Your baby’s development – tummy time & back lying

Your baby’s gross motor development will probably follow a predetermined trajectory from lying and playing on his back or tummy to rolling, sitting, crawling and finally standing. Kate Bailey, gives us wonderful ideas. Fun ideas for tummy time and back lying.

Tummy time

Fun activity ideas for tummy lying:

  • Lean back in a comfortable chair and place baby on your chest. She lies on her tummy, looking at you. Your smiling face and familiar voice will encourage her to lift her head and push up on her arms. As baby’s neck and shoulders strengthen, lay further back so that she has to work harder against gravity.
  • Lie baby over your lap with a pillow under her chest. This position is very effective for winding baby and it also encourages her to lift her head. Watching a brother or sister is a great way of encouraging her to stay in this position for a while longer.
  • Lie baby on the floor with a rolled up towel under her chest. This gives her some support and decreases frustration in this position. A textured activity mat, favourite toy or mirror can be used to encourage baby to push up onto his forearms or hands, building endurance in this position.
  • From 6 months, babies enjoy swiping and reaching for objects. Place baby on the floor on her tummy and encourage her to reach and swipe at a toy or a play gym.
  • If your baby dislikes being on her tummy, don’t be discouraged and avoid this position. Practice for shorter periods of time, more often through the day. When changing her nappy, roll her onto her tummy and make some funny faces to distract her.

Back lying

Fun activity ideas for back lying:

  • Sit on the floor with your back resting against a wall or couch. Lift your knees up and place baby, on her back, in your lap with her head against your knees. Kiss her hands, clap them together, touch them against your clothing or against her own hair or tummy. Play with her feet in the same way, encouraging sensory and body awareness.
  • Place baby on the floor in back lying and encourage her to reach up towards your face or a favourite toy. This encourages midline control of the head and eye-hand co-ordination.
  • Place your baby (from 4 months) on her back on the floor and attach a rattle to her foot. Encourage her to lift her legs up off the ground and reach for her feet.
  • While lying on her back in the cot, let her kick at a few objects attached to a bungy cord which has been strung across her cot.
  • When changing your baby’s nappy, massage her feet and legs. In this back lying position, encourage her to take hold of one of her feet in her hands.

By Kate Bailey, mother of three, Occupational Therapist and designer of the Moms and Babes program.