Now that babies sleep on their backs to reduce the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), doctors recommend that they get tummy-time during the day to help strengthen their arms and upper body. Unfortunately, some babies do not like being placed on their bellies. One reason this occurs is because they are accustomed to sleeping on their backs. Another reason is because babies may get frustrated if they cannot see much while in the tummy-down position. There are a few tricks that you can do to make tummy-time easier for your baby.
- Bend your baby’s arms at the elbow and pull them in towards her body. This stabilizes her shoulder area and makes it easier for her to lift her head and chest.
- Put something interesting in front of your baby to encourage her to look up. This could be a pet, a toy, or your smiling face.
- Put your baby on a firm surface that is raised 20 to 30 degrees. This will make it easier to lift her head.
- Place the baby tummy-down on your chest. That way, she will feel close to you and has the added incentive of seeing your face when she looks up.
NOTE: You should NOT leave your baby unattended during tummy-time for two reasons. First, you do not want her to fall asleep in this position. Second, if you walk away even for a second, she could roll over and fall on the floor.