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How to make tummy time easier for your baby

By Kathryn Sammut (she/her), Physiotherapist - Pediatric and Pelvic

Hi, my name is Catherine Samet and I’m the pediatric physiotherapist here at West End Mamas in the York region and I just wanted to give you a few techniques today to help make tummy time a little easier for your little one. We know that many struggle with it.

So the first thing, is that movement is purposeful. There are little ones that love to move just for the sake of it but most of us need a purpose to motivate us to move. So for sure always make your tummy time very engaging with toys or even just social engagement between yourself and your baby. Toys that move, that make sounds, that light up are obviously going to be more motivating to encourage your baby to want to look up when they’re on their tummy.

The second thing is the position of the arms is really important to give them a good base to push up from. So if your baby tends to have their arms out wide or if they tend to hold their arms more towards the back, you’re going to want to help them by positioning their elbows below their shoulders. You can see here with this baby I have the elbows below the shoulders what that does is give them a base to push off of through their arms to help lift that head up.

The third technique that can help is putting them on a bit of an incline. You can do that on your chest and then gradually grade the incline to make it a little bit more difficult, or you can do it on a couple of pillows, or if you happen to have a wedge cushion. Again it just makes the effect of gravity a little bit less. So it’s not as much work in that position to lift their head but for sure you want to be mindful. Again, aware of their elbows in comparison to their shoulders in those more inclined positions as well.

The fourth thing that you can do to help is to actually put a little bit of pressure on the pelvis hip area. What this does is that it helps bring some of the weight up off of the head and shoulders down into the pelvis. And again, puts them at an advantage to be able to lift their head against gravity a little bit easier.

Hopefully, those techniques help you. If you have any questions or any concerns about how your baby is doing on their tummy or with any other of their gross motor skills and milestones don’t hesitate to book a visit and we’d be happy to help you figure out how to best stimulate their gross motor development.

Help your baby feel their best!

Kathryn Sammut, pediatric physiotherapist here at West End Mamas, gives tips for tolerating tummy time, including how to position your baby’s arms and elbows.

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