The moment the baby is able to do his own tummy time marks the first physical feat he accomplishes in his first year. It is when the baby is able to turn his body to one side, roll over, and lie on his tummy. This often happens when the baby is about 4 to 6 months old and is strong enough to turn to his side.
Tummy Time Tips
Some moms lay their babies on their stomachs for a tummy-time exercise. This is often done when the babies are 1 or 2 months old. This helps babies lift their heads and strengthen their necks, stomachs, and back muscles. But doctors always caution never to leave the baby lying like that all by themselves and tummy time should only be for about 5 to 10 minutes, just enough for babies to “exercise” their neck, back and tummy muscles. It should be well supervised.
Letting your baby enjoy lying on their tummy every now and then helps prevent their heads from getting flat sides. Babies have a soft skull that is still susceptible to deformation if the head is often positioned to just one side. Tummy times help prevent this.
Once your baby frequently does his own tummy time, which means exercising his body muscles in the process and can paddle with his arms to turn in different directions, he will be able to sit or crawl soon, which often takes place on the 7th or 10th month. Parents can help motivate babies to turn to their side and roll over on their tummies by attracting them to reach or grab colorful toys or objects, like baby rattles.
It Prepares the Baby for Other Feats
Lying on his tummy is almost the same thing as crawling. The baby can be encouraged to move forward or backward with the use of his arms and legs by making him go after interesting objects. Soon, the baby can lift his body using his limbs and finally crawl or sit. But it all begins with lying on his tummy, when his muscles are first exercised and strengthened. It is like getting him ready to accomplish other feats.
Another word of caution, though. Most doctors advise against making babies lie flat on their stomach while sleeping. To prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), it is best to keep babies lying on their backs when sleeping. However, some experienced parents observe that babies sleep better and longer when lying flat on their tummies. This sleeping position prevents babies from doing sudden jerks, which sometimes wake them up. But to be safe, always consult your pediatrician on this matter.