Baby play: Having fun with your newborn
Your newborn is learning and developing every day. That’s why it’s never to early to introduce playtime. Find out how.
The safest position for a baby to sleep is on their back. However, the introduction of this recommendation has meant that many babies no longer spend as much time on their stomach and this is thought to potentially delay the development of their core strength, back and neck muscles2.
A little ‘tummy time’ every day is a simple way to help support their development3. You can start when your baby is only a few weeks old as long as you supervise carefully. Even a few minutes a day will help to develop neck muscles and arm and leg strength.
Some babies really don’t like tummy time at first, so be patient as your baby gets used to this new feeling. It can be quite uncomfortable until they build up some core strength.
With newborns, your first step is to try skin-to-skin contact on your chest. You can support them and they will feel comfortable and safe. As they get a few weeks older, try putting them somewhere soft on the floor, like a baby mat. Talking and singing to your baby will reassure them that everything is ok.
As their neck muscles get stronger, rattles, mirrors and books can be used to help persuade your baby to look around and push up. It will also distract them if they are uncomfortable.
Build up tummy time gradually and before long they’ll enjoy being in this position. They’ll roll over onto their front all by themselves at any point between 4–6 months onwards.
1. Wen LM et al. Effectiveness of an early intervention on infant feeding practices and “tummy time”. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2011;165(8):701-7.
2. Baby Brain. Tummy Time for baby – and why it’s important [Online]. Available at: http://baby-brain.co.uk/tummy-time-for-baby-and-why-its-important/ [Accessed: December 2016].
3. BBC. Babies need ‘tummy time’ to develop [Online]. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/5128144.stm [Accessed: January 2017].
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