How Much Tummy Time Should My 8 Week Old Get?
Tummy time. Two simple words that strike fear into the hearts of many new parents. Images of a wailing red-faced infant frantically resisting their tummy time session may come to mind. But while tummy time has a notorious reputation, it’s actually an essential part of your baby’s development. So how much should your 8 week old be doing it? Is there some magic number to hit each day? Let’s find out!
Why Does Tummy Time Matter So Much Anyway?
Before diving into timing specifics, it helps to understand why tummy time is so critical at this age. Here are three big benefits:
1. Strengthens Muscles
Tummy time helps babies strengthen their neck, shoulder, arm and trunk muscles. See, infants are born without the strength to lift their gigantic noggins on their own. The average newborn head weighs around 15% of their entire body weight – it’s enormous! So forcing them off their backs makes them build strength through resistance.
2. Aids Motor Development
Rolling, sitting, crawling and walking all depend on tummy time. It facilitates coordination between arm and trunk movements. The more tummy time, the sooner baby can hit important motor milestones.
3. Prevents Flat Spots
Another perk? Tummy time prevents flat spots on the back of baby’s head. Since infants spend so much time on their backs, the pressure flattens one area. Tummy time alleviates this.
So in short, tummy time is key for building muscle, mastering movement and shaping symmetrical skulls. Now let’s get into timing.
How Much Total Daily Tummy Time Do 8 Week Olds Need?
The general consensus among experts is that by 2 months old, infants should have at least 60 minutes of tummy time per day. This hour can be broken into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
To build up to an hour gradually, aim for the following tummy time minutes per day by week:
- 6 weeks old: 20 minutes
- 7 weeks old: 30 minutes
- 8 weeks old: 45 minutes
- 9+ weeks old: 60+ minutes
As always, focus more on quality over quantity. Even just a few minutes of attentive tummy time is better than longer sessions with poor positioning or support.
Best Practices For Tummy Time At 8 Weeks Old
While experts agree 8 week olds need about 45-60 minutes of tummy time daily, HOW you execute tummy time matters. Follow these best practices:
Keep Sessions Brief At First
Start with just 1-2 minutes a few times a day. At this age, most babies dislike being on their tummies and quickly fuss or cry. Brief sessions prevent frustration. Slowly increase time as their strength improves.
Try Tummy Time After Naps
Baby is happily fed, changed and rested. Perfect time for some tummy time! Take advantage of their calm alert state post-snooze.
Make It Play Time
Incorporate toys to distract and engage baby during tummy time. Mirrors, activity gyms and colorful books are great.
Get On Their Level
Don’t just place baby on the floor and walk away. Get down so you’re on their level. Make eye contact, smile and interact to keep them encouraged.
Lay Them On Your Chest
Skin-to-skin tummy time on your chest provides comfort, closeness and an easier lift for their head. Just be sure to stay awake and alert.
Start On An Incline
If they struggle lifting their head, start tummy time propped on an incline. Roll blankets under their chest for a boost.
Combine With Daily Tasks
Do tummy time while you fold laundry on the living room rug, eat a meal at the dining table, or play on your phone. Multitasking for the win!
Typical Tummy Time Progression For 2 Month Olds
Wondering what tummy time looks like at this age? Around 8 weeks, most infants gain skills in this order:
1. Lifts Head Up Briefly
- From face down, baby lifts head up for a few seconds before dropping back down.
2. Holds Head Up Longer
- Head lifting improves to hold for 60 seconds or longer.
3. Pushes Up On Forearms
- When lying on tummy, baby can prop up on elbows and look side to side.
4. Rolls From Back to Side
- Baby can now roll from back onto their side – almost there!
5. Rolls From Back to Tummy
- Major milestone! Baby learns to fully roll from back to tummy.
But remember – every baby develops on their own schedule. Don’t compare yours to others. Focus on consistent tummy time and let those muscles strengthen!
Top 5 Tummy Time Tips For 2 Month Olds
To quickly recap, here are 5 top tips for mastering tummy time with your 8 week old:
1. Start Slowly – Begin with 1-2 minutes a few times a day.
2. Use Toys and Talking – Engage them during tummy time.
3. Try Skin-To-Skin – Do tummy time lying chest-to-chest.
4. Prop Them Up – Use blankets under their chest for support.
5. Multitask – Combine tummy time with household tasks.
Stick with it and stay consistent. Before you know it, they’ll be holding their head up, pushing up on those arms and maybe even flipping over!
Frequently Asked Questions About 8 Week Old Tummy Time
Still have some lingering questions about tummy time for your 2 month old? Here are answers to some common FAQs:
Should I worry if my 8 week old hates tummy time?
It’s totally normal for babies this age to fuss during tummy time. Their neck and arm muscles are still weak. Short, frequent sessions and toys help. But if they consistently scream or seem in pain, talk to your pediatrician.
What if my baby keeps turning her head to one side?
Some babies strongly prefer looking to one side during tummy time. Gently reposition their head to encourage equal time looking left and right. This prevents flatness.
How can I extend my 8 week old’s tummy time?
If your baby can’t go longer than a few minutes, try using blankets rolled under their chest for support. This helps them lift their head without tiring as quickly.
Should I stop swaddling during tummy time?
Yes, you’ll want their arms free to help push up and hold their head/chest during tummy time. Stop swaddling as they start showing signs of trying to roll over.
What if my baby falls asleep during tummy time?
Take advantage of it! Tummy sleeping helps strengthen those muscles too. Just supervise closely since the airway can be obstructed in that position.
Conquer Tummy Time With Your 2 Month Old!
There you have it – everything you need to know about tummy time for your 8 week old. While it may not be their favorite activity, remember how crucial those minutes are for building muscle, motor skills and symmetry.
Start with brief, attentive sessions a few times a day in a happy state and increase gradually. Get down on their level, use toys for engagement, prop them on inclines and multitask with household activities. Be patient and consistent. Before you know it, you’ll have a little Superman holding his head up high and ready to roll!