As the benefits of ‘tummy time’ for babies are enormous, to ensure all babies are able to do this comfortably, Peter Walker, our very own Baby Massage Expert has put together four simple steps to help your baby ‘make friends with gravity’ and lay comfortably on their tummy. You can purchase Peter’s book ‘Developmental Baby Massage’ at the Baby Massage Teacher Training website.
Step One: From a few weeks of age onwards sit your baby up and bring your forearm under your baby’s arms, with your baby leaning forward their arms extended over your forearm.
With clean relaxed open hands, gently stroke your baby’s head and back downwards and and rock your baby to release the shoulders.
Benefits – Helps your baby to lift up their head and extending their arms and hands will make lying on their tummy easier. Make this position comfortable for your baby before proceeding to ‘step two’.
Step Two: Baby ‘sitting’ belly forward on one thigh with their arms extended over opposite thigh. Gently rock and rub your baby’s back and shoulders. Make this position comfortable for your baby before proceeding to ‘step three and step four’.
Step Three: With your baby’s arms and legs extended over your thighs rock gently and stroke your baby’s back and legs to relax and make more comfortable.
Step Four: Now gently massage your baby’s arms forward. Once your baby starts to lift their head in this position you can begin to introduce short periods of supervised ‘tummy time’.
THE BENEFITS OF TUMMY TIME FOR MOTHERS AND BABIES
Will help your baby sit and stand properly and improve your child’s posture
Will help your baby to breathe deeper
Will help your baby to digest their food better
Will prevent your baby developing a flat head
Will give your baby a deeper sense of overall relaxation
For mothers some daily ‘tummy time’ is just as important for you as it is for your baby.
With just a little regular practice a few minutes a day tummy time
- Will help draw in your tummy and contract your uterus
- Will restore natural or ‘abdominal’ breathing, a ‘stress free’ breathing rhythm
- Will help strengthen your back
- Will help straighten your spine
- Will give you a more relaxed disposition and improve your posture
- Will help you to look and feel better
- Will give you all the same benefits that it gives to your baby.
To relieve pain or stiffness in your back stretch your arms forward and rock yourself gently from side to side. Caution: if you have had a cesarean section – first ensure your scar has healed properly.