Placing you baby on her tummy for a short time each day in the early months of life will help her develop good upper body strength and neck muscles – so despite her squawks of objection, tummy time is good for her and worth investing time in.
Regular tummy time every day, will strengthen the muscles she'll need when she learns to roll over, crawl, cruise and finally walk.
Tummy time can be fun to play for you both if you get down on the floor with your baby. Try offering her toys to look at, or placing some toys within her reach that she may like to reach out and grasp. Over time she'll learn firstly to lift her head, and then to use her arms to prop herself up. Never leave your baby unattended on her tummy - you never know when she'll suddenly learn how to roll over - and never put her to bed on her tummy as this increases the risk of SIDS.
Some babies protest strongly when you place them on their tummies but do persist with it in short bursts - she will learn to tolerate (and perhaps even enjoy) it and the benefits to her strength will far outweigh her complaints about playing on her tummy. A baby who only ever lies on her back for play time will take a lot longer to develop the muscles needed to hold her head up than one who has done her time on her tummy.
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Birth, Australia's parenting resource for newborns and baby. Sources include Karitane and Vic Govt's Go For Your Life.
Last revised: Saturday, 15 December 2012
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.