood stuck with me. Eight years ago, “Twin A”, my first baby girl—was placed on my still numb C-Sectioned tummy with just a little swaddle blanket and diaper. It was that magical moment when you’re no longer pregnant, and you realize—poof—there is a baby there and you’re a mom. My girl wiggled loose from her blankie and magically wiggled up for her first feed. She was using those tummy muscles!
Prior to one month of age, have your baby lie tummy to tummy with you on the ground or on your bed, carefully making sure you are BOTH wide awake and paying attention to accidental fall prevention. Get your baby used to lying on his or her tummy by lying on you, or sitting up in a chair at an angle also tummy to tummy. Make sure not to feed your baby in this position (bottle or breast).

Make this a pleasurable special time together by singing (and everybody knows this One Sassy Doctor loves to sing despite the perception of my voice might not be that of Barbra Streisand—hyperlink), reading or just gently talking to your baby. If your baby gets used to being on the tummy on you and the time is special, transition to traditional floor tummy time may be easier.

We’re going to discuss the when, where and how of one month and beyond tummy time more on the One Sassy Doctor blog in 2012, so stay tuned! We’re just getting started!