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Exercise Your Newborn with Tummy Time

Since the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that babies be put "back to sleep" more than a decade ago, the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) during the first year of life has dropped by more than 50 percent.

“Back to Sleep” has been an important step in infant care. Experts find that infants ages 0 to 5 months need extra time on their tummy during their waking hours to work the muscles in the upper body for healthy motor skill development.

Tummy time during waking hours will increase your baby’s ability to master such basic skills as lifting up her head, using her arms to pull up the torso and eventually turning over.

Some babies do not like doing these pint-size push-ups and will initially protest when they're placed facedown. Be nearby to support your baby during Tummy Time.

Tummy Time Team Effort

  • Make Tummy Time part of regular play time.
  • Start early: Place your newborn tummy-down on your chest or across your lap for a few minutes, letting him get accustomed to the position. (Don't do this right after a feeding; pressure on his full abdomen may cause him to spit up.)
  • Make baby comfortable: Lay your little one, tummy down, on a flat, clean surface, such as a blanket or play mat on the floor. If he cries and protest, try some extra padding. Roll up a small receiving blanket or towel and tuck it under his chest.
  • Tune into baby: Lie down on the floor so that you are face-to-face with your infant.
  • Make goofy noises and sounds or sing songs: You may feel silly, but your baby will let you know this makes his Tummy Time more fun and exciting.
  • Give baby distractions: Hold a mirror in front of your baby to capture his attention. Place brightly colored stuffed animals just within his reach. Change toys and objects for baby to reach.
  • Put others on the Tummy Time Team: Encourage your child's caregivers to participate in Tummy Time to keep him company.
  • Start with short Tummy Times and watch for signs that baby has had enough of this workout: try adjusting baby so that she is in a more comfortable position.

Baby is on the way to growing strong healthy muscles and learning new motor skills.

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