Five Moves for Baby`s First Workout

Five Moves for Baby`s First Workout
Five Moves for Baby’s First Workout
Did you know even newborns need to work out? Just a
few minutes a day, a few times a day, can help your baby get
used to “tummy time” and help prevent early motor delays.
Babies often complain about being placed on the tummy, but if
you begin early (even from just a few days old) and maintain a
consistent schedule, it will become a part of their daily routine
that can improve neck, trunk and shoulder strength.
Here are the top five moves for your baby which
you can begin as soon as the baby is born:
1) Tummy-to-Tummy
Enjoy some together
time with your newborn.
Lie down and place
your baby “tummy-totummy” or “tummy-tochest.”
While lying tummy-to-tummy, make sure to
keep your hands on your baby at all times
to keep her from rolling off. A newborn won’t
be lifting her head yet, so alternate your baby’s
head position to the right and left to prevent your
baby from developing a preferred head position.
Even before your baby lifts her head, lying on
your tummy or chest can help strengthen your
baby’s back and neck muscles; eventually she
will try to lift and turn her head to look around.
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2) Eye-Level Smile
Babies love your face
and voice. Change your
position to encourage
head movement.
Baby is trying so hard to lift his head and turn
towards mom! Stay on the same level as your
baby, even getting down on the floor. Voices
are also great motivators. When your baby is on
his tummy, talk or sing to him.
Also, change your position to encourage head
movement. Get in front of your baby to encourage
head lifting, and move to each side to encourage
head turning. If you notice your baby prefers to
hold his head turned to one side, try to do more
activities that encourage head turning to the
opposite side.
If this head position is not changing and
becomes the position of preference, bring
this up with your pediatrician or health
3) Lap Soothe
Lay your baby tummy
down across your lap to
settle him down instead
of holding him upright
on your shoulder. Make
sure to provide support
over the baby’s bottom
to provide a sense of
security and a soothing
Baby also enjoys tummy time on mom’s lap. This
position strengthens both the neck and back
muscles, which are not active while your baby is
on his back. Note how mom has one hand on
her baby’s bottom – this is both to keep him from
rolling off and to give him a feeling of security.
It’s very easy to fall into a habit of positioning
babies in the same direction, but switching things
up is very helpful for muscle development, so
alternate between placing the baby’s head and
chest over your right and left knees. This position
is also great for calming fussy babies!
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Five Moves for Baby’s First Workout
continued ...
4) Tummy-Down Carry
When carrying your
baby around the house,
carry her tummy-side
down instead of upright.
5) Tummy Minute
Start to incorporate
tummy time into your
daily routine, such as
placing your baby on
her tummy for one or
two minutes every time
you change her.
Make tummy
time play
Again, this position helps build neck and back
strength. Mom is supporting baby with one hand
between the legs and under the tummy, and her
other hand supporting baby’s head and shoulders.
Practice holding your baby in different directions,
to both the right and the left. Baby should be
nestled against mom or dad’s body.
Here, mom is using a toy and a rolled-up receiving
blanket tucked under baby’s chest and upper arms
to prop him up. Once your baby starts to expect
tummy time, he may not protest so much!
As your baby grows, slowly increase the amount
of tummy time per day, aiming to get an hour
total of tummy time by the end of three months.
This shouldn’t be all at once, but in spurts
throughout the day.
Sing songs, respond to the sounds
your baby makes, and offer new
sounds and different expressions
to help baby latch on to your face.
When you take time to play with
your baby on her tummy, you not
only help strengthen her body,
but you build a bond with her
and support socialization skills.
Pathways Awareness
Parent-Answered Help Line 1-800-955-CHILD -
email questions to: [email protected]
Finding Time for Tummy Time
Sometimes, a whole day can fly by before you realize that your baby hasn’t had time for tummy time!
Make tummy time a fun part of your day by incorporating the “Five Moves” and these additional ideas
during routine activities like dressing, bathing, diapering, feeding, and sleeping. Not all of these ideas
have babies on their tummies, but taken together, these positioning suggestions help babies get some
freedom of movement, encourage head turning, build muscle strength to help feeding, and can help
prevent flat spots on babies’ heads.
1) On the Go
Parents and babies are constantly on the go, and with car seats that also
serve as baby carriers, you might find that your baby is spending hours in
the same position. Ideas to help:
Think ahead about ways to remove baby from her car seat when you
reach your destination. Bring a blanket or a pad to lay her down, or move
her to a different carrier, like a stroller or sling.
Use a car seat that has a curved head support to keep baby’s head
upright. If your car seat did not come with one, use a rolled up blanket
or towel to keep baby’s head from leaning to one side.
Do not place pads or cushions under or behind your baby while he is in
the car seat; this could compromise his safety.
2) Quiet Time and Nap Time
As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends, babies should
always be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. However,
even during quiet times in the crib, there are ways to promote head turning.
Change the direction your baby faces during sleep; you can even keep
track of this on a chart near the crib (visit
sleepchart for a downloadable PDF).
When you put baby down to sleep, position your baby’s head to opposite
sides. If baby’s head is consistently to one side only, please bring this up
with your pediatrician or health care professional.
Place mobiles and toys in different areas of the crib to support head
turning. It’s best to keep toys at chest level or below rather than right over
baby’s head; this promotes chin tucking, which aids with development of
the muscles that help in feeding.
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Parent-Answered Help Line 1-800-955-CHILD -
email questions to: [email protected]
Finding Time for Tummy Time
continued ...
3) Changing Baby
You dress and change your baby many times throughout the day, and
each time is ideal for incorporating different positions. Try the following:
Switch baby’s position on the changing table or change her someplace
else, like on the floor or on a bed. Stand on either side of baby or
approach her near her feet. This will encourage baby to change her head
position as she learns to fix her gaze on you.
When changing a diaper, instead of holding baby’s feet up by the ankles
to remove a diaper, roll baby’s knees up to her tummy and maintain that
position with one hand while you remove her diaper. This gives baby a
little stretch in her back muscles.
Towards two and three months, for a challenge, roll knees up toward
the tummy and chin and hold them while doing some gentle side-to-side
After bath, place baby on her tummy to dry her; you can also soothe her
with a little massage.
4) Feeding Time
It’s easy to fall into a pattern when feeding a young baby. Switching
things up not only helps his muscle development, it could help you
avoid muscle aches as well!
When using a bottle, switch the arm you use to hold your baby each time.
This allows your baby to turn to both sides which develops neck flexibility
and helps prevent flat spots.
Another bottle feeding position: recline on a sofa with bent knees, putting
your feet on a footstool or ottoman. Feed baby by placing him on your
thighs, facing you. This will encourage your baby to keep her head centered.
As your baby begins eating solid foods in a bouncy seat or high chair, sit
in front of her and bring the spoon up from her chest level to her mouth.
The small movement of your baby tucking her chin to watch the spoon
encourages head and neck control and facilitates better swallowing.
Pathways Awareness
Parent-Answered Help Line 1-800-955-CHILD -
email questions to: [email protected]
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