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From Lying Down To Tummy Time

We’ve all heard about tummy time and why it’s so important, but babies begin life on their backs and have a hard time learning to roll over.

You can - and should - put them on their tummies from early on, but it’s hard work and babies will only tolerate it for a few seconds at a time to begin with.

For the first few months, babies lie on their backs, learning to turn their heads towards interesting objects. But they can’t turn onto their tummies independently yet. First, they have to learn to roll onto their sides.

Arrange some bright, high-contrast objects in a semicircle on the playmat above your child’s head. The first should be just out of reach of their right hand, the next a little higher, and so on, until you have traced a line of objects over to where their outstretched left hand would be.

At first, your child will simply look at the object in her direct line of sight, just beyond her outstretched hand.

She will then notice the slightly higher second one, and then the third, craning her neck to do so. At this point, her back will start to curve and the opposite arm will come over. Hooray! She is lying on her side!

Lots of practice rolling onto one side - and back again - strengthens the body and soon leads to that final push to roll over completely onto her tummy.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT

PLAYMAT TOY

Toys that encourage tummy time appeal to sight, sound and touch. Look for these key features: 

  • Bright colours and high contrast designs might not match your home’s colour scheme, but babies love them.
  • Toys that crinkle, jingle or otherwise make a sound are highly stimulating for babies. An accidental nudge results in a pleasant noise which they then try to recreate, moving their arms in the direction of the toy, and thereby gaining more control over their limbs.
  • Toys that roll or can be thrown and caught can be enjoyed again in later months.