In the next month or two, your baby will likely start sitting up. In these months, she will still need lots of tummy time to build her core muscle strength for crawling, and later for walking.
Following are the different stages of tummy time and some ideas for making the most of them.
If your baby lifts her head and chest, but doesn’t yet put weight on her hands with elbows extended during tummy time (see the illustration below), here are some ways to play:
- Help your baby into tummy time with her arms bent, putting weight on her forearms
- You can also put a towel under your baby or use a pillow to help prop up her body so she starts to put weight on her arms
- Place your baby horizontally over your lap with her arms on the floor to one side and her legs on the other side. You can drop the wood ball in the ball drop for her to watch as she puts weight on her arms. Try to keep her arms forward and her hips flat
- To encourage her to push up during tummy time, blow bubbles, rattle the rolling bell, or put a favorite toy above her head
If your baby is pushing up on her arms, but not yet pivoting and moving in circles when she is on her tummy (the stage known as “swimming”), here are some ways to play:
- Start by putting your baby in a short-sleeved onesie on a smooth floor (as opposed to a rug or blanket) so she can use her skin against the floor to get a little grip
- Place her on her belly with toys in a semi-circle around her, just within reach when she pivots. Move the toys a little farther away after some play time to encourage more movement
If your baby is “swimming” in tummy time, but can’t yet capture a moving toy while on her belly, here are some ways to play:
- Put the wobble toy on a hard floor, just out of her reach
- Bat the wobbler to show her how it rocks and moves
- Eventually she’ll be able to reach, bat, and capture the wobbler herself!