When my eldest was just a newborn, I spent gobs of time with her on the floor doing tummy time. But tummy time on dad’s chest was super fun for her too. Heck, tummy time on mom’s chest was also a treat because she loved looking at me best.
Ok, maybe that last part isn’t true about loving me best. But still! Those baby snuggle moments are something that brings tears to my eyes when I look back. It went by so fast!
Tummy time on the chest with a newborn is a great way to get tummy time logged in for the day. Is it the best? Should you only do it this way? Here’s what I’ve got for you on all that!
Does tummy time on my chest count?
Yes, it sure does! And not only does it count, but it also makes it more comfortable.
Let me put it to you this way…the first time you ever went to the gym for a workout, wasn’t it uncomfortable? This is how it feels for your baby.
But tummy time is important because you have to put the baby on her back for her safest sleep. Too much time on her back impedes development and also leads to flat spots on the head. So by engaging in these baby workouts, you are helping your child thrive and reach those milestones.
Tummy time on chest vs. floor
You can start tummy time on your chest from the moment baby is born, though for the best comfort, waiting until that umbilical cord stump comes off on its own is ideal. Your baby loves tummy time on your chest because she gets to look right into your face.
And even better, she loves you. That’s why she stares at you. So, having your face as an incentive to lift her head makes her try even harder.
However, there is something that doesn’t stack up for tummy time on the chest. While it’s great to mix in the time on your chest, your baby needs tummy time on the floor too. That’s because the muscles develop better when you have resistance against a firm surface.
Ideally, you can do what we did: enjoy some tummy time on our chests while the rest of it was on the floor.
How to do tummy time on chest?
Tummy time on the chest is fun for you and your baby. She’ll feel safe and cozy there. And she’ll want to look at you and her daddy too. It’s a win-win. But be sure you mix it up with tummy time on your chest and tummy time on the floor to help get those muscles nice and strong.
So how do you do it? It’s so easy! Just lie down somewhere comfortable. You can choose your sofa, though I think the bed is safest just in case she slides off your chest to the side as your bed will be big enough to prevent her from falling off to the floor.
Once you’re lying down, place her on her belly onto your chest, so she’s facing your face. Then, move her arms forward to prop her up. This will encourage the strengthening of the right muscles and help her do it all independently.
Relevant: Questions and answers on Tummy Time.
As your baby gets bigger, you’ll want her to do tummy time on the floor more often and save those chest snuggles for cuddle time. But for newborns, tummy time on the chest is a great way to motivate them to like this activity.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.