Know it’s important
“Floor play can be one of the most developmentally stimulating activities for babies,” remarks Bill Sears, MD, renowned pediatrician and Huggies Little Movers consultant. When your infant is awake and alert, try placing him tummy down on a solid surface. “[It] allows your baby to gain upper body strength and … to develop certain motor skills.”
Get started early
You can introduce tummy time as soon as baby is home from the hospital, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics. Begin with short sessions (three to five minutes long) two to three times per day. By 1 month old, “baby will learn to lift his head and push up while on his tummy,” says Sears, who recommends aiming for at least 20 minutes of tummy time most days.
Join in the fun
Lie on your stomach in front of baby, and lift your head to make eye contact as you chat and coo at him. “Smiling face-to-face with baby will help him enjoy a longer tummy time,” Sears says. You can also place high-contrast toys around him to catch his attention and encourage him to roll over. “Clap and cheer your baby on when he moves,” Sears adds. Your enthusiasm is contagious.