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We all know that our little babies grow and develop so fast, it seems like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-stage of life, but really there are a LOT of hours in the day. I know as a new mom, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for my tiny baby’s development. I wasn’t playing and talking enough. I wasn’t singing enough. Basically, I felt like if there was silence in the house while she was awake, I was wasting precious development opportunities. I struggled to fill the time with lots and lots of activities to stimulate her.
So I came up with all sorts of things to do with her even when she couldn’t really get much out of it. But the development came fast and furious. And to be honest, it would have anyway.
Well, along comes baby number two and all the same old feelings are back. I feel like she is not getting enough stimulation because I am constantly running after her older sister. I worry she isn’t getting enough time on her tummy, enough goos and gahs, etc.
So, I resolved to create some sort of routine for her and it started with tummy time. Tummy time is critical to the development of so many of the muscles we take for granted. It is essential to a growing baby’s day. But, let’s be real, not every baby loves it. And our second is just not that into it. But here are the tips and techniques I have from my experience with two little ones:
You might have to put up with some fussing and a little bit of crying, but be sure to make it a priority in your little one’s day. We started our little ones on a routine of tummy time 1-2 times a day for about 3-5 minutes, each time. We did this as soon as they lost their umbilical cords. As they grow used to the tummy time and start to enjoy it, you can make the time a little bit longer but start small.
Switch up the fabrics of blankets you lay your little one on. Switch up the surface (bed, carpet, rug), as well. You can also change it up by putting a small pillow underneath her (we like the Boppy pillow for this) . Talk to your little one about the soft blanket or the bumpy blanket. This is the baby’s first experience with textures, so make it varied.
Place a small fabric book (we have a list of our favorite books for babies here) that is age appropriate underneath your little one so she has something to look at while she is on her tummy. As she gets bigger and starts grasping toys, place a toy just slightly out of reach in front of her (or to the side) and encourage her to grab it. If you are trying to work on getting her to hold her head up higher, use a musical toy and place it above and in front of her to get her attention.
It is no fun to do it alone, so we make it a family experience. When our little one is on her tummy, her big sister does it too and brings all her stuffed animals along for the fun. Mom and Dad are there too to smile big and ohh and ahh over how much she is growing.
I know our little one does not know exactly what I am saying, but I hope that some of the first words she hears are words of encouragement. Thus, I try to encourage her by telling her, “Good job!” and “Look how strong you are getting.” I also tell her that she only has a little bit more, when she gets a little fussy. I rub her gently on her back to let her know I am there with her and she has not been left to suffer this fate alone.
I hope these tips help you with your little one. Please let me know your tips for tummy time with your baby.