Plopping your bub on its tummy is great exercise for them. It not only strengthens their backs and necks but studies have shown a marked improvement in physical co-ordination and reflexes for bubs that have had tummy time in the first year of their lives.
It’s not difficult to see how it works. We used to place our bub face down on the carpeted floor on a yoga mat. She would then squirm and wriggle and you could see the little muscles on her back and arms straining and flexing as she tried to hold her head up.
She would do this for as long as she could before letting herself flop to the floor again for a short rest before repeating the sequence again and again.
After a few weeks she would even try to hold her legs up at the same time so it looked like she was free falling in a sky dive position. She just loved it.
She would only ever last about five minutes but that was five minutes of excellent exercise after which she would usually have a nice long sleep.
Make sure that you have a soft surface for them to lie on as they can come down pretty hard on their faces the first couple of times and you don’t want any squashed noses or bumped heads from getting them to practice on the hard floor surfaces so a nice thick towel or spongy mat of some kind is ideal.
We always tried to stay in close supervision and encourage our bubs’ efforts as it can be a little scary for them lying face down on the floor especially if they have never done this before.
We also lay on the floor in front of her and did the same movements so she could see what it was she was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t long before our daughter was far better at this mock free falling than us. When you actually do this exercise yourself you realize just how much strength is required.
The important thing is to make it a fun part of your awake routine with your bub. If they do this for five minutes every time they are awake that can add up to more than 20 minutes of solid exercise a day which is great for growing muscles and bones.
It can also help them to sleep better and also aids in the development of the crawling mechanism as they naturally start to drag themselves around the floor as they get stronger. It can also be a lot of fun to watch!
One and two and three and…